How is Coffee Made: The Journey of Coffee from Seeds to Cup

By September 20, 2016

Taking out coffee beans, grinding the coffee beans and brewing for a cup of coffee, the whole process to make a good coffee only takes 10 minutes or so. But do you ever wonder how is coffee made? Do you have any idea on how long the journey of coffee from seeds to cup is?

Growing Coffee

Coffee seed is actually an unroasted green coffee bean. After seeding, it takes about 75 days to germinate into a plant. Then, it takes 3-4 years to producing fruit. The coffee is mainly planted. Meanwhile, coffee plants grow within a defined area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, termed the bean belt or coffee belt.  

grow coffee

Harvesting the Cherries

Once the coffee fruit, called coffee cherry, turns a bright and deep red, then it is ready to be harvested. In some countries, the picking process is done by machines, like Brazil. However, the majority of coffee in the world is still picked by hand. After picking the cherries from the tree, it is necessary to separate the unripe from the ripe ones.

harvest coffee

Processing the Cherries

In case the picked cherries spoil, processing immediately is important. There are two ways to process the coffee cherries: dry processing and wet processing.

Dry Processing: This is an age-old method. Simply spread out the cherries on a concrete or brick to dry in the sun.

Wet Processing: This method removes the pulp and skin from the coffee cherry through a depulper. Then, the ripe cherries and unripe ones will be separated through water channels. After that, the beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks for 12-48 hours to remove the slick layer attached to the parchment. When completed, the coffee beans are ready to be sun-dried.  

process the coffee

Milling the Beans

After dry processing or wet processing, coffee beans must get milled to remove the parchment layer or the entire husk. This needs hulling machinery help. At this point, the beans will still have their silver skin and need to be polished. The coffee beans are then graded and sorted. The small-sized or blemished beans might be rejected during this process.   

Mill coffee beans

Exporting the Beans

The milled beans, also known as green coffee, are then ready to export worldwide. There are loaded onto ships in either jute or sisal bags.

ship coffee beans

Tasting and Grading the Beans

The green beans will be going through test for quality and taste. This process is also known as cupping. The tasters, namely the cupper, will evaluate the beans based on the quality of their appearance, aroma and color.

tasting coffee

Roasting the Beans

Roasting transforms green beans into the aromatic brown beans that we bought in cafés. The roasting profiles like temperature or roasting method may differ based on coffee’s variety, processing method and desired characteristics. Some people just like home roasting for enjoying the best flavor of the coffee beans. Generally, the first 30 or 45 days of roasted coffee tastes best.

roast coffee beans

Grinding the Beans

Then you’re nearly ready to drink your coffee. Grind your roasted coffee beans to coarseness for brewing. You can grind the beans with either electric coffee grinder or manual coffee grinder.

 grind coffee beans

Brewing Coffee

There are many ways to brew coffee at home. Choose one method you like most to brew your coffee. It seems that French Press is a nice choice, which helps you get a cup of good coffee easily. You can use our guide on how to make a French Press

brew coffee

From seeds to cup, it takes only 2 seconds to say. But the real process will take many years to complete. Learn on how is coffee made and enjoy every cup of your coffee.

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