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Coffee is so highly complex that there’s an entire science to it that spans the growing process, the roasting, the blending and the brewing. Coffee specialization demands a multidisciplinary approach that includes many fields.
It begins with the coffee plant and the growing process, the location, altitude and weather, the soil, its fertilization and cultivation. The “bean” is actually the seed or pit inside the fruit of the plant or “tree” — the coffee cherry. And to turn it into a coffee “bean,” the ripe coffee cherry must first be harvested, then separated from unripe and overripe coffee cherries, then pulped to remove the beans or seeds from the cherries.
Next it is fermented to remove mucilage left from the fruit. Then the beans are dried to a particular moisture content (usually 11 to 12%) on drying patios and in mechanical dryers.
After drying, the beans are sorted in three stages to eliminate broken, undeveloped or otherwise defective beans and separate the light and less dense coffee beans from the denser, high quality beans. In addition to density sorting, the beans are separated by size and then may be color sorted before being bagged in burlap and stored in a cool, dry place prior to export.