HARVESTING // PROCESSING // COFFEE
FROM SEED TO CUP
At Karst Organics we take pride in personally visiting the coffee plantations and working closely with the farmers. This way we can ensure that we improve the harvest and processing of the coffee beans year on year. Our aim is to provide the highest quality coffee, and we do this by taking care when harvesting our organically grown coffee beans.
Coffee beans are in fact seeds. After being dried, roasted and ground they turn into our favourite hot beverage. In East Timor, coffee trees grow wild underneath the natural canopies of the surrounding shade trees and are enriched and ripened during the rains of the wet season.
The coffee harvest usually takes place between the months of May to September each year. Each harvest is a selective process, where we take the time and additional effort to only pick the coffee cherries which are at optimum ripeness.
Wet-processed coffee (fully washed) is the most widely used method to process coffee in East Timor. The coffee cherries are firstly de-pulped by being passed through a cog-like rolling machine which pulls the skin and most of the flesh of the fruit, off the bean. The coffee beans are left with a small layer of fruit known as mucilage and then fermented in a trough of water to remove the remaining mucilage. During this process, the ‘bad’ beans float to the surface and are removed.
Wet-processed coffee usually results in a cleaner, brighter and fruiter flavour profile.
Other methods which can also be used to process coffee are:
- Honey processed coffee is where the coffee cherries are de-pulped, as with wet-processed coffee, but rather than being washed to remove all the mucilage, the coffee beans together with the mucilage are then dried under the sun. A varying range of mucilage is left on the coffee bean prior to drying. This is often referred to as black, red, yellow, white or gold processing, depending on the amount of mucilage left on the bean. The mucilage ferments and infuses the bean, and the resulting cup, adding more sweetness.
- Natural processed coffee (dry-processed coffee) is where the harvested coffee cherries are laid out to dry with the fruit and skin still intact and the coffee bean inside. This allows the coffee bean and cherry to dry together. The coffee bean is then separated from the cherry at the end of the drying process. This method takes a much longer time and is extremely labour-intensive, however, it allows the coffee beans to take on fruitier flavour notes infused from the cherry itself.
The fermented beans must then be dried to approximately 11% moisture to properly prepare them for storage. Only the best quality beans are laid out to be dried underneath the warmth of the Timorese sunshine. The coffee beans are dried on drying floors where they are turned regularly. Once dried they are sorted for any further defective beans. At this stage, the beans are known as parchment.
The parchment is then taken to the mill to remove any remaining husk, to become green beans, ready for shipment.
The green beans are delivered to the roaster to be roasted to the optimum level for that perfect cup of coffee.
THE BEST FLAVOUR
Every step of the process contributes towards the final flavour of the coffee. At Karst Organics, we carry out regular cupping sessions, from the first harvest of the coffee cherry, to the final coffee bean which arrives to you, our customers, in order to ensure that we bring out the best flavour of the coffee itself.