Seeds of the coffee tree, that’s where it all starts...

by Jack Foster May 23, 2016

Seeds of the coffee tree, that’s where it all starts...

Coffee beans are actually seeds. Found inside the ripe red cherries of the coffee plant. If these seeds aren’t processed they can be planted and grow into a coffee tree, here we are more interested in the ones that are processed. We want them to become your favourite Crosby Coffee.

Depending on variety it can take up to 3 years for a newly planted coffee tree to bear fruit. The fruit itself named the “coffee cherry” will turn a bright red when ripe and ready for harvesting.

There are two methods for harvesting the coffee fruits, Strip picking and selective picking. Strip picking is where the entire crop is harvested in one go and selective picking as the name suggests is where only the finest, ripest berries are picked by hand.

Strip picking is often done mechanically, with the workers following behind the machinery collecting the fruits. A strip picker can collect up to 250kg of fruit per day. However the method does come with a downside. Where it may be more productive and time saving sub-standard fruit can easily pass through the sorting process, which can affect the overall crop quality.

Selective picking generally produces a better quality crop as each fruit is selected at its optimum ripeness. As this method of harvest is far more labour intensive, it is generally reserved for Arabica plantations. A selective picking worker can be expected to collect around 100kg of the coffee fruits per day.

Once the coffee fruits have been harvested, they then go on to processing. There are two primary methods of processing, the wet method and the dry method.

The dry method is the oldest, more traditional way of processing and is used frequently in countries with limited access to water. It involves leaving the whole fruits intact and laying them out to dry. The fruits are cleaned, dried and hulled before packaging.

The wet method is more favourable in the specialty coffee world as it known for producing better quality coffee. Also known as the washed method, this method is usually only employed in wealthier coffee growing regions as it requires a large amount of water and expensive machinery for cultivation. The fruits are washed, separated, pulped, fermented, rinsed and then dried.

Once the green beans are all finished drying, they are then traditionally packaged into hessian sacks, the sort you’ll see lining our walls here at Crosby Coffee. The beans then begin their magical journey through our roaster and into your cup!

See the Crosby Coffee process from start to finish!

Jack Foster
Jack Foster


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