Fresh Coffee

See the update at bottom

There’s a continuing conversation among the circle of friends regarding coffee – home roasted, in particular. I’ve taken it to the next level and grow coffee at home and today was harvest day. I live in the Seattle area and coffee trees won’t survive outside all year, so my trees are indoors most of the year. And the yield is light to non-existent, but we do get 2 crops per year on average. This harvest was 24 beans about half of which are peaberrys. A peaberry is a single bean – normal beans come two in a cherry. Peaberry beans tend to taste better though, and command a premium price.

So here are the picked beans going through the post-harvest cycle.

Fresh picked cherries
Fresh picked cherries

The cherries are plump, firm, and a warm red color when ready to harvest.

Cherry hulls
Cherry hulls

This is what is left after the beans and mucilage are removed. This can be recycled.

Fermenting beans with mucilage
Fermenting beans with mucilage

The beans soak in water for the better part of a day. This allows natural processes to separate the mucilage from the bean. Not everyone does it this way – you can dry the beans in the mucilage but you get a better product by separating them before drying. Either way you have to remove the mucilage before roasting.

Update: It’s two days later and the fermenting is ended and the mucilage has been removed and the beans are now very dry. In the next image you can see the remaining endocarp, or parchment that still encloses the beans. In some cases this is split as seen. The parchment is removed and finally we see the actual product. A thin layer remains and is cooked away as chaff during roasting. Nature has done a good job of protecting this little jewel.

Dried beans in parchment
Dried beans in parchment

TaDA! A bean with parchment removed.

Bean with parchment removed
Bean with parchment removed

Update March 2, 2014

Today was roast day for the home-grown beans and the kitchen is swathed with the aroma of fresh hot coffee bean smoke. I had enough beans for two cups of home grown Joe and one is steaming next to my keyboard now. I have to say, it is delicious and far far better than I expected 8 years ago when I planted the first tree. This is the first cup after all that time – what the hell’s the rush! It is also the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my life.


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