When you sit down and enjoy your favorite coffee drink, you probably don’t think much about how it’s made or where it comes from. But, there’s more to your latte than you think. Lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, and other specialty coffees don’t magically appear in your coffee shop. These flavorful favorites undergo a detailed process that involves a few complex things.
Each coffee bean species, such as Arabica, is harvested from commercial and private plantations. The harvesting stage typically begins four to five years after planting season. During this time, the plants develop flowers, which eventually produce small, green fruit known as cherries. After about several more months, the cherries ripen to a deep red color and cover the beans inside them. This is the perfect time to harvest the plants by hand or by machine. Smaller growers may choose to handpick the cherries, while larger plantations use equipment to get the job done faster.
Cleaning the harvested cherries is a long process. Coffee growers generally take the cherries to a cleaning plant right after harvesting them. This prevents the cherries from drying out too early. Once they arrive to the cleaning plant, they go through one of two processes: dry or wet. During the wet process, different machines wash the fruit of dirt and bugs. The outside of the cherries, which contains soft pulp, is removed and discarded. Depending on the type of coffee plant grown in that particular region, the beans can be dark or light in color. The dry method or process is done entirely by hand. Employees wash the fruit first and then manually remove the undesirable beans. These beans may not be ripe enough, too tiny or just not right. With both processes, the beans must dry in the sun to complete the process.
Before they reach specialty shops, cafes and stores around the world, the beans must undergo a roasting process first. The processes vary but coffee manufacturers often use special machines and rollers to roast their coffee beans. The beans require high temperatures between 350°- 470°F for about 15 minutes to roast them properly. Darker coffees require longer roasting times. Once roasted and cooled, the beans get packaged for distribution. Coffee shops, specialty outlets and other places receive their products in airtight packaging. This keeps the beans fresh and free of moisture. They are now ready for grinding and blending.
There is an exception to the roasting process mentioned previously. There is a high caffeine new roast profile called White Coffee. White coffee is a special light roast that results in a coffee that looks light yellow or white. It has A LOT of caffeine and tastes much different than traditional coffee roasts. If you would like to buy white coffee we recommend Nectar of Life Coffee. They have a proprietary roasting method that results in very fresh tasting white coffee. Another unique quality of Nectar of Life’s white coffee is it is certified organic and Fair Trade. Theirs is the only white coffee we’ve found that is certified organic Fair Trade.
Now that you have some understanding of what goes into making your cappuccino you probably appreciate it a lot more. If this has interested you and you want to learn more you can find a near endless supply of articles on the origin of coffee.