Coffee: A Seasonal Crop
A blog post written especially for you by Woody on April 30, 2010
This may sound odd to some of you, but yes, fresh coffee is a seasonal crop—much like tomatoes, corn or lettuce—and is best when freshest, with a few exceptions. Coffee is grown in what we like to call the coffee belt, which is an area not surprisingly close to the equator. Coffee is grown in all major continents with the exception of Europe which has no countries which can grow coffee. Coffee is grown in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Several small North American Islands. The proper climate is warm and rainy with lots of sunshine. Coffee harvesting takes place throughout the year, and most places have one crop per year. Some have a second or fly crop also. The coffee which is considered specialty coffee is a variety known as Arabica, and requires high elevations and longer growing time than it’s less flavorful, and more caffeinated, cousin the Robusta bean.
Specialty coffees are for the most part picked by hand by skilled pickers who pick only the red ripe coffee cherries to be dried and processed. After the coffee is picked it is bagged and moved to where it will be processed and dried, there are several methods for doing this but all result in a dried coffee bean which has about 11% moisture content, the coffee is them milled to remove the outer shell and bagged for sale and shipping. The coffees are then auctioned or sold to buyers, and shipped to America in freight containers to be sold by coffee brokers.
At this point the specialty coffees are sold to coffee roasters around the country, which buy anything from 1 bag to hundreds of bags a week. The beans are roasted to perfection and sent on their way to be ground, and enjoyed by the consumer. Here at OVC, we use only the freshest coffees we can find and sell them at the peak of flavor. This is why sometimes you will find we don’t have a certain coffee or that your favorite is out of stock for a little while. It’s a difficult balance between giving the customer what they want and only giving them the best. The goal should be to make sure the coffee you are drinking is the best all the time. After all who likes an unripe tomato?