The 4 stages in the journey of a coffee bean.

by Nick (Coffee Detective)
(Montreal)

Two beans, just out of the coffee cherry..

Two beans, just out of the coffee cherry..

Two beans, just out of the coffee cherry..
The coffee bean at the wet parchment stage.
Green coffee beans, ready for shipping.
Roasted coffee beans, ready for grinding and brewing.

These are photos I took on my trip to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica earlier this year.


The first photo shows two beans fresh from the coffee cherry. Most cherries contain two coffee beans which are, of course, the seeds of the coffee tree. Occasionally you’ll find a cherry with just one bean. These are called Peaberry coffee beans.

Once the cherries have been picked, and the flesh removed, the coffee beans are described as "wet parchment". This is what you see in the second photo.

The wet parchment beans are spread out on huge concrete terraces to dry. This process takes several days.

Once the parchment is dry the beans are put through a mill which rubs the parchment off the beans. In fact, there are two layers of parchment that need taking off...the outer parchment and an inner layer, called the silverskin.

Once that is done you are left with the green coffee beans, which you can see in the third photo.

The green coffee beans are graded and then put into sacks, ready for transportation to coffee-drinking countries around the world. It is the fact that the green bean is so stable that allows for coffee to be stored, shipped and enjoyed throughout the world.

The final stage in the journey of the coffee bean is roasting. It is the roasting process that transforms the green bean into the brown coffee beans we all recognize in photo number four above.

As you might imagine, a huge amount of work goes into the picking and processing of coffee beans through these four stages.

So next time you drink your favorite brew, give a thought to all the effort and expertise that went into bringing your coffee from the tree to your cup.

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