Like many, coffee is how I start my day and my morning will often seem off if I don’t have it. Life truly begins after my cup of coffee. I recently had an opportunity to join Keurig Canada on a trip to visit the Eje Cafetero (traditional coffee-growing region) in Colombia. It was an enlightening experience and I will never look at a cup of coffee the same again.
Life begins after coffee.
Until this trip, I never really stopped to think about all that went into my morning coffee. It is the same with most products we consume, and I feel like we all need to start asking more questions.
- Who produced it?
- What has happened to get this product to me?
- What happens to this product when I am done with it?
I also recently went on a trip to a tree farm to learn about sustainable forestry and how to make wise choices for paper products that I use every day.
Learning the story of products that I use is a new passion of mine. I am so happy that I get opportunities to share what I learn with you all…and as you can tell, today’s post is all about coffee!
This was my first trip to South America, so I was very excited. The group I was with was traveling from various locations, so we all met in Panama and flew together to Colombia the following day.
Being Italian, I probably started drinking coffee way younger than the average person. My nonna used to give me coffee in my milk in my cereal! It was like a weak latte with cereal in it! ? Regardless,it is safe to say I am a BIG coffee lover.
The gals I traveled with are Krystle Ng-aMann, Jess Megan, me & Camille Lavallée-Pelletier. One of the best things about my job is the people I meet. I traveled to Jamaica earlier in the year with Krystle and Jess and was so happy that I was able to get to know Camille.
First Things First – It is a Fruit
If you didn’t know this already, coffee is a fruit that grows on a tree. Even though we call them coffee “beans” they are the seeds of the red, juicy, cherry-like coffee fruit and not beans at all,technically.
The Coffee Making Process – Farm to Cup
There are many steps that go into bringing coffee from the farm in Colombia to your cup. Keurig Canada is very involved in their coffee sourcing and want to make sure that the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental are factors in bringing us their high-quality coffee. Keurig is one of the top ten roasters (by volume) in the world. Keurig has made a commitment to move beyond traceable coffee(which tells us where their coffee comes from) to 100% responsibly sourced coffee by 2020, which ensures that their coffee is socially and environmentally sustainable. KeurigCanada is also the largest buyer of Fair Trade certified coffee in the world and a leader in coffee sustainability.
The steps that I experienced in Colombia, from farm to cup are:
- Planting – A coffee bean is actually a seed. When dried, roasted and ground, it’s used to brew coffee. If the seed isn’t processed, it can be planted and grow into a coffee tree. The trees are initially grown in a nursery on the farm and then transplanted when they are big enough. Only the best coffee trees are planted.
- Growing – It takes approximately 3 to 4 years for the newly planted coffee trees to bear fruit.The fruit, called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when it is ripe and ready to be harvested.
- Harvesting – Once the coffee cherries are ripe, they are picked by hand! It is very labour intensive, but the farms make sure only the best cherries are picked. In Colombia, they can often get two harvests a year.
- Processing – Once cherries are picked,they go into a wet mill which takes the outside off the coffee cherries and you are left with a wet coffee bean. The bean is then fermented to remove the outside layer of the coffee bean.
- Drying – After processing, the coffee beans are put out on roofs and tables to dry in the sun.
- Milling – The dried coffee beans are taken to a co-op by the farmer and then go through a process to remove the outer layer of parchment. After this, they are sorted and graded.
- Exporting – The coffee bean sare then exported to Keurig.
- Roasting, Grinding and Packaging – Keurig will roast, grind and package the coffee, making it ready for sale.
- Brewing – This is the step we are all most familiar with but as you can see, there are many steps to get to this point.
Coffee is a cup of hope in world full of chaos and Mondays.