Tophers Trip To Brazil

The coffee making process as seen through the eyes of a master roaster in Brazil

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I spotted these on another coffee forum I frequent and support Topher is a master roaster and had an amazing trip to Brazil. in his own words "I went to 7 or 8 different farms and had a blast…"

I have tried to place the photos in some sort of logical order, to try and give a feel for typical "washed, pulped natural" coffee production on a small farm in Brazil


The coffee cherries on the bush, inside is the coffee bean (it's usually in 2 halves like a peanut). The cherries need to be picked when they are red (except in the case of a yellow bourbon coffee, then you pick them when they are yellow).


Wasn't sure what this was…but have since found out that it's a drying drum (mentioned later)


The depulper……The pulped natural method consists of pulping (removing the outer cherry and much of the flesh) a coffee, but omitting the fermentation stage to remove the silverskin. This results in a beverage that has characteristics of both a dry- and wet-processed coffee. It is often sweeter than wet-processed coffees, has some of the body of a dry-processed coffee, but also retains some of the acidity of a wet-processed coffee. This type of processing can only occur in countries where the humidity is low and the coffee covered in the sweet mucilage can be dried rapidly without fermenting. Brazil has made this method famous and produces some of the best pulped natural coffees in the world. All twenty winners of the Gourmet Cup competition in Brazil in 2000 processed their coffees using the pulped natural method.


Drying the coffee. They have to be careful at this time, to ensure they dry evenly and have to be covered if it rains. It's a lot of work and the B&W picture of the guy with his head down turning the beans with what looks like a broom….says it all.

The coffee is typically dried on large patios made of cement and then transferred to mechanical dryers. The coffee on the drying patios is turned and moved every 30-40 minutes into long rows of no more than 5 cm in height. Next to each row is open ground, which is warmed and dried by the sun. The coffee is then moved onto the dry portion of the patio, and the section where it was previously is now warmed and dried by the sun. This speeds up the coffee drying process, preventing fermentation and mouldy beans. mechanical dryers are often used to finish the drying process as without them, coffee can take 8-9 days to dry!


Finally collecting and bagging what is now called "Parchment Coffee". The parchment layer is a thick white coating on the coffee bean, that has to be removed. Coffee if stored is usually stored in "pergamino" or parchment, this helps protect the coffee.


The parchment is removed with this, a huller!


The farms sample roaster, used to determine bean quality and grade the coffee.


I think mention was made that 40,000 bags of coffee are piled up in this warehouse…..unbelievable, because thats 1380 metric tones! That guy with the "broom" type bean turner…my god 1380 tones of coffee and of course that's when it's dried, it's heavier before drying. It reminds me of "only fools & horses" when Trigger was asked about his broom, he said "I've had the same broom for the last 20 years and it's had 15 heads and 8 handles". How many heads and handles has that guy had!


The larger roaster used for the roasted coffee they sell locally. I don't know for this farm, but often, the best quality coffee gets exported (for us).


The farm shop, with their name, it's one I will now watch for when buying coffee. It's suprising how much work actually goes into the production of coffee, especially when you consider that the beans are sometimes hand picked (rather than the usual machine picking) on the smaller farms in Brazil and sometimes go through a hand grading stage, more often though they are machine graded..

All photos reproduced with permission from Topher….thanks. Any errors in the text, identification of machines and description of processes are all mine!