A Coffee Bean's Journey
journey of a coffee bean from seed to cup is a long adventurous one! It begins high in the mountains of tropical countries like Mexico, Costa
Rica, Ethiopia, Sumatra (pictured), or even America where coffee grows
in Hawaii. There are two basic types of coffee trees: Arabicas and Robustas.
Robustas are hardy, high-yielding trees that grow at lower elevations in
the tropics like Brazil and Vietnam. They yield low-quality coffee with
a harsh astringent taste.
However, they are useful in some aspects of the gourmet coffee trade. For example, some use robusta beans in espresso blends to enhance the crema. Arabicas are delicate trees that yield top-quality coffee.
They're grown in high elevations, usually above 3,000 feet, but best in
altitudes of 5000 to 6000 feet! This makes the journey to the best
coffee farms on muddy, steep, treacherous roads an adventure in itself.
Each coffee bean begins as a beautiful white flower. Then, the
flower gives way to a green fruit, and then finally a ripe, red cherry.
The best way to harvest the cherries is by hand, so only the ripest, highest quality
beans are processed. Indeed, since coffee cherries grow in various
stages of development, this is the only way to ensure consistency and
harvesting, the coffee beans (actually the seeds of the cherry) are
processed to remove them from the cherries. This is either done by a
"dry" method where coffee is dried out on large concrete drying "patios"
or by a "wet" method at a factory. After
being separated from the pulp of the coffee cherry, the two halves of
coffee seed, called "beans," are then sorted both by machine and by
hand. This sorting process removes imperfections and separates the beans
into grades. For example, in Colombia, the top 3 grades are Supremo,
Excelso, and Milds.
Unroasted but processed coffee is called “green coffee,” and it's in
this form that it's exported from the origin countries in 100 pound
burlap bags. Green coffee beans can be stored in warehouses for about a
year before losing the top end flavors.
comes roasting! When coffee is roasted, its lifespan will decrease
especially when exposed to air. This is why the roaster must be close to
the consumer and package the coffee as quickly as possible. For the "FRESHEST CUP", the following procedures are practiced at South Jersey Java. After roasting, all our beans are rested for at least 24 hours. This gives time for the tremendous change that has transpired to settle in and provide optimum flavor. We believe the maximum time that roasted coffee should be exposed to air without grinding and brewing it is 4 additional days post roast. That's why all the coffee served here comes with a 5 day fresh guarantee. Next comes the grinding, this should not happen more than 3 hours prior to brewing coffee. Once coffee is ground up, the air has a greater effect on the taste (more surface area of the product is exposed). Finally, coffee is brewed and should not sit more than 5 hours.
From this point on, the quality of the coffee you drink is up to you! How you store, grind, and brew your coffee can make your coffee taste
really good or really bad! Soon we'll post more tips on storing, grinding and brewing coffee.
Until then do us and you a big favor and come drink your coffee right here at South Jersey Java!