As roasters we are increasingly looking further down the value chain to better understand the coffee we are roasting to gain insight as to how to best bring out the subtle flavors the coffee has to offer. At the farm level, due to increased communication more experimentation and information is available to us on the varietals of coffee and farming methods.
The coffee plant is a small tree, which, if allowed to, can grow to as high as 30-40 feet. However, most farmers prune it to approximately 5 to 8 feet to produce high quality cherries. Inside these cherries is a seed which is the coffee bean. A coffee tree is picked an average of 3 to 4 times per harvest to ensure all ripe cherries are picked from the plant. Each coffee plant will produce a maximum of 1 kg of roasted coffee a year. This shows how valuable and how much work is done to produce your bag of coffee. Quality is linked to many facets including but not limited to varietal, soil, altitude, environmental conditions, and care for the plants.