How Coffee Is Made (3/4): Milling, Hulling, etc.
In our last “How Coffee Is Made” series, we covered the washing and drying process, which varies around the globe. The milling process of coffee can be equally diverse depending on the size of the farm, geographic location, and the quality of coffee bean.
So, grab a cup of coffee, a coffee syrup or two, and settle in for this little post-wash exposé…
How Coffee Is Hulled & Polished
Once coffee has been dried, it’s ready to be hulled. A coffee berry is a lot more complex than you might think. By one definition (which most farmers tend to agree on), the coffee cherry has seven distinct layers to it. Generally, only the two inner layers (the center cut and bean) are desired in the final product.
In the hulling process, what remains of the coffee cherry after it’s been washed is sent through a mill that grinds away at all of the remaining parchment/hull. Once the coffee has been hulled, some processors choose to polish it. This polishing phase is not necessary. After all, if the silver skin is not polished off, it will be removed during the roasting phase.
How Coffee Is Cleaned & Sorted
Once coffee has been hulled and polished, it’s then cleaned and sorted. Larger and more sophisticated processing facilities will do this by blowing the beans up into the air. Heavy and dense coffee beans (which are more desirable) will land in nearby bins, while lighter undesirable beans and chaff will be blown further away into distant bins that can then be emptied. Other processors choose to use gravity tables to separate the beans.
Of course, the very best way to clean and sort coffee is the oldest way: by hand. The world’s finest and most richly flavored coffees tend to be cleaned and sorted by hands. In rural areas, the entire community may jump in to help with the cleaning and sorting.
The Aging Process
Aging coffee is not necessary. In fact, most coffees are best enjoyed sooner, rather than later. If coffee is aged, it’s usually done for three to eight years, which allows it to take on a bolder and spicier flavor. Many green Indonesian coffee beans can age particularly well.
Enjoy this post? Click the “Tweet” or “Like” button in the top right of the page to share it with friends. In the meantime, how about grabbing a bottle of one of our favorite ‘spicy’ coffee syrups, Amoretti Premium Chai Syrup?