Inside the World of Coffee: From Seed to Cup

By Chase Record

Coffee is a commodity know throughout the world. It either kickstarts an individual’s day or is the pinnacle of taste for the coffee lover. Regardless of the circumstance, coffee is a process that is intricate, time consuming, and laboriously driven.


 PT's Coffee Roasting Co.

PT's Coffee Roasting Co.

The roasted coffee bean you see in a shop actually begins as a small seed inside a cherry. Planting of these seeds often takes place during the wet season and they are watered frequently to keep the roots moist and to allow the roots to become embedded deeply into the soil. It takes approximately three to four years for the plant to bear fruit that can be harvested and processed. When ripe, the coffee cherry will display a brilliant shade of red.

The Harvest

The harvest process is one full of labor-intensive days that involve mostly hand picking the beans. Exceptions are places like the flatlands of Brazil in which the land allows for mechanized harvesting to some degree. Most hand pickers are paid by the pound and average 100-200 pounds of cherries per day (roughly twenty to forty pounds of coffee beans). After harvesting, the coffee is transported to the processing plant where the coffee will usually be dried, sorted, and packaged.

The fresh coffee beans, known as “green coffee” because of its green appearance, are then shipped throughout the world to be roasted to perfection. Approximately fourteen billion pounds of green coffee is produced worldwide each year.


 Onyx Coffee Lab

Onyx Coffee Lab

Roasting turns the green coffee into the wonderful aromatic brown beans that are purchased in stores. Throughout the entire process of roasting, the roaster maintains a temperature of roughly 550°F until the beans reach an internal temperature of 400°F. At this point the coffee begins to turn brown and the oils inside the bean begin to loom. This process is called pyrolysis. After roasting, the coffee goes through the tasting process in which hours upon hours are spent cupping the coffees determining what flavors and characteristics each coffee carries, which can lead to different roasting profiles for coffees to achieve the best overall flavor.

The Cup

The roasted coffee is then bagged and distributed to stores and consumers. Many brewing methods including drip brewing, pour over, chemex, french press, and espresso to bring the hard work to fruition in the form of the beautiful black gold that is served in a cup. Coffee is something we can all share and it truly does bring people together. The delicious drink makes for one heck of a pass time and just proves that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.