Bag of coffee beans

The Life of a Coffee Bean From Ground to Grounds

May 25, 2020

As with all the best things in life, a good cup of coffee is the result of an intensive process to create a quality bean and a delicious beverage.

1. Planting

The first step in any farming endeavor is planting. The coffee beans (which are technically seeds, not beans) are planted to grow coffee trees, which produce coffee cherries

2. Harvesting

Once the coffee trees bear fruit - which takes up to four years! - the cherries are picked once they’ve turned a shade of red similar to a ripe apple. Whether the cherries are picked by hand or with machines, like most crops the coffee cherry is harvested once per year - but some climates that are especially coffee-friendly allow for coffee to be grown almost year-round, resulting in a second crop.

3. Processing

After harvesting, the coffee cherries are then either dried right away, or processed through a pulping machine to remove the outer layer of the cherry. After this the fruits are fermented in water tanks for up to two days, with natural enzymes breaking down the outer layer of the fruit until only the bean and a thin husk remains.

4. Drying, Milling, and Export

The beans are then dried again, becoming what is called ‘parchment coffee’. The beans are then stored until they need to be exported, at which time they are processed again to remove the remaining husk on the bean; the huskless and unroasted bean is referred to as ‘green coffee’. Once ready, the beans are packed and sent to their destination.

5. Roasting

After reaching its destination and being tested for quality, the beans are roasted until they begin to turn into the sacred brown beans we all know and love. After being roasted, beans are generally considered fresh for only two weeks, after which point they begin to lose their flavor.

6. Grinding

Just before brewing the roasted beans are ground into a powder, with the level of fineness to the grind being determined by how the coffee is going to be brewed. Finer-ground coffees like espresso need much less time in contact with water, whereas long-brewed drip coffees allow for a more coarse grind.

7. Brewing

This is it, the moment we all wait for with baited breath: water is pressed through the coffee grounds to infuse it with flavor, caffeine, and to create all manner of life-affirming drinks.

The life of a coffee bean is long and complex, but if you want a simple way to remember it, coffee falls into this life cycle: seed, cherry, parchment coffee, green coffee, roast, ground, and finally: the delicious black liquid in your cup. At Ruci we make sure to provide our customers only the freshest roasts of coffee we can. After all, we’re coffee snobs too!