Coffee Processing, There is a long coffee story before it finally hits your cup. This story starts with harvesting, post-harvest, to roasting to produce a unique taste. You can understand this through the following article about the journey and processing of coffee.
Before it can be brewed, sipped, and enjoyed at home or in a coffee shop, coffee experiences a story of a long journey and processing process. The process consists of harvesting, drying, roasting, and brewing until it becomes a steady drink.
This process contributes to its character and taste. Moreover, the processes used can vary and each produces its unique taste.
The taste produced from the same type of fruit can be different just because it is planted in different places, especially with a variety of processing processes. This is what makes coffee so unique and mysterious.
If you want to dive deeper into the travel and coffee processing story before pouring it into your cup, check out the following article. Hopefully, we can provide a little information and increase your knowledge about this delicious drink.
Coffee is a dicot plant, which has two beans. Of the many fruits, some have one seed and are commonly referred to as peaberry or lanang coffee. However, this type of peaberry is an anomaly or disorder that offers its uniqueness.
In general, coffee cherries are identified with two main parts, namely the pericarp and the seed/coffee bean. The following is a brief explanation.
- Coffee Processing Process – Coffee Fruit Beans
- The pericarp is divided into three more parts, namely:
- fruit skin (exocarp)
- pulp (mesocarp)
- mucilage / cultivar / shell.
- These seeds or commonly known as coffee beans are coffee beans that are processed and then we extract them into drinks for consumption.
- How to Harvest Coffee Fruits
- A delicious cup of coffee comes from a story of travel and long processing. Starting from growing and developing as a plant, processing it during post-harvest, to serving it into a delicious drink.
It’s good if as a coffee lover, not only knowing the types of drinks, but also the journey from plants to powder that is ready to be brewed. First of all, we will invite you to know the harvest in advance.
- Criteria for Ready-to-Harvest Coffee
- Coffee Processing Process – Harvesting Coffee
- Coffee plants begin to bear fruit in the age range of 2-5 years. Robusta fruit will appear faster than Arabica. At this age, maybe the fruit is only a little and will continue to grow until the age of five years and over.
- Both robusta and arabica both bear fruit seasonally. Robusta takes 8-11 months from bud to ready for harvest, while Arabica takes 6-8 months.
The size of the fruit ripeness is marked by a change in color. The following are the criteria for fruit that is ready to be harvested.
a. Green and Yellowish Green
This color indicates the condition of the young fruit. 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 fruit has begun to ripen. The aroma is starting to be steady and it’s okay to be picked.
c. Full Red
This phase shows that the fruit is ripe. The aroma and taste have been perfectly formed. These conditions are the best conditions for picking it.
d. Dark red
Fruit that is dark red should be picked immediately because it is too ripe. The aroma has started to decline. If you wait too long, you might emit an excessive earthy smell and become unpleasant.
Coffee Fruit Picking
The story and the coffee processing process then continues to picking. Generally, fruit ripeness does not occur simultaneously, so it takes a long time for harvesting. The harvest period can last for 4-5 months with a frequency of picking fruit every 10-14 days. The method of picking itself is divided into the following:
a. Selective Picking
Picking is done only on fruit that is fully red or fully ripe. The rest is left for further picking.
b. Half Selective Picking
Picking is done on all the fruit in one bunch or bunch. The condition is that there is fruit on the lump that is completely red.
c. Simultaneous Picking
Simultaneous picking or also known as picking this concoction is carried out on all coffee cherries from all bunches. The fruit that was still green was also picked up. Picking like this is usually done at the end of the harvest season.
Melanesian harvesting is a method of harvesting by picking up fruit that has fallen under the tree because it is too ripe.
Coffee Washing and Drying Process
Once harvested, the fruit does not necessarily have to be peeled and roasted (roasted). There are several steps before the fruit is ready to roast. The story and the coffee processing process is also called the postharvest process.
The story and the postharvest coffee processing have contributed to its character and taste. So, the delicious taste of coffee doesn’t just depend on how you make it into a drink. But through a long and very detailed process.
This postharvest process varies and varies from country to country or plantation. There are two types of postharvest methods, namely the wet method and the dry method. The wet method is also known as the coffee washing process because it uses water to remove the pulp before drying it in the sun. While the dry method is only drying the fruit without washing it first.
These two basic methods then developed into new methods that created different characters and uniqueness of taste. This process has the ultimate goal of getting beans ready for roasting or commonly known as green beans.
The following is a story and post-harvest coffee processing.
- Fully Washed
- This coffee processing process uses water so it is also called the wet method. The washing of the fruit is done to completely remove the outer skin, flesh, and sap before the drying process.
The trick is soaking for about 12 hours. In the first 6 hours, the skin and pulp are peeled manually or using a machine. After the seeds are free from the skin and sap, then they are rinsed and begin to dry in the sun.
The taste characters produced through this processing tend to be fruity, more sour, and mild. It is suitable for those of you who do not like the heavy and bitter taste of the coffee.
- Semi Washed
- This coffee processing method is almost the same as a full wash. The difference is, the washing process only extends to the separation of the outer skin. Coffee beans that are still covered with a layer of sap are then dried together with the sap. Drying it only until the water content drops by about 30-35% and then peel it again until it forms seeds. After being peeled, the seeds are then dried again. This process reduces the acidity level and makes the body character stronger.
- Natural Process
- This process is natural and the oldest. Processing does not use water or machines. Therefore it is called a natural process.
Freshly harvested coffee is dried in the sun for about two weeks to produce natural fermentation. Once dry, the skin and pulp will be easily broken and separated from the green bean.
This process results in a complexity of flavors and a variety of fruity flavors.
- Honey Process
- The coffee processing process is almost the same as the natural process. The difference is that before being dried in the sun, the fruit is peeled and left with a gummy mucilage/cultivar. This sap is the key to the honey process, namely the sugar and acidity content in the sap absorbs, and is concentrated when the coffee is dried. Therefore, the sweetness character will be very high with balanced acidity.
This process is widely used in Central America. Because the mucilage sap is sticky and resembles honey, they call this drying process the word miel which means honey. This is where the term honey process was born.
The level of thickness of the sap that sticks to and seeps into the seeds when dried in the sun will affect their flavor characteristics. The thinner the sap layer, the faster it will be absorbed into the seeds. Then the results of this drying can be divided into three.
a. Yellow Honey
The layer of sap (mucilage) on the coffee beans is only 25% left. Drying is done in a place that is not shaded so that it is faster. The process takes about 8 days. After drying it in the sun, the color of the seeds will turn yellowish-brown.
b. Red Honey
The layer of sap (mucilage) on the seeds is left 50%. Drying is carried out in the shade for about 12 days. The color will turn reddish-brown after drying it in the sun.
c. Black Honey
The sap layer is allowed 100% to stick to the seeds. Drying is carried out for approximately 30 days. Once dry, they will turn black and have a more complex taste. This is because more of the sugar in the mucilage is absorbed into the seeds.
This process takes the longest time and is the most risky compared to other honey processes. The risk referred to is damage to the seeds due to bacteria and fungi.
- Natural Wine Process
- This process is similar to the natural process because it uses the dry method. The difference is that the drying time takes longer, namely 30-60 days. It is called the wine process because this process produces a strong wine taste and aroma in coffee. This happens because the fermentation of the skin, meat, and sap is absorbed by the beans for a long time.
Like the black honey process, this process carries a higher risk. Coffee that is too long in the sun can easily crack and break. This is what makes the price of processed wine beans expensive.
Coffee Roasting Stages
After the coffee processing process produces green beans, the story continues with the roasting process. Although the washing and drying stages can affect the taste, roasting plays a part in determining the taste of this legendary drink. The following are the phases of roasting using a machine that is usually used as a reference.
- Drying / Removing Moisture Content
- Generally, coffee beans that have been dried/green bean still have 7-11% moisture content. As long as the water content is still there, the seeds will not turn brownish. This first roasting stage is called drying. The beans will begin to absorb the heat of the roaster and evaporate the moisture.
- Light Roast
- Light roast is the roasting phase that has the lowest level of maturity. Generally, the temperature of this phase is between 180 ° C and 205 ° C. The seeds are brownish-yellow and tend to be dry because the oil hasn’t come out.
The end of this phase is marked by the first crack, which is the explosion due to the breaking of the coffee beans. When the first crack started happening, that’s when it entered the light roast level. Stop at this phase if you want a mild flavor with a strong sour taste and high caffeine.
The next stage is to enter the medium roast level. The temperature ranges from 210 ° C to 220 ° C. Medium roast is during the first crack.
At this point, what is called the caramelization process occurs. This process forms the character of aroma and sweet taste.
In this phase, the coffee beans start to turn dark brown. The resulting taste is very balanced both in body and acidity. Compared to light roasts, it has less caffeine and a thicker texture. The medium roast phase is complete before reaching the second crack.
- Dark Roast
- Dark roasts ranged from 240 ° C where the second crack occurred. The seeds will be very dark brown and almost black. Not all seeds can reach this stage. Low-density seeds will break and crumble.
In this phase, the natural oils contained in the seeds will come out, thereby reducing or even eliminating the acidity character. The body is thick and the taste tends to be bitter because in this phase the coffee beans are carbonized.
Resting After Roasting
After the coffee beans are finished roasting, do not immediately grind and brew them. The beans that have just been roasted contain high levels of carbon dioxide, which can affect the taste if you enjoy them for a moment. Therefore, it is necessary to resting or leaving it for a while so that the carbon dioxide gas is gradually reduced and lost.
Within 4 hours after roasting, coffee can be brewed. However, for more delicious results, it is better to wait 7 days to further develop the taste and aroma.
End of Story & Coffee Processing as a Cup of Drink
That’s the story of the journey and coffee processing before we can finally enjoy it. As a connoisseur, knowing the journey of this mysterious fruit to become a philosophical cup of drink is a plus. That way, you can chat and share experiences with friends and of course while drinking coffee.
Apart from this article, there are many other articles on Kopipedia that you can read. Among them are about history, benefits, making tools, to the types of coffee drinks that you can enjoy.
Read too: All About Drip Coffee Makers