Abracadabra! Shazaam! Presto! What usually comes to mind with these words?
Suits, top hats, balloons or wands. Magicians are a unique species of entertainer who astound and amaze kids and adults alike. Our food and beverage products can sometimes feel a bit like magic, too. Somehow, in some invisible way, this edible or drinkable item arrives on our shelf, ready to consume!
However, all good magicians put in countless hours perfecting their trick. The seeming effortlessness we see is the result of their endless practice and hard work.
It’s puzzling why the work of the world’s small-scale farmers doesn’t generate a similar degree of wonder. Abracadabra! I just pulled a bright orange carrot out of the ground. Shazaam! This pepper changed from green to red. Presto! There’s a coffee cherry growing on a tree!
Farming and agriculture are awe-inspiring concepts, and the work is not for the faint of heart. But because we’re disconnected from the origin of our products, the magic and mystery of agricultural growth often is lost by the time our food and drinks get to our table. Here’s a bit of information to restore your awe in the coffee you drink – there are many steps that go into providing you with your one (or four) cups of caffeine a day.
Let’s start at the beginning! (All photos are from ENP Coffee farms and farmers)
The Seed is Planted In The Nursery
Just like a newborn, coffee starts off in a crib before heading out into the big world. There, it receives the care and nurturing it needs.
Once the baby coffee plants are strong enough to leave the nest, they are transported to the forest to be planted.
Grown Under the Shade
This growing technique is unique to certain coffee varieties. Most coffee is planted after the natural vegetation has been cut down. “Shade Grown” means that the coffee is planted under the natural forest cover. None of the natural landscape is harmed by this agricultural practice. As a result, the habitats of birds, monkeys, elephants, and other wildlife are saved.
The coffee cherry! Yes, that bean that comes in your bag actually starts off as a fruit. The cherries are harvested by hand, and it is often a lengthy process. It can take several attempts to harvest all the ripe fruit from a single tree.
Washed and Dried
Milled, Bagged and Ready to head to the US for roasting.
After the coffee is dried, it is milled to remove the parchment layer, packaged and sent to the US for roasting.
Hopefully, this brief overview has given you a sneak peek into the magic of the ready-to-brew coffee beans you enjoy at home.
Every product has a story. And every story is crafted by individuals.
All Photos By Sven Bo Friedel