How Coffee Is Made From Seed To Cup? [11 Steps Easy Guide]

How Coffee Is Made

If you are a Coffee Lover, have you ever stopped to wonder how coffee is made?

Many people imagine coffee beans are grown on the plant but what they don’t know is that coffee doesn’t start to get in the form of the beans at all.

The coffee bean is actually a seed that comes from a specific type of berries. Therefore, we can say that coffee beans actually come from fruit!

Steps: How Coffee Is Made?

1. Plantation Of Coffee

Where Does Coffee Come From
Plantation of coffee

The Coffee beans are certainly the seed of the Coffee Plant. The Coffee Fruit is usually known as Cherry.

When the cherries are plucked from the coffee plant and processed, they are ready to be brewed.

Before processing the seeds of the cherries, it can be used for plantation.

The coffee seeds are planted under shaded nurseries. In the nursery, the planted seeds are under water sprinklers. The water is sprinkled from time to time on the planted seeds.

The plantation of coffee is usually started during the wet season because the seeds need more moisture at its first stage of growing and getting well-rooted.

Afterwards, the plants are shifted to the fields for growing well. 

This is the way a coffee plant is planted. Later, In this Blog, we will let you know – How long it takes a plant to grow and bear cherries into it?

2. Harvesting of Cherries

harvesting coffee
Harvesting of Coffee

The Coffee fruit (also known as Coffee Cherry) are harvested when they turn bright and deep red in color and get ripened.

Generally the harvesting of cherries is done just once a year.

In most of the countries, The harvesting of cherries is hand-picked by the laborers. Hence, it’s a Labour intensive process for harvesting.

There are mainly two types of Harvesting technique used, which are as follows: 

Strip Picked – 

All the Coffee cherries are stripped from the plant either by hand or by machine. 

Selectively Picked –

Only the ripened cherries are picked selectively by taking a round of the plants every 8-10 days. 

This process is done by Labour intensive technique as well as Machines in few countries.

The selectively picked technique is usually done for the harvesting of finer Arabica coffee beans.

Good labor approximately picks up 100-200 pounds of Cherries a day, which produces 20-40 pounds of coffee beans. 

The day’s harvest is then transported to the processing unit. 

3. Processing of Cherries

processing of coffee cherries
Method Of Processing Coffee

After the harvesting of coffee cherries, the processing is done as soon as possible to prevent the spoilage of the cherries by one of the two different ways-

Dry method –

This method is a traditional method of processing the cherries. This method is mostly used in those countries where there is scarcity of water resources.

The coffee cherries are spread on a large surface for drying them and reducing the chances of spoilage.

The cherries are raked and turned throughout the day to get proper heat of sunlight and get it dried and reduce the moisture up to 11%. 

Wet method –

The wet method removes the pulp of the cherry and the beans are dried with a thin layer of skin on it. For this, the cherries are processed under a pulping machine. This machine removes the pulp of the cherry. 

Then the seeds are passed on water channels in which the lighter seeds float on top and the heavier seeds sinks on the bottom. They are passed through a series of rotating drums which separate them by their size. 

After separation, the seeds are shifted to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. This depends on various factors like Conditions, Climate and Altitude.

The seeds are kept in these tanks for around 12-48 hours to remove the layer of Mucilage (called parenchyma). Due to resting in these tanks, the Mucilage layer will be naturally dissolved.

When the fermentation is done the seed becomes rough to touch. Then again the seeds are passed through the water channels to make it ready for drying.

4. Drying of Beans

Drying of coffee
Drying of Coffee

Basically, the process of drying coffee seeds are done on large rakes where they can get direct sunlight. These seeds are turned regularly on a daily basis to decrease the moisture in it upto 11% to make it ready for storage.

The Drying process can be processed by machines in large tumblers. The dried beans are known as Parchment Coffee. The beans are then packed in jute and or sisal bags and warehoused until ready for export. 

5. Milling of Beans

Milling of Coffee
Milling of Coffee

The parchment coffee is processed in a Hulling machine to remove the dried thin layer of skin leftover.

Polishing is an optional process after Hulling if any silver skin is left on the beans the polishing removes that. Polished beans are more superior than that of unpolished ones.

Grading and sorting – This process is done through a series of screenings. The seeds are differentiated by their weight and sizes. Usually, the seeds are graded between 10 to 20 scales. 1 scale means 1/64th of a inch. 

6. Exporting of Beans

Exporting of Coffee
Exporting Of Coffee

After Milling of beans, the seeds are known as Green Coffee. Now, Green coffee is ready to be exported.

They are packed in Jute or Sisal bags and exported in large shipping containers.

Production Projected for 2019-20 :

            Types of Coffee      Quantity(in Million Bags)
Arabica 95.68

Data of projected Coffee Production

Reference –

7. Testing of Coffee

Cupping coffee smelling

The testing of coffee is also known as Cupping, which is done inside a room with proper facilities of testing.

The Taster or Cupper, selects some of the Green coffee by their visual experiences. Then they roast these beans and ground beans are brewed with hot water with a set standard of temperature.

They smell the coffee and check the aroma. The checking of aroma and judging by it is an essential step of testing.

Each sample has beans from different batches and are tasted on a daily basis. An expert cupper can taste 100s of samples in a day and differentiate between them.

8. Roasting of Coffee

roasting coffee

The roasting of green coffee is done in Roasting machines.

Mostly, the roasting machines maintain a temperature of 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

The beans are kept moving to avoid burning of the beans. 

When the beans reach an internal temperature of 400 degrees fahrenheit they turn brown in colour and Coffeol, a fragrant oil is locked inside the beans.

This process is called Pyrolysis, the heart of roasting. The pyrolysis is done to produce the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

After roasting, the beans are cooled by air or water immediately. Usually, the Process of roasting is done by the importing countries, as the freshly roasted beans should reach the consumers as soon as possible.

9. Grinding of Coffee

Grinding Of Coffee
Grinding Of Coffee

The grinding of coffee beans is done to get Finer or Coarser ground coffee, to get the proper aroma of the coffee. The grinding depends on different brewing methods. 

The finer the ground the brewing should be done quickly. As the aroma of coffee is very important. Therefore, the Espresso is brewed with finer coffee grounds.

10. Brewing the Coffee 

Brewing of Coffee
Brewing of Coffee

The brewing of the coffee depends upon the variety of coffee beverage you want to drink. 

Ex- Espresso is brewed with finer ground and just in seconds.

      Cold brew is brewed with Coarser ground and it takes a long time get brewed properly.

11. Serving Coffee

Serving Coffee

The serving of coffee depends on Cafe, Restaurants etc. All the outlets have certain set standards of service of the Coffee drinks. 

Now you might have understood how tuff is the Life of a Coffee bean, from a seed to cup? 

Hey, now you might be thinking that we didn’t answer the query that,  How long does it take a coffee plant to grow and bear cherries into it?


How Long Does It Take for a Coffee Plant to Grow?

The coffee plant takes 3 – 4 Years to grow well and bear fruits. The fruit of coffee is also known as Cherry Coffee.

Where does Coffee grow?

At the initial stage, the seeds are farmed in Nurseries. There they get essential moisture, water, and proper care by the laborers, after they become well-rooted they are shifted to the Coffee fields for growing and bearing fruits.

Have you ever seen a Coffee plant? 

If you say No!

No issues. I will let you know what it looks like ?

What does a coffee plant look like?

Coffee Plant
Coffee Plant

Coffee Plants are from the shrub family, so they are not that heighted as other big trees. It’s covered with leaves. 

The plant produces leaves in pairs, dark green in color, and waxy in nature. Coffee Cherries grow on the branches. 

Coffee cherries start into flowering, fragrant, white blossoms after one year. Coffee plants have a life of 30 – 40 Years.

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