☕ Coffee Journey - Green Beans

Welcome back to my Coffee Journey, this is G for Green Beans.

Green Beans in Starbucks Talk are new partners (employees) who need to be trained.

And of course, Green Beans are literally Green Beans, as in Coffee Beans. Coffee Beans are the seeds inside the coffee plant's cherry.

Let's have a closer look at how these cherries are grown and processed:

New coffee plants grow in germinators, which provide protection and nutrients for their initial development. Young seeds take about 60 days to sprout.

After two months, seedlings are planted into plastic bags filled with soil, and are kept in shadowed nurseries. They will stay there for about six months, after which the grown plants are transplanted to their final place on the farm. Plants are 1 - 1.5 meters (3 - 5 feet) apart. 

Cultivation requires weeding, fertilising, plague and disease control.

Years of applying acidic fertilizers in conjunction with leaching, may cause low pH, reducing the microbial activity that drives nutrient availability in soils.

That's why one of the most important practices in coffee production is crop nutrition. For every ton of green beans removed from the trees, about 40kg nitrogen, 2.2kg phosphorus and 53 kg potassium should be added annually. 

This is typically done two months before the main harvest and two months after the main harvest. 

A coffee trees's life cycle is between five and ten years, with the first harvest being picked after two years. After five years, a coffee tree is "pruned" = trimmed back, giving the tree a chance to be productive for another five years. 

Flowering occurs after dry periods. It'll take about two to three months from blossoming till ripe cherries are ready for harvesting.

The coffee cherries will ripen over the course of six months, depending of wet and dry seasons. Meaning the coffee pickers need to come back every other week to pick the new cherries, as soon as they're completely ripe and have an intense red color. 

Photo by Michael Burrows fom Pexels

Coffee cherries are mostly hand picked. No machine will distinguish the level of ripeness as well as the human eye!

Photo by Michael Burrows fom Pexels

Coffee cherries are depulped within 24 hours of picking. Depulping is the process of separating the coffee seeds from the outer layer of flesh. 

Then the beans are spread out over large concrete slabs or on drying beds to be dried by the sun, being regularly turned for drying evenly. 

A hulling machine removes the dried pulp, parchment and silver skin from the exterior of the beans. You will learn more about coffee processing in my post about Java, Indonesia. 

Coffee beans are sorted by hand for quality control, making sure every bean meets the highest quality standards. 

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

The beans are placed in burlap sacks, labeled and prepped for shipping. Each sack can weigh 100 - 150 pounds. 

Coffee is shipped worldwide by cargo ships, trucks, trains and planes. 

As they arrive at a port, the beans are inspected and transported to specialty coffee roasters and stores. 

Up to this point, the coffee beans have been green.

Photo Credit: Michael Burrows on Pexels

Roasting is art and science at the same time. You have learned a thing or two about it in my respective post. The beans are roasted slowly until they turn light, medium or dark brown. The darker the color, the stronger the flavor. 

Knowing the precise moment to cool the beans takes practice and experience. You don't want to burn them!

Once the beans are cooled, they are placed in tubs to get ready for weighing and packaging. 

Bags need to be properly sealed to ensure coffee freshness. Starbucks has developed a special kind of packaging called FlavorLock bags.

Enough for today, though.

We'll be talking more about freshness, grinding and actually brewing coffee in upcoming posts!

Before you leave, would you please do me a - OK, three -  favors? 

I've been participating in a monthly writing challenge for over eight years, and today's post is about interior design. Since this is not my field of expertise, it really deserves the term challenge ;-) 

Anyway, please head over there and give me your support. Thank you!

The other one - as usual - will you please check out some of the other A-Z and UBC posts.

See you tomorrow!


  1. Informative series of posts. Love the pictures. Had been on a coffee plantation tour recently where they showed us two types of coffee plants.

    Visiting from Atoz :http://namysaysso.com/blog/guilt-napowrimo/

  2. I'd never have thought of coffee beans as 'cherries' at the time of picking.
    Thanks for an interesting read

  3. Wow thats a lot of info...during one of our vacations i have stayed in a coffee estate... and i love coffee...especially hazelnut flavored


  4. Learned about coffee beans so much even if i saw coffee plantations here in hill stations in India....never knew these many details...those red beans/cherries are so soothening to see..i make sure to see ur blog during my evening coffee time as i am naturally craving for coffee :) good day

    Dropping by from a to z http://afshan-shaik.blogspot.com/

  5. How interesting to learn about the entire process! It gives a whole new prospective on a cup of coffeewithvall your details

  6. I learned these facts from my coffee roaster clients. It's amazing how much work goes into that cup of java that we imbibe each morning.

  7. Very interesting. A lot goes into the growing, doesn't it?

  8. Coffee growing and processing is interesting, thanks.

  9. Fascinating. The more that I learn from you, the more I think about each cup that I drink. So many steps and so many people involved in one small cup. Thank you!

  10. This makes sense! I didn't know about these steps in coffee growing and roasting. What happens to the coffee cherry? Is there any use for that flesh?

  11. Hey Tamara. We meet again:) All I can say is one doesn't realise the amount of work that goes into making a cup of coffee accessible to us. Impressive and humbling.

  12. Very interesting Tamara. I don't think I will try growing coffee. I didn't know it takes so long just to germinate a seed. I had been wondering if there's enough material for you to write about coffee for a month. Now I see there is.

  13. If I had to grow and process my own coffee beans... well, guess I'd be giving up coffee. The cherry beans are quite interesting... I'm wondering what that coffee would taste like?

  14. That's such a labor intensive process. Green bean seems like an appropriate name for new employees that need to be trained. Weekends In Maine

  15. Most interesting!! We have coffee plantations in southern India and I have visited one such estate. It was a wonderful experience. Enjoyed this story of the beans before they reach our cups to refresh us!


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