Coffee production steps: navigating the journey from bean to cup

Updated on March 31, 2022
In this article
In this article

Understanding the journey of coffee production

A cup of coffee is much more than a morning ritual or an energy boost. It’s the result of a complex journey that few truly appreciate. Each sip you take is a testament to this complex process – a process often overlooked in the rush of daily life. Brands seeking to source quality coffee must understand the intricate steps of coffee production.

It’s not just about knowing where the coffee comes from, but about appreciating the expertise, care, and time invested at each stage of coffee production. It’s about understanding the balance between nature and human effort that gives us this beloved beverage.

How is coffee made? Let’s dive into the fascinating steps of coffee production to reveal the story hidden within each coffee bean.

1. Planting

The life of coffee begins as a seed. These seeds are carefully planted in large, shaded nursery beds to protect them from harsh sunlight. Watered frequently, the seeds eventually sprout into young coffee seedlings. After a year or so, when they’ve grown robust enough, they are transferred to coffee plantations. Here, they mature into coffee-bearing plants under the watchful eyes of experienced cultivators.

2. Harvesting

The second stage is harvesting. Ripe coffee cherries are usually a deep, bright red and ready for picking. Skilled harvesters go through the plantations, carefully handpicking each ripe cherry to ensure only the best go forward. This labor-intensive process is essential in maintaining the high quality that consumers seek.

Harvesting methods in coffee production vary, influenced heavily by the landscape of the plantations. In terrains with hilly contours or high altitudes, like those found in most coffee-growing regions, handpicking is the norm. It ensures precision, collecting only the ripest cherries. However, in flatter landscapes, such as those in Brazil, modern technologies are deployed for harvesting. These machines streamline the process, significantly enhancing productivity while maintaining quality.

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Harvested coffee cherries

3. Processing

After the cherries are harvested, they undergo processing. There are two primary methods: dry and wet. In dry processing, cherries are spread out in the sun to dry. This can take several weeks and requires constant vigilance to prevent spoilage.

In contrast, wet processing means getting rid of the cherry’s pulp first and then letting it dry. This way, the coffee often ends up tasting sharper and cleaner.

4. Drying and milling

Once the cherries are processed, the resulting coffee beans are dried. This stage can take up to several weeks, during which the beans are constantly turned and monitored to ensure even drying.

Next, the dried coffee beans are milled. This involves removing the remaining dried husk and polishing the beans. What remains are green coffee beans, ready for roasting.

5. Quality testing

Before roasting, the coffee beans go through a quality check. This is to make sure only the top beans get picked. First, the beans get a good look over. The experts check out their size, color, and for any bad spots. Next, they give them a taste test. They’re checking for the right flavor, feel, sharpness, sweetness, and aftertaste. This quality check makes sure only the best beans go on to get roasted.

6. Roasting

Roasting is the heart of the coffee-making process. Here, the green coffee beans transform into the richly brown, aromatic beans we all know and love. This transformation happens under high temperatures, and master roasters must meticulously control the process to achieve the desired roast level, which determines the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

7. Packaging

Once the coffee beans have been perfectly roasted, they’re all set for packaging. But, the process doesn’t stop there. As the beans start to cool down, they naturally release carbon dioxide, a gas that needs a way out.

Now, you might wonder, what happens when the beans are bagged and sealed? Well, the carbon dioxide continues to escape from the beans for quite a while, even when they’re in the packaging. This could potentially inflate and rupture a sealed package.

Coffee producers have come up with a clever solution for this. If you take a close look at a bag of coffee, you’ll often spot a small, one-way valve. This little component plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality of the coffee inside.

Simplifying global coffee sourcing for brands

Selecting the right manufacturers for coffee production can be a challenging task for brands. Wonnda makes this process easier. Our digital platform connects brands with reputable manufacturers globally, simplifying and expediting the sourcing process.

Understanding how is coffee made provides brands with an insight into the effort and expertise that goes into creating every cup. By utilizing Wonnda’s network, brands can ensure a seamless and quality journey from bean to cup, enhancing their commitment to offering excellent coffee.

Create your next product line with Wonnda

Our platform lets you source, launch, and scale your product line with over 250 trusted European suppliers. So whether you’re looking to request products from our private label catalog of over 1,500 items or develop custom products from scratch, Wonnda has everything you need to get started. Best of all, it’s free to start today!

Set up your account in less than 3 minutes and begin your journey with Wonnda. Unlock endless possibilities for your business, bring new products to market and streamline your sourcing process from idea to launch on one single platform.

About the author
Alice Pegorin
Alice Pegorin is a talented writer and a world-citizen who was born and raised in Brazil. In 2019, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal to pursue a BSc in Marketing and Advertising at IADE-UE. Following her passion for business management, Alice moved to Berlin, Germany in 2022 for her Erasmus semester at UE-Germany, where she completed her studies. Alice is a curious and open-minded individual who adapts easily to any environment. She enjoys exploring new cultures and experiences, and is always eager to learn. Currently based in Berlin, Alice travels to Portugal from time to time to visit friends. Her passion for writing and business management makes her an invaluable member of our team at Wonnda, and we're thrilled to have her on board.
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