Saturday, September 4, 2010

Where: North Shore somewhere, Oahu, HI
When: August 19, 2010

That is a photo of our dear friend Shawn Steiman, aka Dr. Coffee, explaining how coffee is graded while holding some green coffee beans. Let's zoom in:

They don't look nearly as delicious when they aren't all roasted, do they?

The greenery you can see behind Shawn in the first photos are actual coffee plants, with actual coffee fruit on them - here is a highly mediocre shot so you can see what the fruit, which is called a "cherry" looks like:

In the way of most fruit, ripe = red. We got to snack on some - they have a lovely mild, sweet, honey-like flavor. You are supposed to bite the end, then squirt the seeds into your mouth, and suck on them for a while, as the fruit bit is a thin film over the seed. It's quite refreshing when standing in the hot sun.

The coffee is harvested by hand or machine, it depends on the plantation. It can either be harvested selectively, so that only the ripe cherries are picked, or it can simply be stripped, with green and ripe cherries going together. Once you have the cherries, you dump them into a machine that separates red from green (ripe cherries sink in water, green ones float), then into another which takes the skin off and starts to take the pulp off. There are apparently a bunch of different ways to do this.

Derek, Shawn's friend, who manages this plantation and was kind enough to show us around and explain how all the machines worked, went through all the reasons some ways are better than others - for example, if you leave more fruit on the coffee when it goes into the drying process, you can alter the flavor. BUT if you are trying to dry beans in less than desert-like conditions, with some nice, sugar filled fruit on it, you will primarily get rotten fruit.

I'm afraid my reporting on this subject is awfully thin - I was more focused on taking pictures than on the explanations. So with that said, here is a photo of said machinery:

And here's one of Shawn explaining said machinery to Dave:

And one of the drying racks:
Drying Racks

Tomorrow, more on sorting and grading coffee!



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New York City, United States

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This is my first blog attempt. It hasn't been kept up over the last year, for some reason being pregnant really ate into my creativity, and I picked up the camera very rarely. I am thinking about starting it up again, but am not sure what direction to take it in.

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