Opening a new bag of freshly roasted beans is one of the best ways to get your day going, don’t you agree? It’s wild to think about the journey each of those little beans has taken from coffee tree to your breakfast table. Like good wine and fine cheese, coffee is a delicious product that is created through an equal partnership of human labor and prime environmental conditions. At Stringbean, we add a healthy dose of good vibes in every roast, and today on the Java Jive, we thought you’d bring you a little more insight into the agriculture behind each bag of coffee we roast.
The Humble Bean…Is Actually a Seed!
The aromatic coffee beans we roast have been processed especially for roasting and drinking, but each little bean, if unprocessed, can actually be planted. The seeds produce plants that typically take a few years to produce flowers, and then fruit. You may be surprised to learn that coffee plants actually bear bright, beautiful red fruit! This fruit (called cherry) is picked and processed to get to the real gem, the “bean” inside.
The harvest typically comes once a year and lasts between 3-6 weeks. After the harvest, the beans are carefully washed and dried, and all of the pulp, as well as the dry outside layer of the bean, is fully removed. The beans are then sorted depending on size and quality, and prepped for exporting. At this stage, the “green coffee” is now ready for roasting. According to the National Coffee Association, about seven million tons of green coffee is produced every year.
Dry Times for the Bean: Brazil’s Blighted Berries
There are a number of factors that can affect the quality of a given coffee crop, including drought. NPR reports that Brazil has experienced a significant drought this year, which has yielded coffee beans that “aren’t fully formed. Many are twisted and folded in on themselves.” Industry experts worry that this may drive the retail cost of coffee up temporarily, but only time will tell how far reaching this blight is as the harvest continues.
For many of us, coffee is an elixir we rely on to face the day, savor a quiet moment, and invigorate our senses. Next time you bow your head for a sip, take a moment to acknowledge all the hard work of nature and humankind that brought that brew to your lips!