We have entire sections on our website devoted to How We Roast, About Our Coffee, and our Social Responsibility, but we haven’t ever gone deep about how we source and make our coffee. So, we’re going to change that! This new blog series will take you every step of the way, from seed to cup, through how Cameron’s Coffee sources, roasts, and packages America’s best home-brewed coffee.
Step 1: Planting
Fun fact of the day: a coffee bean is actually a seed. When it isn’t dried and roasted, it can grow a coffee tree! They are generally planted in large area, or a mini nursery, and flourish in the shade. To enable the growth of the plant, they are watered frequently and are shaded until they are hearty enough to be permanently planted. Farmers will plant the coffee tree during the wet season, so that the soil remains moist while the roots become established. This leads to the long-term health of the tree.
Step 2: Harvesting the Cherries
It generally takes 3-4 years for the tree to bear fruit, or coffee cherries. When the cherry turns a bright, deep red is when it’s ready to be harvested. In most countries, there’s only one harvest and the cherries are picked by hand. All coffee is harvested one of two ways:
- Strip Picked: all of the cherries are stripped off of the branch at one time.
- Selectively Picked: only ripe cherries are harvested, and they are picked individually by hand. Pickers rotate among trees every 8-10 days.
Another fun fact – a skilled picker averages 100-200 lbs per day!
Step 3: Processing
Once cherries have been picked, farmers like to start the processing part as quickly as possible to prevent the coffee bean from spoiling. Depending on location and resources, coffee cherries can be processed in one of two ways.
- Dry Processed: Cherries are spread out to dry in the sun, and raked/turned to prevent spoiling. This can take several weeks.
- Wet Processed: Cherries are de-pulped, then soaked for 12-48 hours before drying.
We hope you learned a little bit more about how coffee is grown and harvested. Stay tuned for future blog posts that will take you further into the process!