Rising Star Coffee Roasters director of coffee John Johnson takes us through a bean's journey from pick to perk.
The Zeleya family runs Finca Candelaria, a farm in Guatemala. From January to May, workers handpick the deep reddish-purple coffee cherries to fill burlap sacks with up to 100 pounds of harvest.
The cherries head to a wet-processing mill 20 minutes away. The skins are shredded off the seed, which then sits in large fermentation tanks for up to 36 hours.
After two to three weeks inside a greenhouse on raised drying beds to lower its moisture content, the seed's parchmentlike skin is removed.
Now resembling green coffee beans, they're sorted based on density. "If the coffee seeds are the same density, you get a much more even development," says Johnson.
The beans are stored in a plastic-lined bag for up to four weeks. "A coffee that's young is similar to a wine that's young," Johnson says. "It's not very well-balanced and has a dryness in the aftertaste."
Sent to the Port of San Jose, the bag is then shipped in a container holding 52,000 pounds of coffee to the Port of Long Beach, where it is inspected by the Department of Homeland Security.
Beans are sent to Bodhileaf Trading Co. in Anaheim, California, until Rising Star puts in an order.
Rising Star roasts 12-pound batches of the still-green beans at about 400 degrees. After nine minutes, the beans are dumped into a metal cooling tray before they are bagged.