With every sip, a coffee lover falls deeper and deeper in love with his cup of coffee which hard as it is to sometimes believe, began as a seed, then a plant, and finally a bean. With the delicate processes these beans have to go through, it’s no wonder that they do not just taste good but also beneficial to our well-being. Let’s discover how a seed becomes a source not just of energy but also happiness to many.
Plant and Harvest
Coffee seeds need to receive appropriate care for them to grow into a quality bean. For starters, seedlings need to have plenty of water, but not too much sunlight. Hence, watering them needs to be done often and mindfully at that. Farmers also use shade to protect the plants from direct sunlight. Once matured, they are transferred to a moist soil to be permanently planted.
The fertility of newly planted trees depends on its variety, but they may bear fruits in about 4 years. Coffee cherries which are the fruits of a coffee tree, can be harvested when their color becomes a bright deep red. Harvest happens once a year, but there are countries that harvest twice. There are two ways of harvesting coffee cherries: strip or selective picking.
From the word itself, strip picking is the stripping of all cherries off a branch either by hand or with the use of a machine. On the other hand, selective picking is done manually because the pickers are selective and will pick only the fruits at the peak of their ripeness.
After collecting all the harvest, the coffee cherries are then transported to be processed.
Coffee harvests should be processed as quickly as possible to maintain their freshness, and there are two ways to process them: the dry method and the wet method.
The Dry Method is laying down the coffee cherries directly under the sun. The cherries will be turned over several times during the day and be covered at night or during rainy days to avoid spoilage. Drying will continue for many weeks until the moisture content drops to 11%.
The Wet Method is done with the help of a pulping machine which will remove the skin and pulp of the bean. The beans are then separated according to their sizes and weight. Lighter beans will float to the top of the water channels, while the heavier ripe beans will sink to the bottom. Once the best beans have been extracted from the batch of harvest, they will be stored in large fermentation tanks filled with water for 12 to 48 hours. Enzymes that naturally occur during fermentation will dissolve the remaining layer of the beans. After fermentation, the beans will feel rough, be rinsed, and dried either by the sun or by a machine.
Dried beans are referred to as parchment coffee and are milled in three steps –from hulling, to polishing, and to grading and sorting. Hulling is the removal of the entire dried husk of the coffee bean. Polishing is another step, although optional, to remove any silver skin left on the bean after hulling. Lastly, grading and sorting are done to carefully choose the beans without any color flaws or imperfections and separate them according to size and weight.
The milled beans, now referred to as green coffee, are stored in sacks to be transported.
Green beans are chemically and physically transformed into brown coffee beans. The beans move in a continuous one direction until the desired roast level is achieved. The flavor and distinct smell that the coffee beans produce is because of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis allows the bean’s fragrant oil, known as caffeol, to rise to the surface once the temperature reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature also turns the green color of the beans to brown.
Software such as the Coffee Sweet Prosweet is also utilised during the roasting process to closely monitor the roast level and many of the other subtle factors that apply to roasting coffee.
Roasting with Phantom Series
There are many state-of-the-art coffee roasters developed along with advances in technology. When it comes to superior roasting, the Phantom Series is in the lead having the most advanced PC integrated system. With its 3 phase motors and gearboxes from Italy and Omron and Schneider Electrical components, you can be sure that it is of high quality and would last for many years.
When it comes to performance, heat transfer for optimum roasting can be achieved because of its double wall carbon steel wall design with gaps that are 3mm apart. No need to allot time for cooling as roasting and cooling are done simultaneously, helping roasters keep up with the demand. The roasting process can also be monitored through the viewing glass.
Adapting to automated era, Phantom Series offers automatic loading of coffee into the drum with its automatic hopper door with electric actuator. Surprisingly, the operation is quiet because a compressor is not required. Operation settings can also be saved for future roastings thanks to its memory function. And in case of system issues, PC connection can be done as a backup plan.
Safety is also equally important in designing the Phantom Series. Temperature monitoring is done through 5 independent thermocouples. A cyclone water sprinkler is also available when things go wrong. All automated doors are covered and protected by the hinged cooling tray to avoid accidents while the process is running. Maintenance and repair might trouble you because of the Phantom Series’ advanced issues, but nothing to worry as all main serviceable areas and components are available.
Grinding and Brewing
Once coffee beans are perfectly roasted, they are ready for grinding. The grinding process gets the most of the flavor from the beans; while brewing controls the coarseness of the coffee grounds.
The process of converting a seed to a brewed drink that you pour into your cup may look like a tedious process, but with the pleasant aroma and flavor that quality coffee beans offer, all the hard work is worth it.