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Life Cycle of Coffee

Life Cycle

The coffee plant belongs to the Rubiaceae and the genus Coffea family. You can find over 200 species of coffee but there are only two species which are capable of producing sufficient beans to supply to the world. These are the Coffea canephora (Robusta) and Coffea arabica species.

Planting and harvesting

The coffee seedlings are planted into containers or beds that are above the normal soil level and allow thorough drainage. Huge shady trees help in protecting the seedlings from the extreme tropical sun. The coffee plants require about 9 to 18 months of nurturing and they reach up to 24 inches in height (approximately).

Typically, there is a single major harvest every year which is quite labor intensive. You need to hand-pick specialty coffee so that only the ripe cherries get picked. The harvest season could last for about four to six months.

Processing

Harvesting is followed by processing in the coffee bean life-cycle. This involves the conversion of raw fruit into actual coffee. In this process, you need to remove the pulp as well as the parchment before roasting the coffee. There are two processing methods that are generally used: Wet and dry processing.

The natural method or the dry method is known as the oldest and simplest method of processing coffee beans. After cleaning the cherry, you place it in the sun for drying on tables (or on patios in thin layers). This could take around four weeks till the cherries get dried to the right moisture content. Machine-drying might be used on bigger plantations to fasten the drying process, once the coffee seeds have been dried in the sun for a couple of days.

The washed method or the wet method is used when an abundance of fresh water is available. In this method, the harvested cherries are usually put into huge water-filled tanks for softening the pulp and outer husk.

Export preparation

After all the above processes, coffee is kept in jute or sisal bags till it is ready to be exported. The final stages of processing involve a combination of seasoned hands and modern machinery for hulling and sorting the beans to export to the world market.

Machines are typically used for hulling. In case of dry processed coffee, hulling removes the exocarp, endocarp and mesocarp or the complete husk. As far as the wet processed coffees are concerned, you only need to remove the endocarp because the others are already discarded.

Roasting

The last step in coffee preparation is roasting. This involves heating/drying/cooking of coffee beans with the help of a coffee roaster and modifies the chemical and physical properties of the original green coffee beans. This is the process by which you can achieve specific aromas and flavors enjoyed in the final cup consumed by your customers.

Once roasting is done, the coffee beans are instantly cooled using water or air. This process is typically undertaken in the countries where the beans have been imported as freshly roasted beans need to be delivered to the consumers as soon as possible.

Grinding

Roasting is followed by grinding and gets maximum flavor into a coffee cup. The coarseness or fineness of the ground coffee will depend on the brew method. Hence you ground much finer coffee for brewing in an espresso machine as compared to a drip system.

Brewing

There are various methods of brewing coffee to bring our maximum flavor and aroma in a cup. Our baristas are well versed with the coffee industry’s modern espresso equipment from La Marzocco to pull the best espresso shots. We use various other brewing methods at Cuppa Cuppa including Aeropress, Pourover, Syphon and Chemex.