Some people write love letters to people, but today, we are writing it to coffee.
A LOVE LETTER TO COFFEE
by JESSICA SHERIDAN
STEPS FROM FARM TO CUP
At Stone Creek, we celebrate our love for coffee every day. Whether it’s searching for the best green beans, roasting them with love, brewing you a tasty pour-over in one of our cafes, or delivering coffee to your door, we’re a company full of Coffee Geeks who love our product each step of the way.
In order to celebrate National Coffee Day, we’re sharing with you what makes it all possible–the story of how coffee gets from the farm to your cup.
On the farm
The farm is where it all begins! It takes roughly 3 years for coffee seedlings to grow into fruiting plants that are ready for production, so growing coffee is not only a monetary investment, but also a time investment. Once fruiting, depending on where the coffee is grown, coffee can be harvested anywhere from once a year, all the way to throughout the year. It is picked when it reaches a ripe, deep red color (with the exception of non-red varietals).
At the mill
Once the coffee is harvested, it’s ready to be immediately processed at a mill. Some coffee farms have mills integrated into them, but for everyone else, the cherries need to be delivered within 24 hours of harvest for processing. There are different processing methods, including natural, honey, and washed, and also different drying methods (raised beds, patios, etc). Processing is a crucial step in the coffee production, and can either make or break how the coffee tastes in the final cup.
Offer Samples & Purchasing
After milling the coffee, it’s ready to be sampled before purchase. Coffee roasters, importers, exporters, and the like perform quality analyses on green coffees and cup (taste brewed) roasted samples before making the decision to purchase them. Samples that are selected are then prepared to ship after purchase confirmation.
Before a purchasing decision is even made, the shipping gears often start turning. We are able to directly ship our volume coffees from their origins with the help of customs brokers and shipping companies. So, once a purchase decision is made, the coffee starts moving. For the rest of the coffee we purchase, we ship from warehouses near ports throughout the United States.
Profiling & Production
The coffees we purchase at Stone Creek are delivered directly to our Factory doors! At the Factory, unless it’s getting roasted soon, the majority of our coffee is stored in our basement, which has optimal storage conditions for green coffee. Once the coffee arrives, it gets another green analysis, as well as another sample cupping in order to ensure that the product arrived in proper condition.
Once the quality is confirmed of the delivered coffee, it gets roasted several ways on our sample roaster (a Diedrich IR-1, for the curious Coffee Geeks out there). This process is called ‘profiling,’ and the idea is to manipulate different variables (i.e. gas, airflow, duration) of the roast in order to bring out different flavor profiles. Then, we cup the profiles, and decide which we like best. Since our production roaster (a Diedrich CR-60) is inherently different due to its larger volume, when we transfer the profiles to it, which is the next step, the process isn’t one for one. Rather, we use what we learned from the sample profile in order to gain insight into how it should be roasted on the production roaster. We then fine tune the profile once we have roasted it on the production roaster by repeating the process of cupping and roasting.
Finally, the coffee gets packaged, and either sent out to our cafes, our wholesale customers, or directly to your door through our eCommerce platform.
Pretty incredible to consider all that coffee goes through in order to get to the final cup, huh?
Cheers to National Coffee Day and all those that make it possible–from the pickers to the production staff to you! Click the button below to shop our coffee line and celebrate National Coffee Day properly!