March 12, 2024| 230 views

Coffee lover, do you sometimes wonder how your favorite coffee beans come to be and ultimately brew an addictive cup of coffee?

Don’t fret about it, you are not alone!

At Alovado, we often receive this question that lingers in the minds of many coffeeholics.

‘How do red ripe coffee cherries on a coffee bush transform into a distinct flavorful cup of Kenyan coffee?’

Well, before we delve into the ‘How’ let us tackle the ‘What.’

Keep calm, coffee processing is loading…

So, what is coffee processing?

In simplest terms, it is step by step activities from cherry harvesting to bean roasting.

Kenyan coffee is characterized by its’ full body, wine-like acidity, floral notes with unique berry and citrus flavors that are highly sought after the world over.

Our coffee cherries undergo wet processing which ensures they retain the overall quality of the green bean.

That said, here, we go!

Step 1: Cherry harvesting and Sorting.

Bright red cherries are selectively picked in clean harvesting baskets and spread evenly on a clean floor under the shade to protect the cherries from direct sun or heat.

After all the ripe cherries have been collected, we then sort them. During sorting, we remove the under/overripe, dry, diseased berries as well as other foreign materials such as leaves and small twigs.

Step 2: Pulping.

This involves the removal of the outer red skin (pulp) of the cherry using clean water in a specialized pulping machine.

This is done on the very same day we harvest the cherries.

During pulping, we re-circulate processing water to enhance subsequent fermentation. After pulping, all the re-circulated water is disposed off and any residue in the pulping machine is flushed out with clean water.

Step 3: Fermentation and intermediate washing.

Fermentation is done to break down the mucilage (sticky or gum like matter) into simple non-sticky substances which are easily washed off from the coffee beans.

At this stage, the beans are put into fermentation tanks for at least 16 hours (depending on weather conditions) then intermediate washing after 16 hours or thereabout.

Fermentation process is deemed complete when the beans are no longer slippery upon pressing between fingers and have a somewhat firm texture.

Thereafter, the fermentation tanks are refilled with clean water, beans are stirred vigorously with rubber paddles, water is drained off and the process is repeated several times until the mucilage is fully detached from the parchment.

Parchment coffee is the part of the coffee bean that has been removed from the cherry but has not had the protective paddy peel removed.

After thoroughly washing the beans, they are pushed against a stream of water to grade them into different parchments.

Step 4: Parchment drying.

This process starts off with skin drying whereby water on the surface and in between the hull (papery layer around the coffee) and bean is removed within 2-3 hours. When the skin of the parchment is free from surface and hull moisture, the parchment is transferred to the final drying tables

At this stage, the beans are white when the parchment skin is removed. The beans continue to dry slowly and under a raised shade cover (in cases of very hot days) to avoid cracking.

As the beans continue to dry, they become soft and translucent. At this point, the beans are exposed to about 50 hours of actual sunshine to help with the formation of the final grayish-blue color of the bean.

Step 5: Milling.

This involves removing the husk from the bean (hulling), removing the silk silver skin (polishing) and sorting of defective beans.

Through milling, beans of various sizes shapes and density are easily identifiable.

Step 6: Grading.

Kenya coffee beans are graded into seven categories namely AA, AB, PB, E, C, T and TT.

Grading into these categories depends on size (screen size), shape and density.

Each category is of a different quality and has a unique taste.

Step 7: Roasting.

Roasting coffee beans is not only an art and a science but also a passion!

There is no ‘one style fits all’ answer to coffee roasting.

The roasting duration, temperature, quantity depends on individual preference and what unique characteristics of the coffee you want to accentuate.

Whether light, medium, medium-dark or dark roast largely depends on one’s palate.

To sum up…

Kenyan coffee beans never disappoint.

For many roasters, witnessing an almost no-aroma green coffee bean transform into a burst of flavor and aroma is not only satisfying but also fulfilling.

Try green coffee beans from Alovado, roast them and sip your way to happiness!