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Coffee Cultivation Part 2

…coffee to make you smile

Coffee Cultivation

From Coffee bean to cup

Before they can be sold there are several more stages of preparation coffee beans need to be put through.

First, they have to be hulled, or polished, to remove the dried husk; exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp. While some producers skip this stage, polished beans are generally held to be of higher quality than unpolished ones.

Grading the beans

Beans are sorted by size and weight and this is usually a job best done by hand. They are checked for colour inconsistencies and other flaws and any sub-standard beans have to be removed by hand.

Another method, perhaps better suited to large-scale production is to air-sort them using an air jet to separate the light from the heavy beans and then passing the beans through screens with holes that only allow a certain size of beans to pass through.

The different grades of beans are then packaged to be sold to the markets.


Tasting, known as cupping, is carried out repeatedly to check and define its taste and quality.  Tasters can identify where the beans are from and the process involves sipping coffee over the tongue to the back of the mouth and identifying which flavours are present.

It is a process not dissimilar to wine tasting. In the case of coffee, the tasters will define the beans in terms of acidity, with high acidity equated to finer quality.  Tasters will also assess the body, mouthfeel and aftertaste.

Unroasted coffee is also known as green coffee and such beans have all the flavours locked in them waiting to be unleashed by the roasting process.


The last stage in processing the beans is to roast them so that they become the coffee beans with which people are most familiar.

Roasting, known as pyrolysis, is carried out at temperatures of approximately 550F during which time the green coffee beans are turned continuously to avoid burning. Green beans are first dried until they become yellow and develop the roasting smell.

The process can be stopped at any stage to give either light, medium or dark levels within each of which there are several further levels. The levels determine the strength and quality of flavour.

The final step is grinding the beans, usually carried out by the user in preparation to brewing whatever form of coffee they want.

…coffee to make you smile
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