CAFE2U BLOG

Bean to cup journey by Bewley's (the Cafe2U coffee roaster) Part 3

Saturday, July 02, 2016


Transportation

Green coffee is generally delivered to the our roastery in 60-70kg sacks, although these now often utilise ‘grain-pro’ liners inside as additional protection.
For very large roasteries, bulk commercial coffee can be delivered in 1 tonne ‘big bags’ or even lined containers. At the other end of the scale, particular coffees may come in vacuum packed bags inside boxes for maximum protection.

Roasting
Roasting allows us to really get the best from our beans.
Our philosophy is to treat each variety of bean differently, working to vary the intensity of the roast to find the sweet spot of optimum flavour and aroma. It might be that a coffee requires a longer roasting to balance the acidity and coax out the complexity, or it might be that the roast is much shorter so as not to mask the delicate floral and fruity notes. Either way, we treat the process like the art it is.
We use two trusty Probat drum roasters, along with our Loring Smart roaster giving us great flexibility across batch size and roast profile, ultimately getting the best from each coffee. The Loring Smart roaster, is actually a particularly clever piece of kit that utilises a single burner for both the convective roasting of the coffee and also for the afterburning. A ‘hybrid’ drum and air roaster with advanced software, it uses much less gas than traditional format drum roasters and is noted for a particularly clean taste.
Key to developing flavour are the Maillard (caramelisation) and browning reactions. A typical roasts will finish above 200⁰ after 10-15mins roasting time.
During roasting the coffee will experience ‘cracks’, the 1st crack being an audible pop as the bean expands due to internal pressure. The 2nd softer crack may not occur at all in lighter/medium roasts.
After roasting the coffee has taken on the familiar brown colour, grown in size and if roasted darker may also exhibit some surface oils.

Resting/Storage

Espresso is best left to de-gas for a period of at least a week prior to use as the gasses can affect both extraction and flavour.
Typically use within 4 weeks after roasting for best flavour, although use of protective atmospheres – typically inert nitrogen - at time of packing can extend this dramatically (although once opened this protection is lost).
Best storage conditions are:
- Airtight;
- Dry;
- Cool.


Quite a journey, but hey, it’s just coffee……right?


Bean to cup journey by Bewley's (the Cafe2U coffee roaster) Part 2

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Sorting & Grading 
Cherries are dropped into water channels where mature cherries sink and immature, less dense cherries stay at the surface. These ‘floaters’ are separated.
After drying, coffee is typically sorted by screen sizing & density and then other levels of sorting can be applied.
Electronic optical colour sorting, a high speed camera matches colour of green coffee and ejects irregular beans. In some cases, UV light optical sorting is also applied to detect phenolic and other defects. 
Finally, workers may spend many hours manually sorting chipped, broken of irregular beans.
The physical area i.e. a single plot, ‘micro farm’ or tablon. This can include general selections by altitude such as ‘SHB/SHG - strictly hard Bean or strictly high grown.
By size: Screen number – for example 14/15  or 17/18, AA, AB or name ‘Excelso’ or ‘Supremo’.
Micro-lots
The coffee on a farm can be separated by numerous variables into ‘micro-lots’, special picks or selections. Common micro-lot separations included:
- Small plots of land;
- By plant varietal: Such as Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai etc.
- By process; Washed through to natural with many variations in between.

Processing 

Processing is simply the removal of the cherry fruit/flesh from the underlying seed. There are 3 main process, although many variation on each:
- Natural/Dry Process: Coffee dried in the cherry for longer periods, often picking up fruit tastes and sweetness of the coffee fruit, but can lead to over-fermented tastes or dirty flavours if done incorrectly; 


- Washed/Wet Process: Coffee immediately de-pulped then any remaining fruit (mucilage) is either ‘scrubbed’ mechanically or more commonly loosened over a period of 12-24 hours via a process of controlled fermentation. Coffee then washed and dried in parchment before milling.


- Semi-Washed/Honey/pulped natural: A hybrid method, where only the skins, but not all mucilage (Sp: miel or honey) removed from the cherry. Coffee then left to dry similarly to washed coffee. Various levels of mucilage can be left on, and along with frequency of turning, depth of coffee on drying bed and numreours other factour can influence the character and classification of yellow, red, black or any other name for the honey process.

Milling
Once dried down to 11-12%, the coffee still in parchment is left in repository for a few weeks to even out moisture and ‘rest’.
From there it will go the dry mill to have the parchment or ‘pergamino’ removed and be bagged (or vac packed) for shipping.
Shipping is typically containerised, with around 20 tonnes of coffee in one 40ft container.
The container is lined with paper and moisture absorbent material to prevent moisture accumulation and risks of mold and spoilage.

Next time: Part 3 will focus on Transportation, Roasting and Resting.


Bean to cup journey by Bewley's (the Cafe2U coffee roaster) Part 1

Monday, June 06, 2016


Introduction
The coffee that finishes in your Cafe2U cup has been on quite a journey to get there. We want to give you the knowledge to share that journey in the best possible way, by delivering great coffee that you love again and again. 
Our part comes in trekking around the globe, striving to discover ever more delicious beans, grown in ever more inventive ways, in ever more exotic climes.
And when we find one we love, we’ll make an effort to get to know the grower, learn about their farm and staff, plant stock, processing and milling provision. To get all the parts in place to get the best coffee to you.
If they share our commitment to quality, consistency and fair business, we’ll strike up a trade and stick by them through thick and thin.

The plant
Genus Coffea i.e. coffee has many sub species, but predominantly only coffea Arabica and coffea Canefora (robusta) are grown for consumption. It is the seed of the fruit that we will eventually roast, grind and brew. 
Coffee grows on a tree, although pruning and different varietals often mean they look more like bushes and requires good agronomy, care and attention from its seeding, to the two-three years till it bears fruit, and throughout its twenty year or so lifespan.

Environment
Coffee grows between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Known as the ‘Coffee Belt’. The right combination of sunlight, consistent rain patterns rain and altitude give the conditions for coffee to thrive.
Coffee is a tropical fruit, requiring adequate sun exposure, tempered with the cooling effects of altitude and often shade coverage to get the best in-cup results.
It can be intercropped, it is not uncommon to see other fruits or shade trees, indeed the presence of shade can lead to conditions that that slow the maturation of the cherries and improve the flavour, as well as a healthier local eco-system.

Harvesting
Harvesting is the act of picking the cherries from the trees. Coffee ripens at different rates, even on the same branch, so hand picking will involve many passes over the harvest period and great skill is needed. Strip picking and mechanical harvesting can also be used in larger farms and sorting of all ripeness will occur post picking.

Next time: Part 2 will focus on Sorting & Grading, Processing and Milling.