How Raw Coffee Beans Are Processed
The best coffee beans are produced by the Arabica tree, which is commonly found in Africa and Asia. The moment
the tree is three or five years old, it starts to bear fruit that normally has two beans inside. Knowing this, one
can only imagine how many trees are needed to produce large quantities of raw coffee beans.
It takes about nine months for the cherries to completely ripen. Only the ripest and best cherries are selected
for picking. This is tedious since not all of the coffee trees mature together. Once these are all harvested, the
beans are then processed.
There are two ways of processing the harvested beans. First is the dry milling which simply involves drying the
whole cherry beans right after harvest. They are left to dry under the sun until they attain a moisture level of 10
to 12%. This process is backbreaking as it requires raking the beans several times during the day until they
are dry. When the husks become dried-up, these are hulled either manually or mechanically. This process usually
generates low quality beans.
The second and preferred method is the wet process or wet milling. The pulp or the flesh is removed from the
berries without drying them first. This leaves you with one or two seeds. These are then soaked in water for one to
two days. This fermentation stage is to further remove any residues and anything that floats is taken out as it
will not turn out good coffee.
When removed from the fermentation tanks, the beans are washed and dried under the heat of the sun. A protective
covering is laid on top of these when nightfall comes. This is to prevent moisture from seeping into the
beans. A dehydrator helps to speed things up. Drying them out in the sun releases the outer protective skin. With
the use of mechanical stirrers or hullers the last covering known as pergamino falls off and finally the beans are
polished, resulting in a clean, glossy finish.
The coffee beans are then transferred to a conveyor belt where workers await to remove any debris and are then
sorted out according to size, location and altitude of the coffee farm they were cultivated, the methods used on
them, and taste. All these contribute to giving flavor that consumers and coffee connoisseurs have come to
The instant this process is done, employees start to pack the beans according to the orders of several roasting
companies. These companies continue preparing the beans. Robusta beans are quickly shipped out to avoid
insect infestation or fungi growth that will affect the quality of the beans.
Once the raw coffee beans reach their destination, they are again cleaned and go through a mechanical screening
device to remove any leaves, sticks or other debris. Once they pass inspection, they are now ready for roasting.
All of these are accomplished to give you that quick fix you look forward to whatever time of the day.