There is a revolution underway, and it involves coffee – but not just any coffee. Specialty coffee is flooding the industry, and although the process – from plant to cup – has been a mystery to so many enthusiasts, we’re going to deconstruct that mystery a little by examining the incredible journey of the coffee bean.
We tend to take a lot for granted when we’re consuming our first, steaming cup of coffee in the morning – or by the same token – when we’re savouring that aromatic after-dinner espresso. These cherished beverages are the result of an extremely lengthy process that involves many environments and landscapes, stages, and expert participants. There were farmers, pickers, producers, cuppers, and shippers responsible for getting that cup of coffee to you, the purchaser.
Your beverage started out as a seedling in a nursery, before being sent to plantations in Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua and more – usually, locations that receive an abundance of sunshine – a vital requirement of the coffee plant. Once the plants have matured – usually 3 to 4 years – the red coffee cherries (known as varietals) are picked, sometimes by a machine but most often by hand. After being harvested, the cherries must be dried (frequently outdoors, in large flat batches) in order to remove the green coffee bean inside. Now that the beans have been exposed, husked, dried and sorted as to the quality, they are ready for export and roasting.
This is the point where buyers/roasters will get involved, choosing products according to their own particular set of standards. This is also where “house” blends are created. The roasting is typically done at 550 degrees, with the delicate beans being consistently moved around to avoid burning. This step of the coffee bean journey can engage everything from large factories to small specialty roasters that are able to create an intense flavour profile due to small batch production.
Once the roasting process is complete, packing is introduced. At this point, the beans will either be ground and sold as such or packed as whole beans to be ground by the consumer. Specialty bags are an important part of the packaging and critical to locking in freshness. A date stamp advises the consumer as to when the product was packed, and the only decision left is “to grind, or not?” The consensus, however, is that grinding the beans just prior to brewing will always deliver the most flavourful cup of coffee.
All that remains is to determine the coffee system that will produce the beverage. Enter the espresso / coffee machine, and the wide range of suppliers that are the interface between the beginning of the coffee bean’s journey, and you, the consumer. In business since 1998, Quality Coffee Systems has been riding the west coast coffee wave since the beginning, in the process establishing itself as a premium outlet for both commercial and residential espresso machines. As an authorized representative for Swiss, French and German brands including Schaerer, Conti and Jura, we are proud to represent these leading global manufacturers of cutting-edge coffee systems.
QCS is all things coffee – drop by our showroom or reach out to see what we mean.
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