ABOUT OUR COFFEE
We are very hands on with the farms we get our coffee from and the beans they grow. Sustainability and fair trade are very important factors for Brooklyn Bean. Additionally, how the coffee is grown and processed plays a big role in the quality and taste.
Growing the Beans
At Brooklyn Bean, we use only 100% Arabica Coffee beans. Arabica plants only grow in tropical regions in regions, mostly in the mountains of Latin America. Coffee grown at higher elevations are most often higher quality. Higher quality beans give more complex and unique flavor notes.
Coffee plants are evergreen shrubs that can grow up to 20 feet tall. The coffee beans are actually inside of a coffee cherry surrounded by a sweet pulp called musalge. The cherries turn from light green to a dark shiny red when they are ready to be harvested and since they cannot ripen off the plant special attention needs to be paid to the color.
Processing The Beans
The beans need to be extracted from the coffee cherries as soon as possible and then dried. This is called “processing”. High quality farms don’t even wait a day from when the cherries are picked to extract the beans as starts to effect the flavor. Most coffee farmers don’t do their own processing and need to transport the cherries to a processor. The carts and vehicles that the beans are transported in come in all shapes, sizes and conditions. We came across a farmer with a beautifully and intricately designed cart pulled by oxen.
It is as this stage a small amount of beans are roasted and tested for quality as process known as cupping. All coffee beans go through a rating process from grade 1 to 5 that judges color, size and imperfections. The very highest rated beans are Specialty grade or Grade 1 and have almost no imperfections at all and must be above a specified size. The next level is Premium Grade, Grade 2 are also of extremely high quality and are only allowed 8 imperfections per 300 gr. In Grade 3 or Exchange many more defects are allowed. In Standard Grade, Grade 4 more than 50% of the beans can be undersized effecting taste and Grade 5 or Off Grade is bottom of the barrel coffee that you don’t want to drink. Brooklyn Bean uses a mixture of Select and Premium Grade coffees.