From the coffee fields of Brazil to your coffee mug in Carambola’s in Loves Park. Coffee is often grown in mountainous areas where mechanical harvesting is not possible. In these regions ripe coffee cherries are usually picked by hand. The exception to that is Brazil, the mostly flat landscape and enormous size of the coffee fields allow for mechanical harvesting.
Coffee is harvested in one of two ways. One is strip picked which is when all the cherries are stripped off of the branch at one time, either by machine or by hand. The other is selectively picked and thats when only the ripe cherries are harvested and they are picked only by hand. Coffee pickers check the trees every 7 to 10 days and pick only the fully ripe cherries individually. This method is labor intensive and not very cost effective. Selective picking is primarily used for the finer coffee beans.
The coffee cherries are spread out in the sun on large concrete or brick patios, or on mats raised to waist height. They are covered up if it rains. As the cherries dry, they are either raked or turned by hand to ensure they dry evenly. It can sometimes take up to 5 weeks before the cherries are dried sufficiently. Larger plantations, machine-drying is used to speed up the process after the coffee has been dried in the sun for a couple days.
During roasting is when the characteristic taste aroma components are formed along with the typical brown color of the beans. There are more than 900 different aroma components of coffee. It is possible to achieve a specific flavor profile preferences of the consumer.
The roasted coffee beans may be ground. This is done in a coffee grinder. Grind size needs to be adapted for each intended use (espresso machine, filter brew, etc.) as it will also influence the taste in the cup.