How does coffee get from bean
Getting coffee from the fruit to the cup is a complex and exacting procedure, a process more art than science. Proper roasting is absolutely critical, but for the roast to be perfect, the coffee beans must be flawless.
Without getting too technical the world's best coffee comes from small coffee estates, with their own processing plant, situated at high altitudes in the tropics. Perfect volcanic soil is essential as is the variety of the coffee plant.
Disease and insect infestation can damage coffee plants. An excess or shortage of rain or sunlight can adversely affect production and quality. Any crop is vulnerable to such dangers, but coffee is particularly delicate and the very best coffee even more so.
Experience and training are required to produce the perfect product. Hand picking means only ripe cherries are harvested but, once picked, must be processed promptly. The pulp is removed and separated, and the best beans selected. If not, the sugar in the fruit begins to ferment and the bean is ruined.
Now the beans are left in the sun for a day or two (depending on the weather) to dry and then carefully heated in a mechanical dryer for up to forty hours to get to just the right humidity. While drying in the sun the beans must be turned regularly for the beans to dry evenly. Those not uniform in size or damaged in any way will roast unevenly making final product substandard.
These are just some examples of things that can go wrong. There are a myriad of other dangers to avoid.
That said, Guatemala has ideal conditions for coffee farming. Topography, latitude and volcanic soil are simply perfect. What's more Guatemalans have grown coffee for generations. They know coffee like a baker knows bread.
Few coffee producing countries in the world have the quality workers, climate, soil and geography of Guatemala. Simply put, Guatemalan mountain coffee ranks with the best coffee in the world.
1) Hand picking the cherries.
3) Delivering and weighing the fruit.
5) Removing the pulp from the coffee bean.
7) Finca La Paz washes the beans down a long, gently sloping canal.
9) What's left is spread out to dry in the sun.
11) On the left is coffee that has been rejected for export.
13) These dryers are heated with firewood and recycled byproducts from the coffee.
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2) It can be so steep that this is the only way to get the coffee to the processing plant.
4) This is immediately fed by gravity into the de-pulper (next photo)
6) The best beans sink while the pulp and imperfect beans float.
8) Here some of the final waste is washed away.
10) The beans need to be regularly turned to dry evenly.
12) Final drying is done in large mechanical dryers.
14) Ready to export.
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