High on a lush, steep hillside covered with coffee trees, a picker carries a heavy bag filled with a long day’s work. The bag contains ripe, red coffee cherries. Months from now, the beans from that day’s harvest might be the very ones you purchase at your favorite store. Between the time that he picked them and you purchase them, the beans went through a series of steps very much like this.
While most of the world is recognizing green coffee bean extract, it is important to distinguish and understand the difference of red coffee berries and green coffee seeds.
How Green Coffee Works
If you go high, on a hill covered in coffee bushes, you will surely be greeted by one of the pickers who will carry a bag filled up with a long day’s harvest. Mot likely, in the bag will be red coffee cherries. These cherries will be in a few months from now, the same coffee berries you will find at your local store. However, before getting on the store’s shelves, the coffee beans go through many complicated processes. Let’s have a look at each of these processes.
1. The Planting
At first, the coffee bean is in fact a seed like any other seeds. The coffee gets to be brewed only after it’s dried, roasted and ground. Yet, if the seed doesn’t get processed, it gets to be planted so it develops into a coffee bush. The coffee seeds get to be planted in large beds, in shaded nurseries. When they sprout, they are planted in separate pots filled with treated soils. Here, they need to be protected from the bright sun and watered, until they are ready for permanent planting. This last mentioned process needs to take place in the wet season, since the roots get better established in moist soils.
2. The Harvesting
The time period before a new plant starts developing and carrying bear fruit is 3 or 4 years, depending on the plant’s stripe. When it’s ready for harvesting, the coffee cherry gets a bright, deep red color. Most of the coffee producers harvest the fruit by hand, the exception being Brazil where the process is being mechanized, due to a flat landscape and huge coffee fields. It doesn’t matter if it’s picked by machine or hand, all the coffee gets harvested in two ways:
Strip Harvested or Picked – where the entire crop is harvested once, either by man or machine. It doesn’t matter how it’s done, all the cherries get stripped once.
Selectively Harvested or Picked – where only the ripe cherries are being harvested and picked up by hand. The process takes place every 8-10 days, and only the cherries that are ripe get to be harvested. Since this process is very costly and laborious, only the finest Arabica beans are being harvested.
Most of the countries that grow coffee, such as Colombia, perform the harvest two times a year (since there are two flowerings). A harvester picks an average of 100 – 200 pounds of coffee cherries a day. This quantity produces 20 – 40 pounds of beans. The worker is paid on merit, depending on how much he/she has harvested, while a day’s production is after that carried to the processing plant.
3. The cherries’ processing
The processing has to take place as soon as possible, after the cherries have been picked, in order to avoid spoilage. There are two ways through which the coffee is processed, depending on the fields and resources:
The Dry Coffee Bean Method
This is the ancient method of coffee processing, especially in those countries where water is limited. The new harvested cherries are put on big surfaces, under the sun, to dry out. Of course, if it rains, they are covered. This process usually takes place for a few weeks, for every batch of coffee. Once the moisture hits 11%, the cherries are considered to be dried and ready to be stored in warehouses.
The Wet Coffee Bean Method
This process takes place only after the pulp removing one. This way, the bean dries with the parchment skin on. The wet method also involves a few steps:
- the first step where the cherries, right after being harvested, are put in a pulping machine so the pulp is removed from the bean;
- the washing step where the pulp is removed with water so that they are used as mulch;
- the separation process where the heavy beans sink and the lighter ones float.
After this, they get separated by size in a series of rotating drums and sent to big tanks filled with water, where they get fermented. The climate and the altitude are important factors in this wet method, which combined, factors that determine how much time these remain in the tanks (usually from 12 to 48 hours). This process removes the parenchyma (a slick layer of mucilage) through some naturally occurring enzymes that make the layer to dissolve. Once the beans feel rough to the touch, they are rinsed through a process of being sent in some additional water channels. After this, the beans are absolutely ready to dry.
4. The green coffee beans dry
In case the berries went through the wet method, the beans that are now pulped and fermented have to reach the 11% moisture level, so they can be sent to warehouses. While still being closed up in the endocarp, they get dried out in the sun. After they are dried, these are ready for export.
5. The coffee beans milling
Before the exporting process, parchment coffee is processed such as:
In order to remove the endocarp from the wet processed coffee, the earlier mentioned machines are being used. The hulling is a dry process addressing the removal of the entire dried husk: the exo, meso and endocarp.
The polishing is an additional process where the silver skin remains. It is considered that polished beans are superior to the unpolished ones, but there isn’t any difference between these two.
Grading and Sorting
Before being sent to export, the beans are getting sort out by size, weight and color.
The perfect bean size is 10 to 20. This is the size of the round hole diameter, meaning 1/64′s of an inch. This means a 10 bean would be the approximate size of a hole in a diameter of 10/64 of an inch and a number 15 bean is a 15/64 of an inch. The sizing process is performed through many different sized screens. They can also be sorted out using an air jet that separates the heavy beans, from the light ones. This type or sorting is known as a pneumatically one.
Next, the beans are sorted and verified for defects. This process can be performed through sophisticated machines or by hand (which is made by hand in most of the coffee countries), after which they are sent to an electronic conveyor belt. The beans not passing the quality tests of size and color are eliminated. Defected beans might also include over-fermented ones, insect damaged ones and unhulled ones. The coffee producers need to make sure only the high quality beans are ready for export.
6. The exportation of green coffee seeds and coffee berries
Now, once the beans are milled, they are renamed into “green coffee”, this meaning they are totally ready to be loaded in ships and get transported towards the importing countries. They are deposited into jute or sisal bags, which are also packed into shipping containers. They might also be bulk shipped into plastic-lined containers. The green coffee production is of approximately 7 million tons, worldwide.
7. Catching a grip of the coffee’s taste or simpler… tasting the coffee
As we previously have noticed, the coffee goes through many repeatable tests of quality and taste. Also know as “cupping”, this tasting process needs a special room, where the evaluator determines the bean’s quality. The cupper or the taster firstly evaluates the visual quality of the bean. After this, the beans go into a small laboratory, where they get roasted, grounded and infused in boiling water. The cupper has to smell and identify the aroma, the most important step of evaluating the coffee’s quality. After the coffee has been left to rest for a few minutes, the taster has to “break the crust” by pushing aside the grounds at the top of the cup. The coffee is once again, nosed.
The next step of tasting is the slurp, where the cupper practically slurps the liquid in a quick inhalation. The coffee needs to evenly spray over the tongue’s taste buds, after which is weighed before getting spit out. Many samples, from different batches are getting tasted every day. The cupper tastes hundreds of samples every day, but he still can feel the slight difference between each of them varieties. The beans are not being analyzed this way only for their inherent characteristics and flaws, but also for the purpose of blending different beans, in order to determine the proper roast.
8. The roasting process or roasting the coffee
Roasting is the process that transforms the green coffee beans into the aromatic brown beans we are used to and buy from the store. All the roasting machines, usually maintain a temperature of 550 Fahrenheit degrees. The beans need to keep moving in the entire roasting process, so they don’t get burn. When they have reached the internal temperature of 400 degrees, they gain the brown color, while the caffeol (the oil inside the bean) starts to get out.
This is the pyrolysis process, and it’s the heart of roasting. This gives coffee the flavor and aroma we all know. After they are extracted from the roaster, the beans get to be immediately cooled either through air or water. The roasting process is usually performed in the importing countries, since they are much more aromatic when they have just been roasted.
9. Grinding coffee
A proper grinding process will get the best aroma and flavor in a cup of coffee. The coffee’s fine quality and brewing result depends very much on how fine the coffee is. The finer coffee is, the quicker it gets boiled and prepared. This is the reason why coffee ground for use in an espresso machine is much finer than coffee which will be brewed in a drip system.
10. Brewing the coffee
Don’t start brewing your coffee if you haven’t take a careful look at the beans you are about to brew. Imagine how many processes these beans have been through, before they have reached your kitchen cupboard. Make your coffee thoughtfully and enjoy it with love for all the people who have been marvelous in bringing it to you.
The power of green coffee beans
You can also enjoy the green coffee beans, which we have mentioned before, in the 6th process. The green coffee beans taste differently from the roasted, brown ones. They are considered to be much healthier, and that’s the reason why many people prefer them. They also contain caffeine; therefore, you will enjoy the same energy boost.
The green coffee beans are a relatively new concept on the coffee market. Many of the health companies have adopted the use of green coffee beans extract, and created serious health supplements that work unbelievably well and provide many health benefits, such as: weight loss, energy boost, a healthy cardiovascular system and a healthy nervous system.
Some call the green coffee beans the absolute nutrition. The secret of green coffee as a superfood stands in the high content of chlorogenic acid, which is a powerful anti oxidant, high in many compounds that are essential for the human body to properly function.
If you simply don’t enjoy sipping a cup of coffee (either roasted or green), the green coffee comes in form of health supplements. Every health company has its own way of extracting the essential compounds in the green coffee bean. Before deciding on what supplement you want to consume, take a look at the company’s prestige, other customers’ reviews, and the methods through which the supplements have been created. Dr. Oz recommended a green coffee bean extract supplement as a health booster, after two members in his audience lost 6, respectively 2 lbs. in just 7 days.
Take a look at Green Coffee Pure Supplement which comes with complete with other quality health ingredients.