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What makes a great cup of coffee

by Michael Gombart, 25 August

What makes a great cup of coffee

We all love a good cup of coffee; what defines a good cup of coffee is very individual and wrapped in personal tastes and preferences. But what are the steps in the process, and how does this create the desired cup of coffee?
Getting to a great cup of coffee can be broken down into six stages.

Growing:

First, a suitable location for farming is required. The preferred region for growing coffee plants (Arabica or Robusta) is around the equator. This is due to the ideal climate created by heat and humidity. Another important consideration is the altitude; coffee plants such as Arabica prefer to be grown in regions over 1000m above sea level.

Processing the harvested coffee cherries:

Once the coffee plants are established, they will start to bear cherries. Once the cherries are ripe for harvest, the processing can begin. First, it starts with either handpicking the cherries from the plants or using a mechanical process. Once the cherries are collected and any unripe cherries that made it through the harvesting are removed, the second step can begin. That is to get the coffee bean or pit out of the cherry. This step has a significant impact on the tones or tastes of the bean as well as its quality. Three primary processes are used to remove the flesh, also known as mucilage surrounding the coffee bean.

Coffee Cherry
The journey to a cup of coffee starts with the cherries

Washed:

The Cherries are pulled through a machine, which pulls off the skin and most of the flesh around the bean. However, the beans will still have a layer of mucilage surrounding the coffee bean. They are placed in a trough of water where they will ferment to remove the remaining layer of mucilage. During this part, the bad beans will float to the surface and can be removed. The beans are then dried. This could be sun-dried or mechanical drying. This process gives the coffee producer more control over quantity, defects and less chance of spoiled beans.

Natural:

The whole cherry is dried with skin and fruit intact in the natural process, also known as dry-processed coffee. This process generally has a long drying time. It is very labour intensive as constant attention, raking and turning are required to avoid mould and over maturing or fermenting, leading to a sour or off taste.

Coffee cherry to coffee bean

Honey Process:

Honey, in the name, refers to the soft and gluey flesh or mucilage surrounding the bean. This process involves removing a certain amount of mucilage from the cherry while still leaving a bit surrounding the bean. Aside from this base factor, the drying time, the specific amount of mucilage and the period of rotation of the drying beans will determine the exact type of honey process.

Green beans and trading:

After the steps above, the result is known as a green bean due to its greenish colour. However, depending on the processing method used, it could also have a yellow hue. This is the term for unroasted coffee and the name used for the coffee bean for trading purposes. Coffee beans are a commodity traded in futures on the inter-continental exchange and in USD. This price is known as the C-Price. The C-Price then in turn determines the sale price of green beans. Roasteries then usually buy green beans from importers who, in turn, purchase large volumes from coffee bean farmers across many countries. They then store the beans and sell them to roasters either on the spot or pass on beans bought as future sales (Pre-bought green beans before the harvest was completed).

Blending:

This is the term for bringing together beans from different regions or processes to develop the desired flavour profile. It can also help develop a consistent flavour profile. Almost all coffee is a blend of multiple farms from a specific region, country, or countries. Cuco offers three signature coffee bean blends, our Signature, Cafe and Premium blend.

Roasting:

One of the most essential steps in getting to a cup of coffee. It is possible to have great green beans, but a bad roast can spoil the result. So roasting is done by heating the beans. Each roastery will have its own flavour, roast colour and quality goal. As the roasting process progresses, the green bean slowly becomes the dark or light (Depending on roast) bean we all identify as a coffee bean.

coffee roasting

Extraction and the perfect cup of coffee:

The final step in getting a great cup of coffee is extraction. First, the whole roasted bean is ground to the correct size depending on the extraction method, such as an espresso machine, French press, Aeropress or drip method. Then through the chosen means of extraction, an espresso or tall black coffee is created.

We are here to help you choose the best commercial coffee machine.

 

Want great coffee in your office?

Cuco Coffee has a range of bean-to-cup coffee machines to suit every office. Bringing café-style coffee, using our hand-roasted coffee beans, proudly roasted in Ireland, to offices in Dublin and Cork.

To book a free trial or for more information on a great cup of coffee for you office, why not contact us at Cuco Coffee.

bean to cup coffee machines

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