This past weekend I attended the Specialty Coffee Association of Americas (SCAA) 23rd Annual Exposition in Houston, Texas. As a newbie to the coffee world, I did not know what to expect. Ill be honest, my interaction with coffee has been limited to either buying a cup of coffee from a shop, or brewing a batch at home. I always thought coffee just grew in a field, it was harvested, and then shipped to grocery stores and cafs to serve. So when I walked into the SCAA Exposition I was shocked! I had no idea how many people and hours are involved in producing one cup of coffee. Nor did I realize how each step of the journey builds on the previous step. Here is quick look into the journey from seed to cup.
It begins with coffee producers. Producers spend years cultivating coffee crops. It may take 3 to 4 years for a coffee plant to reach maturity. Some of the booths shared pictures of coffee farms, and the harvest process of coffee crops. It is remarkable to see the harvesting of coffee and how individuals hand pick beans. The devotion to quality coffee continues after harvest as the beans must be processed. Pulp must be removed from the beans, and then the beans must be dried for days. Yes, all this work goes into coffee before it even heads to the roasters!
Roasters then take the processed beans and roast them to unlock the flavor. This is a process that is considered an art that takes time and skill to master. Once beans are roasted they are packaged and sent to cafs and stores, but the journey does not stop here.
Manufacturers of grinders and brewing equipment are part of the journey too, thats where BUNN comes in. The equipment matters in how the coffee tastes. The equipment should help manage the water to coffee contact time, the water temperature and the turbulence of the grounds, to ensure extraction of ideal flavor from the coffee.
Caf owners and baristas perfect the skill of preparation and service to deliver a great coffee experience.
I never would have thought coffee takes a journey to reach my cup, but it does. Walking through the SCAA Exposition it made the seed to cup journey come alive. Exhibitors were eager and excited to share how they fit into the journey, and I was very eager to learn.
The SCAA Exposition was a truly amazing learning experience. I was able to see how all the different segments of the coffee industry work together to take coffee from a seed, to a delicious cup of coffee. I realize that this was just a glimpse into the coffee industry and I have so much more to learn!