How does coffee get from a tree to my coffee capsules or coffee pods?
When considering the overwhelming variety of coffee to choose for your Nespresso coffee machine, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You have to consider where it’s from, whether it’s single origin or a blend, it’s flavor notes and palate. Perhaps you wonder – where did it come from? How did it get here?The coffee in your coffee capsules or coffee pods starts its life as a little red cherry of sorts, with the coffee part actually being the seed within. This little fruit is taken from it’s tree, and it is processed as quickly as possible before it begins to spoil (as fruit tends to do).
But there is a long way to go before it can be used in your coffee pod or coffee capsule machine. It is processed in one of two ways: using the Dry Method or the Wet Method, which work exactly how they sound.
The Dry Method (the ancient method) involves spreading out the cherries on huge surfaces in full sunlight and letting them dry naturally. To stop them spoiling, the cherries are raked and turned throughout the day and then covered at night. If you were to go back to a time before biodegradable coffee pods and nespresso coffee machines, this is how you would make your coffee.
The Wet Method, is – wait for it – quite wet. The fruit pulp is removed with the aptly named pulping machine, so that the bean is exposed. Then, using water channels, the beans are separated by weight. The lighter beans will float while the heavier (riper) beans will sink. The beans are then placed in fermentation tanks filled with water and are left to sit for 12 to 48 hours to allow naturally occurring enzymes to dissolve the mucus-like layer that is attached to the parchment skin of the bean. The beans are then rinsed and dried by sun-drying or by tumble-drying in a machine.
Dried beans in their parchment skins are then hulled to remove the skin, otherwise the grounds in your coffee capsules or coffee pods would be full of bits of tasteless waste. Then the beans are graded and sorted by size and weight. The less desirable defective beans are then picked out with machines or by hand, and we are left with what is called green beans. We finally have a product that looks somewhat like the coffee bean we know and love – albeit a bit of a funny colour.
Coffee is exported while it is green, and is roasted on sight wherever it ends up. The roaster is in charge of turning the nondescript green beans into those lovely fragrant brown ones we are so familiar with. The beans are then ground to an optimal level, put into coffee capsules or coffee pods, and distributed around the world, to you.