From Red Cherries to Green Beans
The Gourmet Coffee Bean Journey, Part 4
Before the roasted beans, there were the cherries and the green beans. This process is an essential step in the journey of the coffee bean and has a big impact on the quality of brewed coffee.
When coffee cherries reach a certain level of maturity, they are harvested and processed. There are basically two ways to do this – the wet process and the dry process.
The wet process is the more common method. In this process, only the ripe coffee cherries are picked. The beans are separated in a process called depulping. They then undergo fermentation. In this step, the mucilage (the slimy portion between the pulp and the parchment) becomes thinner and eventually dissolves. The beans are then washed and dried, producing raw beans that are still covered with clean and dry parchment. The final step is to mill them to remove the parchment, leaving only the clean green beans that will be sorted out for roasting.
The dry process is less common because it yields coffee beans of inferior quality.While the wet process uses only the ripe coffee cherries, the dry process involves strip picking of the coffee trees. Both ripe and unripe cherries are taken. Immature beans don’t make good coffee. They are then sun-dried with their pulp and everything, leaving dried cherries with black, leathery covering. Finally, they are milled to remove the covering and leave only the green beans.
Gourmet Farms uses only the wet process method.
After the milling, workers manually sort out the beans to remove those with cracks, spots, or malformations. These beans with imperfections affect the quality of taste of the coffee when they’re roasted. Only the finest green beans end up in our roasting facility.