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Origins of Don francisco's coffee

Coffee Fields in Central America

Coffee is among the most popular beverages in the world, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year. Everyone loves coffee, yet most people have no idea where it comes from.

How Is coffee grown?

Believe it or not, coffee is an agricultural product. Coffee beans come from the cherry of a tropical shrub that typically grows at high altitude. Originating in the highlands of east Africa thousands of years ago, coffee has since been cultivated all over the world. There are now over 120 species of the Coffea plant, growing across the tropics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Coffea arabica is the most commonly grown and widely known for its intense aroma and flavor.

Ripening Coffee Beans

Coffee plants take 3-4 years to become established enough to produce fruit. The flowers of the coffee plant are white and fragrant, and the resulting fruits, called a “coffee cherry”, can take up to 9 months to mature. Once the coffee cherries are bright red, that means they’re ready to be harvested and turned into the flavorful coffee beans that we know and love.

Like wine, coffee has terroir. Terroir is the specific flavor produced by a combination of environmental factors where the plant was grown, including soil, topography, and climate. Tasting notes can even be influenced by the different plants growing nearby!

Terroir means that the flavor of coffee from one plant will differ from that of a plant just one valley over. It also means that the flavor of coffee from one plant may differ from year to year, depending on the weather and time of harvest.

from seed to cup

The way that coffee is processed affects the flavor just as much as terroir does. Most Arabica coffee is harvested by hand, not by machine. This is necessary because of where this coffee grows and because only the ripe coffee cherries are harvested. Pickers will harvest one coffee plant multiple times throughout the season, ensuring the best quality beans are picked at peak ripeness. 

A Worker Planting Young Coffee Plants

Once picked, coffee beans are processed the same day to preserve its quality and flavor. Coffee is typically processed in one of two ways; the wet method, or the dry method.

Wet method processing, also known as “washed” processing, involves removing the outer pulp of the coffee cherry from the inner bean. Water, physical agitation, and fermentation are used to remove the pulp before setting the beans out to dry. This method is prized for its ability to turn out pure and bright flavor profiles.

Dry method processing, also known as “natural” processing, allows the coffee cherry to stay on the bean as it dries. This process is ancient, requires little to no electricity, and results in a sweeter bean that takes on some flavor from the fruit. Operating in a dry, non-humid environment and ensuring that the beans are rotated often during the drying period helps to prevent spoilage and foul flavors.

Once the beans are dried to about 11% moisture, they’re ready to be hulled. Hulling removes the outer husks from the beans, which can then be stored and transported for roasting. Prior to roasting, coffee beans are light in color and referred to as “green coffee.” Roasting occurs closest to the consumer and is what gives coffee beans their dark brown color, oily texture, and delicious aromatic scent and taste. 

Raking Harvested Coffee Beans

The Origins of Coffee

When every step from seed to cup affects the overall flavor of your coffee, it’s important to know the differences between various growing regions. Climate, terroir, and regional processing practices make each single-origin coffee distinct in flavor.

This is one reason why we offer certain coffees 100% single origins. If our coffee says it’s from Colombia, it’s all from Colombia. Our single origin beans are selected to highlight the unique characteristics of that coffee and growing region.

We see the work of a coffee roaster as similar to that of a wine blender--their job is to create a consistent flavor profile year after year that is true to the origins of that coffee. Selecting and processing single-origin coffee is special because it brings us closer to the plant and the growers. It allows us to taste the terroir and care that goes into each cup.

Map of the Primary Coffee Regions of the World

Below, we’re highlighting some of the world’s most famous coffee-growing regions to show how the origin of coffee affects the flavor in your cup.

Colombia

Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world, well-known and loved for its distinctly aromatic, full-bodied, and bright tasting beans. Colombian coffee beans have such a clarity of flavor due to the steep slopes of the Andes mountains where they’re grown, as well as from the use of wet processing. The volcanic soil, ample sunshine, and extreme altitude result in a coffee cherry that’s full of flavor. Our single-origin Colombian coffee is medium roasted to bring out the sweet floral aroma and winey notes that keep us coming back for more, cup after cup.

Guatemala

With more than 300 distinct microclimates in the country, Guatemalan coffee is prized for its complexity and rich, lively aroma. Our Guatemala Antigua coffee is grown in fertile, volcanic soil at high elevation, where there is little humidity in the air. Medium roasting is perfect for our Guatemala Antigua beans to bring out their excellent acidity, velvety chocolate notes, and a full-bodied, nutty aroma

COSTA RICA

With its dramatic topography and misty, mountainous landscape, Costa Rica is well suited for coffee growing. In fact, coffee has long been an integral part of this small country’s economy and its small farmers’ livelihoods. Costa Rican coffee can vary widely from region to region, yet the complexity and body of flavor from Costa Rican coffee is always classic. Our Costa Rican coffee has excellent acidity, a delicate floral aroma, and rich, chocolaty tasting notes

Sumatra

Sumatran coffee has a specific earthy flavor unlike coffee from most other origins. Sumatra is a humid tropical island in Indonesia, forcing coffee growers to design a specific process that accommodates the moist jungle climate. This process is called giling basah, or wet-hulling. Wet-hulled coffee is dried on patios or directly on the earth without the protection of its parchment shell. This enables the beans to dry much more quickly in a humid climate, and imparts them with an earthy, spicy, and almost moss-like flavor. Our Sumatran coffee, naturally low in acidity, is a dark roast, which fully develops the rich, full-bodied flavor profile perfect for sweet and creamy coffee.

Hawaii - Kona

Kona coffee is truly a taste of the Hawaiian Islands. Genuine Kona coffee is grown exclusively on the cool slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains where rich volcanic soil, sunny mornings, and cool afternoon cloud cover provide ideal growing conditions. Kona coffee is highly prized throughout the world for its delicate flavor and rich aroma. Our Kona blend contains 10% Kona coffee and 90% premium Arabica beans mostly from Latin America. This blend produces a well-balanced cup of coffee with a delicate floral aroma and subtle, fruit-forward tasting notes.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of coffee, and there are thousands of different species of coffea growing even in the wild Ethiopian highlands today. One of the core components of Ethiopian culture, the buna ceremony, is centered around the daily roasting and sharing of coffee with family and friends. Ethiopian coffee is traditionally dry processed in the sunshine, taking advantage of the arid weather and high-altitude which make natural processing easier and more effective. The elevated environment and dry processing result in a flavorful coffee with a fruity aroma and delicate floral acidity. 

Brazil

Brazil is the world’s #1 producer of coffee. With countless different ecosystems and elevations represented in the country, Brazil produces a widely diverse range of different coffees, each with their own unique terroir and tastes. Specialty Brazilian coffee is known for its earthy, spicy, nutty, sweet, and low-acidity beans that make for a beautiful medium-bodied cup. Brazilian coffee producers are also known for the use of the innovative “pulp natural” processing method, which is a hybrid method between wet and dry processing. The pulp natural method removes most of the cherry but skips fermentation, allowing the coffee bean to dry with a layer of fruity mucilage still attached. This gives Brazilian coffee a crisp acidity that’s balanced by a medium body and delicate sweetness.

Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or someone who casually enjoys this caffeinated drink, knowing where your coffee comes from can help you get the best possible flavor and experience. Understanding the origins of coffee means understanding the beauty of terroir and all the different environmental and human factors that go into a great cup of coffee.

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