From cherry to your cup of coffee: read the story

Coffee is our passion. Coffee is our way of living. For us coffee is like a dear friend we are still discovering every day. If you ever wondered what’s the story behind the cup of coffee you’re enjoying in our coffee shops, it’s time to tell you a story.

From cherry to your cup of coffee, you are about to embark on a journey about a little plant that discovers its way into the world and how it becomes your cup of coffee.

Everything begins with a small piece of nature

Once upon a time, back in the 9th century in Ethiopia there was a little plant that grew quietly without anyone noticing its uniqueness. It was a herd of goats and their shepherd named Kalid, that discovered this unusual plant and its effects. Conquered by the beauty of the bright red cherries growing on it,  Kalid and his goats ate all the fruits and started dancing together. After experiencing the vigor of the plant, the shepherd decided to share his story and this is how that small piece of nature became one of the most popular drinks in the world: coffee.

In an impatient world, a cherry grows patiently

Since then, everything has changed. From the wild plant of yesterday, today’s coffee grows guarded by the love of small farmers whose main activity is taking care of these special plants. Just like the parents raise their kids. 

Grown in select altitudes and climates and nursed for years before the first harvest, excellent specialty coffee takes time. The farmers that create specialty coffee devote their life to continually make quality their highest priority.

Handpicked with kindness, only a cherry like this stands for the true meaning of specialty coffee 

The coffee plant is a fruit tree. When a coffee tree reaches maturity, which can take from 4 – 7 years, it begins to bear fruits in clusters along its branches. Referred to as cherries, the fruits are initially green.  As they ripen, the coffee cherries turn redder and reveal the true beauty of specialty coffee. Only then the cherries are ready to be harvested.

In contrast with the farms producing commodity-grade coffee that will harvest all the cherries at one time, in the specialty coffee market, farmers will only pick the ripe cherries. This will ensure sweeter, more complex flavours in the cup as the sugars will have had longer to develop. The pickers will have to do multiple harvests so they can pick the cherries as they ripen. 

Just when the cherry thinks its mission is complete, a coffee bean is born

Just like a hidden jam, inside every coffee cherry there are actually two coffee beans that await to be discovered. In order to do that, farmers must start processing the coffee cherries. Processing coffee is the act of removing the layers of skin, pulp, mucilage and parchment that surround a coffee bean, the raw ingredient that reaches the coffee roasteries. 

A natural or honey processed coffee requires the coffee cherry around the bean to be flavourful, while washed coffees focus solely on the bean. How to coffee is processed can have a dramatic effect on the resulting cup and nowadays roasters and baristas are concentrating on coffee processing to describe the coffee.

Washed coffees depend almost 100% on the bean having absorbed enough natural sugars and nutrients during its growing cycle. This means the varietal, soil, weather, ripeness, fermentation, washing, and drying are absolutely key. Washed coffees reflect both the science of growing the perfect coffee bean and the fact that farmers are an integral part of crafting the taste of a coffee bean. The washed process leads to bright and acidic flavors in the cup.

The natural process, also known as the dry process, is a back-to-basics approach that stems from Ethiopia. The fruit is left on the bean, and there’s little disruption to the coffee while it dries. After picking the coffee cherries from the coffee trees, they are spread out in thin layers to dry in the sun. Once the cherries are properly dry, the skin and dried fruit flesh are removed mechanically and the green coffee is stored and “rested”.  The natural process adds flavors to the coffee such as fruitiness and sweetness regardless of variety and region.

The honey process is halfway between the washed and natural process. The cherries are mechanically depulped but the depulping machines are set to leave a specific amount of flesh on the beans. After depulping, the beans are dried in the sun. When well done, honey processed coffee has positive attributes from washed and natural coffees: the sweetness of naturals and brightness of washed.

This coffee bean is unrepeatable. We shall protect it. We shall explore it. We shall roast it

At Meron Roastery we know everything about our green coffee beans, even the names of the farmers. Before choosing our green coffees, we see pictures, we hear stories, we taste several coffees in order to choose only the best. 

What else do we know? We know every coffee harvest is unique due to all the factors presented above. Our mission is to highlight each coffee origin through a roasting profile developed to push further our coffee’s beverages.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. Your coffee is a journey to be experienced

Specialty coffee refers to an entire process following the journey of the coffee from the coffee cherries to your cup. Our coffee shops are the last stop of this wonderful experience of specialty coffee. But be aware that behind every cup of coffee are the hands of the farmers, the roasters and the barista teams, all united together by the gift of specialty coffee.