Seed to cup


Coffee starts life as the fruit of shrubs or small trees that grow equatorially between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. We call the fruit cherries. The cherries ripen into brilliant reds, yellows, oranges, or purples. Each cherry contains two seeds or "beans." There are over 120 species of coffee, but the two main species are Arabica and Robusta. We typically stick to Arabica. However, higher-quality robustas and less traditional coffee species like Liberica and Eugenioides exist. Arabica coffee is sweeter and more complex than Robusta but is also more challenging to grow. Arabica grows at high elevations, and the cherries ripen sporadically, requiring each cherry to be hand-picked. The cherries are processed, hand-sorted, graded, and prepared for export after harvesting. Coffee originated in Ethiopia and spread from Ethiopia across the Red Sea into Yemen in the late 15th century. Around 1690, the Dutch established a coffee estate on the Indonesian island of Java. Coffee eventually made its way to the Americas in the 18th century.


Arabica coffee spread around the world in the 1700s. It originated in Ethiopia and traveled to the rest of the world from there. Most of the current plant varieties of coffee are descendants of Typica and Bourbon. In the mid-20th century, breeders began creating new cultivars less susceptible to weather, pests, or disease, such as coffee leaf rust. There are even cultivars with lower caffeine like Laurina and Aramosa have been developed. Check out a few:

Typica: An old varietal known for balanced fruit and brown sugar flavors.
Bourbon: A Typica mutation. Known for its acidity and complex flavor
Caturra: A mutation of Bourbon, its flavor is intense and robust.
Catuai: A Mundo Novo and Caturra hybrid known for acidity and body.
Villa Sarchi: An old variety known for its cup quality and sweet, full body.
Geisha/Gesha: A variety known for its elegant floral and citrus notes.
Pacamara: A Pacas and Maragogype hybrid known for cocoa and fruit flavors.



In Natural processing the entire coffee cherry is dried in the sun before the outer layers are removed. As the cherries dry, enzymes in the mucilage break down and impart a distinctive fruit flavor to the green coffee beans inside. Natural processed coffee typically has more body and lower acidity than washed coffees and is fragrant and sweet with pronounced berry, wine, or dried fruit flavors. Natural processed coffees are commonly produced in regions with a dry climate during harvest. The method requires less water than washed processing but risks over-fermentation.

HYBRIDS - Honey, Pulped-natural, Semi-washed
Hybrid processing is somewhere between washed and natural processing. They're used to combine the best attributes of both methods. The cherries are de-pulped, removing the outer skin but leaving some amount of the fruit surrounding the seeds. The seeds are then dried on raised beds or patios. The process gets its name due to the sticky texture of the dried seeds. Hybrid process coffees go by different names depending on where the coffee is from. Here are three levels of honey processing.

  • Yellow Honey: Most of the mucilage is removed
  • Red Honey: About half of the mucilage is left on the seeds.
  • Black Honey: Most of the mucilage is left intact.

In washed or wet processing, the cherries are passed through a pulping machine to remove the outer skin and some of the fruit, leaving the seeds in the parchment skin. The pulped seeds are soaked in fermentation tanks, where naturally occurring enzymes and microorganisms break down the remaining fruit on the parchment. This typically takes 12-48 hours. The coffee is then washed to remove any remaining mucilage. The washed parchment coffee is then dried to a moisture content of 10-12% on raised beds or using mechanical driers. The parchment is then removed from the seeds with a hulling machine. Wet processed coffees have a cleaner, truer flavor profile. It's also more labor and water intensive than natural processing.

Producers are using exciting techniques to bring out wild flavors in coffee. Here are some examples of experimental coffee processing:

Anaerobic fermentation: The seeds are removed from the cherries and placed in airtight containers. These containers are sealed to create an oxygen-free environment. The seeds are then allowed to ferment naturally for a specific period. The process is driven by anaerobic microorganisms, such as yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The microorganisms break down the sugars and other compounds in the coffee, developing unique flavors like tropical fruit, berries, and even funky characteristics.

Yeast inoculation: Yeast inoculation is where producers introduce specific strains of yeast during the fermentation stage of processing to enhance the natural flavors of the coffee.

Carbonic Maceration: The coffee cherries are placed in plastic containers. The containers are purged using carbon dioxide to expel oxygen and other atmospheric gases. The containers are then sealed using lids with a one-way valve, allowing gas to escape during fermentation and preventing any from entering. In this CO2-rich environment, fermentation begins intracellularly by the action of enzymes rather than yeast or other microbes.

Lactic Process: This process uses lactic acid bacteria growth under anaerobic conditions while measuring oxygen level, sugar content, and pH. The bacteria feed on the sugar in the mucilage, generating a high concentration of lactic acid. After reaching a desired pH, the coffee is soaked in water to stop the bacteria growth and dried on raised beds.

Co-Fermented Coffee: The coffee cherries are fermented together with fruit juices or pulp. The fermentation is typically 12-48 hours. The co-fermentation process allows the fruit flavors and sugars to infuse into the coffee, resulting in a unique and exotic flavor profile. The fruit sugars can also contribute to the body and mouthfeel of the coffee, creating a more complex and multidimensional sensory experience.



The higher you go up the mountain, the more dynamic coffee tastes. Elevation plays a crucial role in determining the quality of coffee. It significantly affects the flavor, acidity, and body of a coffee. Here are the ways in which elevation contributes to the overall quality of a coffee.

Temperature and Maturation
Higher elevations have cooler temperatures, which slows the maturation process of coffee cherries. This slower maturation rate allows the beans to develop more complex flavors and higher levels of desirable compounds, such as sugars and acids. The cooler temperatures also help preserve the acidity and brightness of the coffee, contributing to a vibrant and lively flavor profile.

Bean Density 
Coffee grown at higher elevations tend to have a denser structure due to the slower maturation process and the lower atmospheric pressure. Denser beans retain more flavor and aroma compounds during roasting. The higher density also contributes to a richer body and mouthfeel.

Stress and Flavor Development 
There is more environmental stress on the coffee at higher elevations. Lower temperatures, higher UV exposure, and less oxygen can trigger the production of chemical compounds in the coffee. These compounds, like sugars, acids, and antioxidants, contribute to the complexity of the coffee.

Soil and Nutrient Availability 
The soil varies at higher elevations, influencing nutrient availability. The mineral composition of the soil impacts the flavor and aroma of the coffee

Pest and Disease Resistance 
Coffee grown at higher elevations
has a higher resistance to pests and diseases due to cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels. This reduced vulnerability results in healthier plants and better-quality coffee beans.



Coffee never gets any better than when it leaves the farm. That's why we work hard to find the world's best coffees. We forge relationships with like-minded producers and importers who share our values. When sourcing a new coffee, we look for several criteria. We start by understanding the seasons, which allows us to offer coffees at their peak potential. Next, we identify our needs: what holes we have to fill in our line-up, what volume we will require, and when we need it. Then, we communicate those needs to our contacts to see if they have options for us to consider. The producers and importers send us samples for consideration.

We roast small samples of each coffee in our sample roaster and evaluate the samples in a tasting we call cupping. We cup all of the coffee blind, meaning we don't know which ones we are tasting so we can be impartial. We start evaluating the aroma of the dry and wet grounds, which we call "the crust." After a few minutes, we scrape off the crust and taste the coffee by slurping from cupping spoons. We do this a few times to understand how the coffee flavor changes as it cools. Lastly, we reveal the coffees, compare scores and notes, and decide which coffee(s) to purchase. We taste dozens of samples before sourcing a coffee. This model celebrates the farmer and establishes relationships built on trust from the seed to your cup.



Roasting exceptional coffee requires a combination of the highest-quality green coffee beans, skilled roasting techniques, and a deep understanding of the roasting process. Dynamic flavor is not inherent in green coffee—it's latent. With that in mind, we start by sourcing the world's best green coffee. Then, we create unique profiles to unlock each coffee's maximum potential, like coaxing a cobra out of its basket. We do this by carefully controlling time and temperature to highlight the coffee's natural sweetness and character. Roasting the world's best coffee is not just a process; it's a passion. It's a combination of art and science, requiring expertise and a relentless pursuit of perfection. We work hard to continuously refine our craft, experimenting with new techniques and staying attuned to the ever-evolving coffee industry. We are stoked about these coffees and can't wait to share them with you.



When we speak about the complex flavors of coffee, we often compare it to chocolate or wine. While all of these products are delicious, with coffee, the end-user actively participates in the supply chain. You'll need the know-how to unlock the fantastic flavor locked inside the coffee. We've whipped up some handy brew guides to help you get started. Armed with these and the info on the pro tips page, you'll soon be on the path to coffee nirvana. BREW GUIDES



Scientists have identified over 900 volatile flavor compounds in coffee. So, there's a ton happening in your cup. It can be overwhelming. That's why we've added some basic flavors we taste in each coffee on our bags. They will let you know what to expect and help you pick the perfect coffee dance partner for your tongue. So check out each coffee and see what floats your boat.