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Information about coffee

How is coffee grown and farmed?

Coffee is grown in the high-lying regions of the equatorial belt. Over half the worlds coffee is grown in Brazil and Vietnam. South and Central America as well as Africa are also large growing regions.

What is a coffee cherry?

The coffee trees (caffea arabica and others) produce a small fruit or cherry which ripens into a red fruit. This is picked, washed and dried. During this process the flesh and mucilage is removed and we are left with a pale, green-grey seed. After grading, these are packed in jute bags and distributed via importers and exporters to commercial centres to be sold to roasters etc.

How is coffee roasted?

The most common commercial method is when raw coffee ‘beans’ are roasted in a pre-heated barrel oven. The temperatures and airflow are carefully monitored and controlled by a skilled roaster to ensure that both inner bean and outer bean development takes place. Two distinct chemical process occur during the 12-15 minutes it takes to roast a batch of coffee, the Mailard process and the caramelisation process. The roaster will monitor progress continuously and drop the roast into a cooling tray or bin as soon as the beans reach the required degree of roast. Cooling is assisted by a fan which helps stop the roasting process immediately. The beans are left to cool and to de-gas for a period of between 24 and 48 hours before packaging into foil, valved bags for shipping. The one way valves allow gasses to leave the bag but seal the beans from any external gases.  

How long does coffee stay fresh?

Coffee beans are best used within a few weeks of roasting. They will loose approximately 5-10% (very hard to measure) of their flavour each month thereafter. Once ground, coffee loses it’s flavour very quickly. We advise all coffee lovers to buy a coffee grinder for home use and, whenever available, to buy freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster. The modern bean-to-cup machines are well worth the investment and will, over time, work out far cheaper than many of the pod systems.

Must I keep my coffee in the fridge?

Freezing an unopened bag of coffee can extend it’s life. Once opened, coffee should be sealed and stored in a dark cupboard. A seal-able plastic container works well for this. Do not store opened coffee in a fridge, coffee absorbs flavours from the surrounds and a fridge is not a good place for this.

Are bulk 1 kg bags better?

They might work out a little cheaper but the coffee can get stale if you don’t use a lot. Rather buy a smaller quantity but buy more often. Again though, source freshly roasted coffee from your local roasted or:

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