Updated: Nov 28
The coffee production process is characterized by a series of stages that make it possible to obtain one of the most consumed beverages today. This complex process requires great dedication and experience in order to achieve exceptional and unparalleled quality. The processes begin with the research on varieties and cultivation methods carried out by the scientists of the research center.
Let's learn more about this beautiful process in depth through which the coffee beans go through until they reach our cups as a beverage, from the germination, flowering, and maturation of this fruit.
This is the first and most important stage in the production of coffee since it marks the beginning of the cycle that goes from the sowing of the seed to the growth of the plant. In this way, the history of a good Coffee begins in the nursery, where thousands of carefully selected beans are planted.
These beans are planted close to each other and covered with rich and fertile soil, and after eight weeks, the seeds germinate and the roots develop. The healthiest plants are selected and transplanted into the nursery, where they are carefully nurtured for eight months. When the shoots reach a height of about two feet, they are transplanted to the
plantation, where they are carefully cultivated.
The seed must be available eight months before the final transplanting in the field, of which two months correspond to the germination stage and six months to the seedbed. The germinator and seedbed stages of the production process require inputs that can be acquired in the area, such as guaduas or round wooden stakes, washed river sand, soil, decomposed pulp or organic matter, plastic bags, materials to provide shade in nurseries, low-toxicity pesticides, in this case, only if they are required.
The germinator consists of a box made of wood or bricks in which the seed is sown in washed river sand with permanent irrigation. Its size depends on the area to be planted and the most advisable time for its establishment is between January and September.
The purpose of the seedbed is the adequate development and selection of the seedlings for the definitive establishment of the crop. In this process, it is essential to ensure a good selection of the material.
Preparation of the soil, hole layout, and sowing. In the preparation of the land, a planting system and a layout are determined, for which simple tools and materials such as wooden stakes are used. When the production system is under shade, seeds and sprouts of guamo and plantain, mainly, are needed. During the establishment, growth, and production stages, inputs such as tools (shovels, machetes), low-toxicity pesticides (only if necessary), weed selectors for weed management, chemical fertilizers, and organic fertilizers are needed.
Considering an optimal environmental supply for the crop, a planting season must be defined. For this purpose, the climatic conditions of the region should be taken into account, since these determine the dynamics of the growth and development of the coffee plant. Within these conditions, the distribution of rainfall defines to a great extent the vegetative and reproductive cycle of the coffee plant. It also conditions the sequence of agricultural tasks.
In order to reach its largest size and flower, a coffee tree needs between three and four years. Six months later the first fruit appears. The coffee tree has unique characteristics. The fruits ripen at the same time as the flowers. Each coffee tree produces one pound (455 grams) of coffee in one year.
Coffee is harvested annually when the coffee cherries reach maturity. There are two ways or methods to harvest coffee:
-Picking: this is the process that is carried out manually and in the full maturity phase, leaving those plants that are still green.
Stripping: this process is carried out industrially, i.e. mechanically. In this case, the berries that are harvested have different degrees of ripeness, so a later check must be made of those that have not reached maturity.
Only ripe berries should be harvested in their entirety. This translates into the following advantages: increased income from the sale of a greater quantity of coffee, reduction of re-infestations of CBB, and elimination of losses of up to 10% due to uncollected fruits or fruits that fall to the ground.
Once the harvest is finished, the beans are dried using a wet or dry technique, depending on the taste we want to obtain. Subsequently, all residues are eliminated and the layers that surround the coffee beans are removed in order to obtain clean or green coffee.
Once the process is finished, the product obtained is classified according to different criteria. Pulping should be done dry, taking advantage of gravity. Studies have proven that coffee can be pulped without water, without affecting the capacity of the process and the quality of the beans. This practice avoids contamination by 72%.
-Classification: Efficient classifying of sieves that operate without water should be used for this purpose.
-Removal of mucilage: the purpose of this process is to make the mucilage that covers the parchment decompose and, once fermented, dissolves in water, eliminating it by washing. It lasts between 18 and 30 hours, depending on the climate.
The removal of mucilage can also be done mechanically when using Becolsub, eliminating the fermentation process, a favorable process for the following reasons:
- To conserve the quality of the coffee.
- To reduce the space and infrastructure used in the mill.
- To gain weight in dry matter of the bean (1.5%).
- To have more time to carry out other tasks that benefit the quality of the bean.
In this phase, the product acquires the flavor and aroma by which we recognize our cup of coffee, through the processing of the bean in ovens. Thanks to this, the size of the bean is increased, its caffeine is reduced, it loses its humidity, and acquires the typical roasted color that characterizes coffee.
We now come to the last stage of coffee production. In the case of coffee beans or ground coffee, it can be marketed directly through the grinder. Usually, this stage is carried out in the country of consumption of the coffee, by means of pre-vacuum packaging.