A cup of coffee through a long journey before finally reaching your cup. Many processes are ranging from harvesting, postharvest, and roasting to produce a unique taste. Some of the stages that you can understand through the following article about travel and coffee processing.
Before it can be brewed, gulped, and enjoyed at home or coffee shop, coffee has a long journey. The trip consisted of various coffee processing processes including harvesting, drying, roasting, and brewing until it became a solid drink.
This coffee trip also contributed in terms of character and flavor. The process can vary and each produces its unique taste.
Flavors produced from the same type of coffee can be different just because they are planted in different places, especially with varied processing. This is what makes coffee so unique and mysterious.
If you want to dive deeper into the journey of coffee before pouring it into your cup, consider the following article. Hopefully, we can provide a little information and increase your knowledge about coffee.
Coffee is a dicotyledonous plant, which has two pieces of seeds. Of the many coffee fruits, there are also seeded one and commonly referred to as peaberry. However, this type of peaberry is an anomaly or disorder that offers its uniqueness.
In general, coffee is identified by two main parts, namely the pericarp and seed/coffee bean. The following is a brief explanation.
The pericarp is divided into three parts again, namely:
- fruit skin (exocarp)
- fruit flesh (mesocarp)
- mucilage / cultivar / coffee shell.
Seed or also commonly called coffee bean is a seed. This is the coffee beans that are processed and then we extract into drinks for consumption.
How to harvest coffee fruit
Harvesting coffee cannot be careless. A delicious cup of coffee comes from a long journey. Starting from growing and developing as a plant, processing when postharvest, to serve it as a delicious drink.
It’s good if as a lover of coffee drinks, not only know the type of drink, but also the journey from plants to powder that is ready to be brewed. The following is the explanation.
1. Criteria for Harvest Ready Coffee
Coffee plants begin to bear fruit in the age range of 2-5 years. Robusta coffee types will appear faster than Arabica. At these ages, the fruit may be only a few and will continue to grow until the age of five years and above.
Both robusta and arabica, both of which produce seasonal results. Robusta takes 8-11 months from the start of the bud until it is ready to be harvested, while Arabica needs 6-8 months.
The size of coffee maturity is marked by a change in color. The following are the criteria for coffee that is ready to be harvested.
a. Green and Yellowish Green
This color indicates the condition of the fruit that is still young. If picked, the seeds will be pale and wrinkled. The aroma is still very weak so it is not recommended to harvest it.
b. Reddish Yellow
This color indicates that the coffee has begun to ripen. The aroma starts to solid and is allowed to be picked.
c. Full Red
This phase shows that the coffee fruit is ripe. The aroma and taste have been formed perfectly. Conditions like these are the best conditions for picking it.
d. Dark Red
Dark red fruits must be picked immediately because they are too ripe. The aroma has started to decline. If you wait too long, you might release the excess earthy scent and become uncomfortable.
2. Picking Coffee Fruit
The maturity level of coffee fruit does not occur simultaneously so to harvest it, it takes a long time. The harvest period usually lasts for 4-5 months with a frequency of fruit picking every 10-14 days.
a. Selective Picking
This picking of coffee is only done on fruit that has been red or fully ripe. The rest is left for subsequent picking.
b. Half Selective Picking
Picking is done on all fruits in one wet or bunch. The condition is that in the bunch of fruit that huddles there are fruits that have been full red.
c. Simultaneous Plucking
Picking simultaneously or also called picking pluck is done on all coffee fruits from all the bunch. Fruits that are still green are also picked out. Picking like this is usually done at the end of the harvest season.
Harvesting is a way to harvest by picking up coffee that falls under the tree because it is too ripe.
After harvesting the coffee fruit, it is sorted based on its quality. This phase also separates coffee from impurities and defective or damaged fruits. Fruits that have been sorted must be processed immediately because if stored too long will trigger chemical reactions that will reduce the quality of the coffee.
Coffee Washing and Drying Process
After being harvested, the coffee fruit is not necessarily peeled and roasted just like that. There are several stages before the coffee beans are ready for roasting. The coffee processing process is also called the post-harvest process.
This post-harvest coffee processing process also determines the character and taste of the coffee. So, the delicious taste of coffee does not only depend on how to make it into a drink. But through a long and very detailed process.
The post-harvest process varies and varies by country or plantation. There are two types of postharvest, namely the wet method and the dry method. The wet method is also called the coffee washing process because it uses water to remove the coffee meat before it is dried in the sun. While the dry method is only drying coffee without washing it first.
These two basic methods then develop into new methods that create different characters and unique tastes. This process aims to finally get seeds ready for roasting or commonly referred to as green beans. The following are the post-harvest coffee processing processes.
1. Fully Washed
This coffee processing process uses water so it is also called the wet method. Washing the coffee fruit is done to completely remove the outer skin, meat, and sap before the drying process.
The trick is by soaking for approximately 12 hours. In the first 6 hours, the skin and flesh of the fruit are peeled manually or using a machine. After the seeds are free from the skin and sap, then rinse and begin to dry in the sun.
The taste characters produced through this processing tend to be fruity, more acidic, and lighter. It is suitable for those of you who don’t like the taste of heavy and bitter coffee.
2. Semi Washed
This coffee processing method is almost the same as a full wash. The difference is, the washing process only reaches the separation of the outer skin. Coffee beans are still covered with a layer of sap and then dried together with the sap. Drying is only until the water content drops around 30-35% and then peeled again until it is completely seed-shaped. After peeling, the seeds are then dried again. This process reduces the acidity and makes the body character stronger.
3. Natural Process
This process is the natural and oldest way. Processing does not use water or machines. Therefore called the natural process.
Freshly harvested coffee is directly dried in the sun for about two weeks to produce natural fermentation. After drying, the skin and flesh of the fruit will be easily broken down and separated from the seeds / green bean. This process results in the complexity of flavors and variations in the taste of fruits (fruity).
4. Honey Process
The coffee processing is almost the same as the natural process. The difference is that before being dried in the sun, the coffee fruit is peeled and the mucilage/cultivar is left. This sap is the key to the honey process, namely the sugar content and acidity in the sap are more absorbent and concentrated when the coffee is dried. Therefore, the character of sweetness will be very high with balanced acidity.
This process is widely used in Central America. Because the gum mucilage is sticky and resembles honey, they call this drying process miel which means honey. This is where the term honey process was born.
The level of the thickness of the gum that sticks to and absorbs the coffee beans when drying will affect the taste. The thinner the sap layer, the faster the sap is absorbed into the coffee beans. Then the results of this drying can be divided into three.
a. Yellow Honey
The layer of sap (mucilage) in coffee beans only leaves 25%. Drying is done in a shady place so that it is faster. The process takes about 8 days. After drying, the seeds turn yellowish-brown.
b. Red Honey
The layer of sap (mucilage) in coffee beans is left 50%. Drying is done in the shade of about 12 days. The color will turn reddish-brown after drying.
c. Black Honey
The sap is left 100% attached to the coffee beans. Drying is carried out for approximately 30 days. After drying, the color will turn black and have a more complex taste. This is because more sugar is absorbed into the mucilage into the coffee beans.
This process takes the longest and most risky compared to other honey processes. The risk in question is damage to the seeds due to bacteria and fungi.
5. Natural Wine Process
This process is similar to the natural process because it uses the dry method. The difference is that drying takes longer, which is 30-60 days. Called the wine process because this process produces a sensation of taste and strong aroma of wine in coffee. This happens because the fermentation of the skin, meat and gum are absorbed by the coffee beans for a long time.
Like the black honey process, this process has a higher risk. Coffee that is too long to dry is easily cracked and broken. This is what makes the price of coffee processed by the wine process expensive.
Coffee Roasting Stages
After processing coffee produces green beans, it’s time to do the roasting process. Although the washing and drying stages of coffee can affect the taste, roasting also has a part in determining the pleasure of this legendary drink. The following are the coffee roasting phases using a machine that is usually used as a reference.
1. Drying / Removing Moisture Content
Generally, dried coffee beans / green beans still have 7-11% moisture content. As long as the water content is still there, the seeds will not change color to brown. This first roasting stage is called drying. Coffee beans will begin to absorb the heat of the roasting machine and evaporate the water content.
2. Light Roast
Light roast is a roasting phase that has the lowest level of maturity. Generally, this phase temperature is between 180 ° C to 205 ° C. Coffee beans are brownish-yellow and tend to be dry because the oil hasn’t come out yet.
The end of this phase is marked by the first crack, which is the explosion of breaking coffee beans. When the first crack starts, that’s when it enters the light roast level. Stop at this phase if you want to taste coffee that tends to be mild with a strong sour taste and high caffeine.
3. Medium Roast
The next stage is entering the medium roast level. The temperature ranges from 210 ° C to 220 ° C. Medium roast is during the first crack.
It was at this time that what happened was called the caramelization process. This process forms the character of the aroma and sweet taste.
In this phase, the coffee beans begin to turn dark brown. The resulting taste is very balanced both body and acidity. Compared to light roasts, there is less caffeine and thicker texture. The medium roast phase is complete before reaching the second crack (second crack).
4. Dark Roast
The dark roast is around 240 ° C where a second crack occurs. Coffee beans will be very dark brown and almost black. Not all seeds can reach this stage. Seeds that have low density will break and break.
In this phase, natural oils contained in the seeds will come out, thereby reducing or even eliminating the acidity of coffee. The body is thick and the taste tends to be bitter because in this phase the coffee beans are carbonized.
After the coffee beans have been roasted, do not immediately grind and brew. Freshly roasted seeds contain high levels of carbon dioxide, which affects the taste if enjoyed for a moment. Therefore, it needs to be rested or allowed to stand for some time so that carbon dioxide gas gradually decreases and disappears.
Within 4 hours after roasting, coffee can be brewed. However, for better results, it is better to wait 2 to 3 days to further develop the taste and aroma.
A barista must understand the ins and outs and ways to make delicious coffee drinks. Barista is a term for someone who makes and serves coffee to customers. This term comes from Italian which means a bar waitress.
Anyone can be a reliable barista. The key is never to be shy and stop learning. Some articles on encycofedia.com you might be able to refer to learning.
Thus the journey and processing of coffee before we can finally enjoy. As a connoisseur, knowing this mysterious fruit journey to become a cup of beverage full of philosophy is a plus. That way, you can chat and share experiences about coffee with friends and of course while having coffee.