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COFFEE'S SEED-TO-CUP PROCESS

COFFEE'S SEED-TO-CUP PROCESS

The coffee journey starts long before you get your drink at a cafe or brew a cup at home. The behind-the-scenes process is many months long, includes many helping hands, and involves thousands of miles traveled.

THE FIRST STEP IS FARMING

At Madcap, we have the privilege of working with many coffee producers from all over the world. Over the years, we’ve witnessed coffee farmers adapt to circumstances inflicted via the market, as well as the climate. With the growth of the specialty coffee market, farmers have implemented new agricultural practices for managing soil, crop placement, and selective harvesting — to name a few. Each new act shares the goal of increasing the quality of their harvest. 

Fresh coffee cherries on the plant

THE SECOND STEP IS PROCESSING

Within days of being harvested, coffee cherries are processed in preparation to be transported thousands of miles around the world. While there are a number of different processing practices, each works towards reducing the moisture content of the coffee seed to around 11% and removing the cherry skin and mucilage surrounding the seed. Often, as we’ve learned, the processing practices have been passed down generationally from farmer to farmer.  

Miguel Ortiz

THE THIRD STEP IS EXPORTING

While some coffee farms have the amenities for processing coffee, many rely on exporters for assistance. Exporting companies often have the facilities for milling, bagging, and storing the coffee in warehouses in preparation for shipment. They will also perform cuppings (process of evaluating the quality) in order to best find specific buyers for each coffee. We are grateful to consistently work with exporting teams who present us with excellent coffees and introduce new partnerships, while also coordinating shipping logistics.

THE FOURTH STEP IS IMPORTING

Shipping and receiving is an imperative part of the seed-to-cup process, as the majority of coffee consumption occurs outside of the origin of which the coffee was grown. On the receiving side is a team of importers. This group of professionals work with exporters to source coffees and connect roasting companies with producers. Importers assist with shipping logistics and maintain an import license, allowing them to import goods produced in a foreign country. Like exporters, importers also perform cuppings, allowing them the insight to determine ideal price points and find a market option for each coffee. 

THE PENULTIMATE STEP IS ROASTING

At Madcap’s HQ, we store green (unroasted) coffee in our warehouse. This back stock allows us to roast specifically what we need, ensuring only fresh batches are released for retail. The art of roasting highlights the complexity and terroir of where a coffee was grown. Each coffee has a unique roast profile, which is developed through trial batches and a number of cuppings. Once a coffee is roasted for production, our crew labels and packs each bag in preparation for shipment. Meanwhile, our marketing and sales team is working diligently to share the stories of the beautiful coffees on our menu.  

Madcap Coffee's roaster

THE FINAL STEP IS THE ONE YOU’RE PROBABLY MOST FAMILIAR WITH: BREWING

The art of brewing coffee has been expressed in both scientific and elementary fashions. No matter the approach, it is a very human experience, one that has been shared around the world for centuries. The process of allowing hot water to interact with freshly ground coffee creates the delicious beverage we all enjoy. When dialing in a coffee, baristas (home baristas as well!) manipulate variables — adjusting extraction and flow rate — in search of the optimal coffee recipe that highlights the many hands that allowed this experience to happen. 

Coffee being brewed in our Monroe cafe

Whether serving yourself or sharing with others, slowing down and enjoying the nuances of each coffee is the final step within the coffee value chain.

 

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