What is farm to cup coffee? What’s involved in ‘processing’ coffee? Here at Hog Heaven Coffee farm, we have over 700 coffee trees which are individually pruned, fertilized and maintained by hand.
It takes approximately three years for a keiki (baby) tree to fully grow and start producing cherry. First come the flowering (small fragrant white flowers), then green beans, then red beans, called cherry, ‘cause they look like the cherry fruit (sort of). Depending on how much cherry is picked on any given day, they are processed either manually or via the ‘wet mill.’ These two processes are shown on our YouTube channel – Hog Heaven Coffee farm – so check it out!
- After each red cherry is hand-picked, they are soaked in water overnight to prepare them for pulping and to separate out the “floaters”;
- Floaters are immature or overripe cherry which rises to the top so we can scoop them out (they don’t make the cut!);
- Then we drain out the water and put them through a hand pulper that removes the outer skin and fruit;
- Out comes the seeds (coffee beans) which are covered with a slimy film called mucilage;
- They are rinsed several times to clean them which begin to remove the mucilage;
- The clean beans are then soaked in water again for 24-48 hours where natural fermentation removes the rest of the mucilage; and
- The beans are rinsed a final time and spread on racks to be dried into “parchment”.
Wet mill provides automation and efficiency to the manual way to process coffee. Our wet mill is a machine that pulps, separates out the bad cherry, removes mucilage and washes the beans which are then put on racks to dry.
Then…once the beans are on the drying racks:
- As the beans begin to dry, they’re referred to as “Parchment.” Parchment is actually an outer layer of the bean similar to the “skin” on peanuts;
- Every day we agitate the beans by hand to achieve even drying;
- Our parchment is dried by sun and wind in our greenhouse until it reaches15-16% moisture content. (This is as low as we can go naturally, in an environment that gets 150-200 inches of rain per year); and
- The parchment is then dried further (ideally to12-13% moisture content) using our mechanical dryer, then double bagged in airtight “Grain Pro” bags which are then placed in burlap bags for storage, awaiting your order.
Whew, this is a long journey from tree to cherry to parchment. But there’s more! Once we receive an order, the parchment is removed with a dry mill resulting in the “green bean” that is then freshly roasted.
It’s a lot to read through so if you want to see how it’s done, go to our YouTube channel, Hog Heaven Coffee farm.