For this month’s class, we kicked off a new series of classes called Seed to Cup! In this series, we’ll explore how we get from coffea arabica to your morning pour over or Blood Orange Latte. Today we covered the ins and outs of the coffee plant, examined some common varieties of coffee, and debated the merits of Washed vs. Sun-Dried Coffee.
Coffee is a Fruit
Coffee is a flowering fruit tree, typically grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, near the equator. The roasted bean that we grind and drink is the seed found inside the fruit of this tree. The trees take years to mature enough to produce fruit and even then only produce a couple of pounds.
This cherry-like fruit has been cultivated in areas of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America for hundreds of years, first found in Ethiopia well before the 10th Century and then carried around the world throughout the 1700s and beyond. Learn more about coffee farming here.
Coffee is Diverse
Not only have coffee trees been cultivated in places all over the world, but as they’ve been moved and cared for, they’ve also been bred to become more resilient and yield more fruit!
From Heirloom varieties like the Geisha of Panama to the French Mission Bourbon, coffee trees, cherries, and seeds, take on all sorts of different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Thanks to great diversity of coffee varieties and the growth of specialty coffee, research is being done over at World Coffee Research to provide producers with valuable information about what varieties might work best in new environments or places which have historically only grown one or two varieties.
Coffee is a Business
For our tasting, we compared KLLR Coffee’s Washed and Sun-Dried Ethiopia to discuss how the process of removing the fruit of the coffee cherry from the seed can drastically impact flavor of the coffee and the profitability of the producer. While washed-processed coffees can be more consistent and can be better protected against natural disasters that could ruin a crop, they also require large amounts of water that can be too costly for some co-ops or producers to use. Sun-Dried coffees are memorable and give producers are more economical way to process their coffees. However, the process is entirely dependent on unknown variables like the weather and time to be successful.
We host these classes each month as a way to share information and coffee with anyone who’s interested. Sign up at the bottom of the page here to subscribe to our newsletter, or reach out to us in the Contact Form with a question or idea for a class!