We all grew up watching the advertisements with Juan Valdez and his donkey carrying sacks of harvested coffee beans through the hills of Columbia. But what's really involved in the process of taking coffee beans from rustic hillside landscapes to your favorite mug in the office?
Hint: Juan Valdez has nothing to do with it. We hate to burst your bubble, but he's a fictional character. The donkey's role in the process, however, is unknown.
Most coffee is grown in tropical climates, where coffee actually starts as a seed, not a bean. The seed grows into a coffee tree or plant, which can usually begin producing coffee in three to five years.
Coffee cherries, which are red when ripe, are typically harvested from coffee trees and plants by hand in hill country, although machines are used in flatter coffee fields. The outer shell is removed to get to the actual coffee bean. This can be done by drying the coffee cherries in the sun or by passing them through a pulping machine.
Coffee beans then go through fermentation, drying and sorting according to size in order to prepare them for storage and exporting. At this point, the dried beans have a green color and are commonly referred to as green beans.
The next part of the coffee bean's journey is the roasting and blending process, when coffee's rich flavors and aromas shine through. Samples are continuously tasted to ensure high quality. Despite our best efforts, we have not figured out how to land a job as a coffee taster.
After roasting, the coffee beans must be ground and brewed as quickly as possible to ensure freshness. Grinding the coffee beans makes it possible to fully release the flavor of the coffee. Finally, hot water passes through the coffee grounds during the brewing process, bringing the joy of coffee to your mug.
So next time someone asks you why your morning coffee is so important, why it needs to be fresh, and why it should come from reputable roasters and suppliers, you can explain what exactly goes into bringing the prized coffee bean to your mug.
AAA Business Supplies & Interiors is an office coffee supplier in the Bay Area that takes your coffee as seriously as you. Let us help you choose an office coffee solution that ensures your staff will enjoy fresh, delicious coffee every single day.