How Coffee Is Made (1/4): Growing & Picking Coffee

As cooks, mixologists, and all-around culinary creators, our team at Amoretti is comprised of both artists and scientists. Achieving perfection with any organic material requires a fine knowledge and appreciation of both. Science alone doesn’t make great food, and a wild streak of artistic flair – without the fine-tuned precision and understanding of a scientist – doesn’t make for good eating or drinking either.

In order to make great coffee syrups, we believe that we need to have a thorough understanding of the art and science of making coffee. And, when we say, “make coffee,” we aren’t just referring to grounds-to-water ratios. We’re interested in knowing everything about the process, from the ground up – literally!

We hope you’ll join us in this four-blog post series on how coffee is made. We’re going to start with the soil and coffee plant, move to processing and drying, look at the milling and hulling process, and finish off with roasting. Ready to start learning?

How Coffee Is Grown

Coffee is primarily grown in South America, Africa, and Indonesia. In addition to a warm climate and moderate rainfall, coffee requires a certain altitude level in order to grow. Ideal growing level for coffee is between 3,000 and 6,000 feet.

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Coffee that is grown in the 3,500-foot neighborhood is oftentimes sweet and mellow. Many Latin American coffees are grown around this altitude. In Africa – Ethiopia, in particular – coffee is usually grown at much higher altitudes. This results in a harder, denser bean that possesses rich and vibrant flavors (unlocked through the roasting process).

It’s worth mentioning that some coffees are grown below the 3,000-foot mark. This class of coffee is largely comprised of Hawaiian Kona coffee. Because of the state’s distance from the equator, Hawaiian coffees can’t be grown at higher altitude and still have ideal temperatures/growing conditions.

How Coffee Is Picked

Coffee doesn’t yield flowers and cherries until the plant is three to four years old. Even then, those initial cherries can’t be harvested. Plants usually don’t produce cherries worth harvesting until after five years. Cherries take eight months to ripen, and do so twice a year, producing a primary and secondary crop.

Finer coffees are usually hand picked by laborers who select cherries at the peak of ripeness. Other low-grade or mass-produced coffees are “strip picked” by machines.

Look for the next post on coffee processing and drying tomorrow. Until then, pick up a bottle of Amoretti Premium Caramel Syrup, make yourself a cup of caramel flavored coffee, and we’ll see you next time!

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