The cherries have been hand harvested as we talked about HERE, so what’s the next step?
First Step: the coffee cherries are put into the first of several flotation tanks. The cherries must now be run through our Estrada wet mill which removes the skin, the pulp and the mucilage layers from the coffee cherries utilizing water and centrifugal action. This process turns the cherries into what we call washed parchment. For our Semi-washed process we keep the mucilage layer on and for our Natural process we skip the pulping completely and cherries are sent directly to our drying deck where they are manually spread and dried for two to three weeks in the sun.
2nd Step: The parchment is then deposited into a 2nd flotation tank which again separates the bad (commonly known as floaters) from the good parchment. Once this process is completed, the heavier parchment sinks to the bottom of the tank and is ready to be pumped over to the drying pad.
3rd Step: Once at the drying pad via water filled tubes, the parchment is then run on the de-watering table which will remove any excess water.
4th Step: Coffee parchment is then spread out onto our drying deck manually using large rakes. We leave this here to flash dry for a duration of 12 hours.
The following day, the parchment is manually loaded into our Pinhalense mechanical driers for a period of 12-24 hours.
Why mechanical driers?
Because mechanically drying coffee speeds up the drying process and ensures that the coffee is dried to the appropriate moisture level in a timely manner without sacrificing quality of the coffee. This reduces the need for raking the coffee every 2 hours during a normal two week drying process.
What is the relevance of moisture levels and how does it affect coffee parchment quality?
Once coffee is dried between 9-12% moisture, the coffee achieves high stability for long term storage without the worry of spoilage which would greatly affect the final cup.
Final Step: Once coffee parchment drying is completed, it is put into 1000 lb bulk bags which will then be stored for a recommended period of 2-3 months for proper homogenization.
When this drying period is completed, the parchment is now ready for the Dry Mill….stay tuned for next week’s blog on this!
Check out the videos below for an exclusive and exciting view into the Pulping Process of Ka’u Coffee!