behind the bean
If you’re a caffeine lover like we are, coffee works its way into all aspects of your life. It’s the first thing you think about when you wake up, you grab coffee when catching up with an old friend, or you go on a coffee date when meeting someone new.
A great cup of coffee has the power to change your mood and bring people together.
But do you actually know the journey those little coffee beans took before they reached your cup in the form of liquid heaven? And do you know the difference between a regular coffee bean, and an extremely high quality, aromatic, rich coffee bean? From Farm to Cup: Here’s the story of our coffee beans and how we craft the perfect cup of specialty coffee, every time.
Let’s get one thing straight. You CANNOT grow quality coffee beans at a low altitude. Coffee beans grown at a higher altitude take longer to mature, allowing the bean to absorb more flavor and become much, much richer.
Our farms are situated in the unique Caranavi Region of the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 1,730 meters (5,675 feet) above sea level.
Bolivia’s unique typography between the mountains and Amazonian rainforest allows us to grow some of the finest coffee in the world. We have several farms. Each one is located in a different community and has its own unique flavor profile. Some of our farms have other trees such as oranges and tangerines which can influence the coffee bean, giving it a citrusy hint.
We are proud of our farms because we are pioneers applying new technologies in the production process. We have flagship farms which break away from traditional methods. These farms are being engineered from the ground up. We’ve developed new methods to lighten the load of our workers and diminish the physical toll it takes on their bodies. We use drones for quality control. We avoid detrimental means of production that would otherwise harm the quality of our bean by employing sustainable practices that are great for the environment and the surrounding communities.
From Farm to Cup, we do things differently.
Our coffee farms don't actually produce the “beans” that you’re used to seeing. They first begin as coffee berries (we call them cherries). When they’re fully ripened they have a bright, deep red skin which covers a fleshy pulp and two little coffee beans in the center.
A perfectly ripe berry gives you the smooth, fragrant experience you dream of. An unripe berry will have a bitter taste and sharp odor. Each tree, even each branch’s berries, can ripen at different speeds.
That’s why we hand-pick all of our cherries only when they’re fully ripened.
Our harvesting season typically lasts 3-4 months and we cycle through the farms several times to make sure each berry is fully ripened. Hand-picking during harvesting season takes a lot of people, and becomes a community affair. Families and neighbors come together with booming speakers, and cold, refreshing drinks -- we make it a good time.
Leave it to Bolivians to make a party out of anything.
After the cherries are harvested, we bring them to our small processing plants next to our farm. This is where the coffee is weighed, rinsed and given its first sort for quality before we peel or pulp the outer fruit, revealing the beautiful coffee beans inside. The beans are then treated and repeatedly washed to ensure the utmost quality.
During this phase we hand select one by one to remove any defective, broken, discolored or deformed beans.
The washed process is the perfect processing method for the Yungas region of Bolivia since it has a climate with cool overnight temperatures and good sun exposure during the day.
Now that the beans have successfully been extracted from the cherry, it’s time to dry them. It normally takes around 2-4 weeks until they are dry enough to be roasted, but this step is crucial to get right because it’s responsible for adding depth and complexity to the coffee until it is ready for roasting.
Once the coffee is fully dried, it goes through the dry milling process. It’s at this stage where the parchment is finally removed (the coffees’ outer protective shell) and meticulously machine selected using special molds to screen the beans by size and color. The machines and molds used by our team create an exquisite consistency, so every batch is roasted evenly and perfectly.
It’s at this point that the coffee reaches the “green bean phase” and finally becomes “Green bean Coffee” ready to be roasted.
One of the reasons why our coffee is of such high quality, is because most coffees are usually blended at the green bean stage. This means that different beans from different farms, and different altitudes are being mixed together. Since every coffee is unique, mixing the wrong ones can destroy a good bean and degrade the overall quality and flavor notes. Each variety of coffee that we provide our loyal consumers comes from a single farm, same altitude, and current harvest year. This consistency is why we have the best single origin arabica coffee bean.
We can almost smell the divine aroma of perfectly roasted coffee beans right now.
Here is where we are different from most. This is usually the point where coffee farmers will sell their beans to local exporters which later send the beans to wholesalers in the United States. These wholesalers often blend the different coffees together in order to meet quotas. This allows them to sell the beans to companies all over the United States that do the roasting, and label it as “locally roasted”.
We do things differently. We don’t sell our beans to local exporters or wholesales in the United States.
Our business model consists of selling our beans directly to the consumer. We don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of our flavor notes and we want to guarantee that the beans that we produce arrive at our customers table the way they are meant to be delivered.
Roasting is a blend of science and art that we’ve spent years perfecting. We know our beans and we know precisely how to roast them to showcase their distinctive qualities.
The duration and heat of the roast results in different characteristics and flavors. Unfortunately, many large companies roast the beans darker to hide any defects, roasting it incorrectly can destroy even the greatest beans.
cupping, grading, and packaging
All of our coffee is then cupped and graded. This is the final step before they are packaged and delivered to you. Similar to cupping wine, we taste it, assign its unique flavor notes, and give it a quality score. These cupping scores are graded using a standardized scale for 10 different categories such as Fragrance/Aroma, Flavor, Body, Acidity, and Balance. These scores are then tallied to give you a total cupping score out of 100.
Our average cupping score is above 85 points, which is EXTREMELY high. This is why our coffee is classified as “Specialty Coffee”.
You can only claim that title if your coffee is cupped at 80 or above. 85% is exquisite, it’s practically perfection. A coffee which receives a cupping score of 90 is Presidential.
You may be asking yourself, “What does a Presidential cupping score taste like?” Let us ease your curious mind and tell you about our Peaberry collection.
Peaberry coffee beans are the result of a unique mutation. Having one bean instead of two inside the cherry, Peaberry beans absorb more flavor and richness. Dense in profile, these beans carry more intense flavor notes. Go ahead, taste them, *or any of our other specialty coffees* for yourself to understand why they are given such an elite cupping and grading score.