Every sip of your delightful cup of coffee has an extraordinary journey behind it. The journey starts with the coffee trees that bloom white flowers, developing into berries over several months. These berries, traditionally known as coffee cherries, encase the precious coffee beans.
Interestingly, it takes almost four to five years for a coffee tree to yield its first crop. Now, that's quite a wait for coffee growers worldwide!
Each coffee cherry contains two coffee beans, facing each other. If a cherry contains only one bean, it turns into a 'peaberry,' which is a novelty in the coffee world. These peaberries happen naturally in about 5% of the total crop and are considered a unique subset of coffee beans due to their concentrated flavor.
Once the cherries ripen, they are harvested, either by hand or using machines. Post-harvest, it’s essential to separate the beans from the cherries. Two primary methods- wet or dry- are used depending on the weather and available resources. The dry method, also referred to as the ‘natural method,’ involves drying the whole cherries in the sun to extract the beans. The wet method, on the other hand, uses water to ferment and separate the bean from the cherry.
Upon separation, the 'green beans' are ready to be roasted, a process that transforms these green beans into the aromatic brown beans we all know and love. Roasting times and temperatures vary, affecting the overall flavor of the coffee.
So, the next time you enjoy your cup of coffee, remember the elaborate process that makes it all possible!