SEED TO CUP
There are two main species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. We stick to the higher quality Arabica beans. Great Arabica grows equatorially, between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, starting around 800 meters above sea level. We source from Africa, Latin America, and Oceania, where coffee cherries are hand-picked and processed before they come to us to be roasted, ground, and brewed to perfection.
High-altitude coffees tend to taste more dynamic. This has a lot to do with temperature. Low-grown coffees see more heat and less cloud cover, so they ripen faster. Coffees grown at higher altitudes see more varied temperatures and sporadic cloud coverage; they have to fight to survive. This slow, tenuous ripening often makes for some wild tasting notes.
The best coffee is harvested at the peak of ripeness when the cherries display brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. After picking, the seed must be removed from the fruit by one of three processes: natural, hybrid, or washed.
• NATURAL (Dry): It is the oldest method of processing coffee where the fruit is spread out on patios or raised tables and allowed to dry in the sun. The coffee is turned regularly to avoid mold, fermentation, and rot. The fruit dries around the seeds, forming a raisin-like husk that is then removed mechanically. These coffees typically display a muted acidity, pronounced fruit notes, and a rounded body. This process imparts a lot of flavor to the cup, but lower quality naturals can be a little funky.
• HYBRIDS (Honey, Pulped-Natural, Semi-Washed):
The fruit is run through a mill, removing the seed’s skin and pulp. The beans are then allowed to dry with varying portions of a membrane called “mucilage” intact. The result is coffee with a sweet and juicy body, gentle fruit notes, and a nice balanced acidity. The honey process has several degrees ranging from most mucilage to least: black honey, red honey, yellow honey. These terms and meanings differ from mill to mill - so check out our roaster's notes section of our offerings for all the details.
• WASHED (Wet): The fruit is run through a machine called a depulper to remove the skin and pulp and then the seeds are placed in a clean tank to be fermented and washed removing the mucilage from the coffee. This preparation results in brighter coffee with a crisp, structured acidity and a silky body. Washed coffees present cups that are true representations of the origin.
Roasting is the process of cooking the seed of the coffee cherry so it’s porous enough to be ground and brewed. Initially, green coffee absorbs heat endothermically, but as it cooks it loses mass and moisture until the heat reaches the core of the seed causing it to go exothermic. The water at the center of each bean vaporizes and the cell walls breakdown as the seeds expand rapidly resulting in a popping sound know as the "first crack". Each coffee gets to the first crack a little differently, so the first thing we do with a new coffee is develop a roast profile. In the first few batches, we work out the ideal: charge temperature, batch size, airflow, heat application, and development time to achieve the maximum flavor before it goes into production and out to our customers.