On International Coffee Day, celebrating the unsung heroes of the coffee industry

  • Nikki Massie
  • Sep 29, 2020

If you live in the United States, you may have just celebrated National Coffee Day, September 29. However, October 1 is International Coffee Day. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world, the coffee industry is among the many industries that have been disrupted, affecting the lives and incomes of coffee farming families around the world.

When you think of coffee production, you may think of coffee farmers, companies that sell coffee, and the shop that makes your favorite cup of joe. But this year, as the entire coffee community works harder than ever to keep up production of the drink we love so much, we want to celebrate a few of the unsung heroes of the coffee industry.

Running a mill is physically strenuous but is an important initial step to ensure coffee beans can develop the full flavor that you know and love.

Mill Workers

Coffee grows on a shrubby tree inside a cherry. When that cherry turns bright red, it's time to pick it and start the process of extracting the coffee beans and getting them ready to be sold to a roaster. One of the first steps is the process of de-pulping, or extracting the coffee beans from the surrounding cherry and removing any pulp. Once the beans separated from the pulp, they usually undergo a short period of fermentation, followed by a washing. Once washed, the beans are dried, usually in the sun. Once dried there is still a fine skin known as parchment that adheres to the beans that is removed before shipping.

Most of these processes are conducted by mill workers, who run the machines necessary to get the coffee ready to go on to the next stage of processing. Each step of coffee production is crucial to the end-value of the coffee beans. Running a mill is physically strenuous but is an important initial step to ensure coffee beans can develop the full flavor that you know and love.

Coffee Sorters

The price a coffee farmer gets for her beans – and her income as a whole – is closely tied to the appearance of the coffee beans. Broken and defective beans reduce the overall quality and price of coffee and so they must be sorted out. Bean sorting (as shown in the picture above) is strenuous on the eyes as it is often done by hand. It's also a job most commonly done by women in a coffee farming community. Some use tables, some sort beans in baskets on the ground. It takes hours and hours but the end result is a good quality batch of coffee beans that sells for a good price and makes a delicious cup of coffee.

Coffee cuppers perform an important service to both coffee farmers and you, as the consumer.

Coffee Cuppers

This job may sound like it involves serving coffee to people, but it is not! Coffee cuppers perform an important service to both coffee farmers and you, as the consumer.

When coffee is brought to a cooperative to be collectively sold, a price must be agreed upon for the beans. One important factor in that price is the quality and flavor profile of the coffee beans. There are many dimensions to the flavor of coffee and it is a coffee cupper's job to taste batches of coffee to identify flavor characteristics of the coffee, in order to assign it a quality score. That score factors into the final price of the coffee.

For the coffee farmer, good quality beans mean a good price and a good price means families can support themselves, buy food, and possibly put money away for the times of the year when they would normally experience food scarcity.

For the consumer, the quality not only ensures you get a great cup of coffee from coffee beans but also the flavors the cuppers identify are used to describe the coffee so that you know exactly what to expect from your brew.

The word “barista” is actually borrowed from the Italian word for “bartender” because bartenders in Italy were trained to serve coffee as well as alcoholic beverages.

Baristas

Did you know that while baristas are now prolific in coffee houses around the U.S., and around the world, it's actually a fairly new profession? The word “barista” is actually borrowed from the Italian word for "bartender" because bartenders in Italy were trained to serve coffee as well as alcoholic beverages.

Now there are coffeehouses everywhere and they are staffed by baristas who do so much more than pour your cup of coffee! In addition to mastering the timing, technique and craft involved in making the perfect espresso or latte art, baristas are trained to know coffee – its origins, its flavor profiles of making perfect espressos and latte and the common language that the industry uses to describe coffee worldwide.

Celebrate International Coffee Day by supporting LWR Farmers Market Coffee

These are just a few of the many people who get your coffee from crop to cup. Each person works hard to preserve the quality and flavor of the beans until the moment it is ground, brewed and served to you.

This International Coffee Day, celebrate by supporting LWR Farmers Market Coffee – it's coffee direct from the farmer to you! That means farmers get a strong, up-front price for their beans and share in the profit from the sale of their coffee. By purchasing farmer-direct, you help coffee farmers earn a more steady income so that they can support their families and invest in making even better coffee for you.

Happy International Coffee Day!

Enjoy delicious, premium quality coffee directly from the farmers you support!

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CREATED BY
Nikki Massie, Sep 29, 2020 email

 

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