WHERE DOES MY COFFEE COME FROM?
Follow the journey from seed to Springfield, Missouri.
It starts on a tree.
- Coffee grows on trees! The coffee bean is technically the seed of what is called a coffee cherry, a fruit with mildly sweet flavor. It takes 3-4 years for a newly planted tree to bear fruit.
- There are hundreds of different varieties of tree, all of which produce different flavor profiles.
- The best coffee grows in ‘the coffee belt’ – a strip of the world near the equator. Coffee could grow in Springfield, but because of our poor conditions, the coffee typically tastes terrible.
- Mild climates and high elevation are its best conditions, which means it thrives in countries like Brazil, Guatemala, and Columbia.
When the fruit has grown.
- There are two ways coffee is harvested: strip picking or selective picking. Many arabica coffees are selective picked, which means that only the ripe cherries are produced.
- Many of our coffees are harvested by smallholder farms. These individual families bring their harvest to local coffee processing facilities. Here, the coffee is de-pulped, which means the surrounding cherry is removed from the coffee and cleaned.
- Many of the leading supermarket brands purchase the cheapest coffee lots from across the world. This coffee could be deformed, unripe, or otherwise poor quality.
- By comparison, higher quality, hand-picked, one-country coffee is something brands display. These are single origin coffees.
- Most coffee companies work with a provider. These are boots-on-the-ground individuals working with coffee farmers across the world. Some are looking for the best deal. Others are seeking to do good.
- Our coffee is provided from importers such Cafe Imports or Anthem. These importers make it their quest to provide fair wages and excellent coffee to US markets. We trust and select coffees from these sources.
- Once coffee arrives to its location, it is roasted. This is when the coffee turns from a light green to its typical dark brown. Beans are brought to high temperatures, and each individual coffee has a unique, optimal roasting time.
- To some coffee companies, the differences in coffee are a downfall. Therefore, they will burn all the coffee so it becomes the same, consistent, bitter flavor.
- Coffee doesn’t have to be burnt! Artisanal coffee roasters see the varieties of coffee as a benefit, and roast each coffee as its own small batch.
- Coffee roasting is like carpentry: it’s a trade that takes a long time to learn. Equip’s coffee roaster has been in the Springfield coffee industry over a decade.
- Coffee is best when consumed within a month of being roasted, and when it is ground right before being consumed.
- Test – when your coffee hits hot water for the first time, see how many bubbles it releases and if it expands. Fresh coffee is still releasing Co2 from the roasting process and bubbles up, turning a warm beige color – this is sometimes referred to as a bloom. If your coffee is stale, it won’t produce any bubbles, and will in fact ‘sink’ when it reacts to hot water instead of ‘expand.’
- Because coffee is shelf-stable, the ‘best by’ date on coffee bags could be up to a year after it is ground.
- Much of the coffee in the supermarket sits in warehouses & on shelves for 3 months – year before it arrives to your home. (Go ahead – experiment and look at that ‘best by’ date next time you’re at the supermarket and count back a year.)
- Most people don’t realize they’ve been drinking stale coffee until they try the real thing! (If you’d like to try an adventurous, fresh Sampler Box, here’s the link.)