Enjoying the Process — Coffee from Farm to Cup

Published on: 5/15/18

A process. Put simply, a process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. We perform processes, we teach processes, we go through processes and we may even say we are “in process”.

Methods, systems, and steps to an end goal are all a part of our live’s circumstances. These may be noticed or unnoticed. But sometimes, there are processes that capture our attention and spark our curiosity, like the journey of coffee from farm to cup.

This process has truly captured my attention as I have worked here at Indie Coffee Roasters. There are many processes within this journey and technically several steps within each process. While the journey may be overwhelming, the joys along the way make the process worth it.

The first step is the seed being planted to grow a coffee tree. Coffee trees grow in about 70 countries that offer suitable climates and altitude. It’s amazing to think that when these trees are cultivated it can take 3 to 5 years for them to flower and produce the wonderful fruit, known as coffee cherries. These beautiful ripened cherries are then harvested (hand or machine picked) by the farmers in one of three ways — wet processed, dry processed, or honey processed. This part of the journey can take up to 2 months! 

Upon leaving the coffee plantation, the beans are now in the hands of the exporters and importers. Roasters are close in line at this part of the journey and roasting involves great care and proper equipment. After the coffee is roasted, the flavors of each bean are tasted and accessed. Coffee tasting or traditional “cupping” is an industry wide practice.

Coffee has an amazing range of complex aromas and flavors. It takes time to develop a palette and learn how to identify these flavor notes.

We have recently started hosting public cuppings at Indie Coffee Roasters each month, providing a space for everyone to come and practice together.

The last piece of the journey is the brewing. Each brewing method has numerous steps involved, all of which can affect the flavor of the coffee. Some basic things include the amount of coffee used, the way the coffee is ground, the amount of water used (ratio is important), the temperature to the water, how the water is filtered, the time it takes to brew the coffee, how long off roast the coffee is, how the coffee is stored, among other things. In the shop we strive to eliminate as many factors as possible to ensure the highest quality.

One of my favorite ways to brew coffee is using our Stagg Dripper X. This pour over brewing method involves grinding the amount of coffee needed for each cup and using a kettle to pour the water over the ground coffee. We use a scale to keep track of our ratios and the time it takes to brew. This process within the journey brings out the flavor notes of the three beans we are currently offering and presents a balanced cup.

Overall, what an incredible journey! I am consistently humbled by how much more there is to learn about coffee. I started working at ICR in December and it’s been a privilege and honor to work alongside this team as we learn and grow together. But for me, learning about the journey of coffee allows me to reflect on my own journey and the processes I’ve formed.

In any process, not unlike the coffee process, there are skills involved, methodical steps and even waiting. I have learned I am not always patient when I am in the midst of particular circumstances. But I am challenged by those around me to find great joy along the way. Instead of rushing through the small or large steps of the process, I believe the coffee journey serves as an example for me to learn to do one step at a time.

So if you are looking for a place to enjoy the journey, everyone is welcome to join the process one cup and one conversation at a time

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