At Buongusto, we use only the finest ingredients. We source our coffee beans from around the world, and each bean has been carefully cultivated, processed, roasted, and sometimes ground into something approaching perfection. You can find more information about our coffee bean sources here.
Yet as with every great journey, our coffee’s trek from seed to savoury delight begins with the first step, and the first step is planting.
Coffea (the plant/small tree from which coffee beans are harvested) is grown in over 50 countries worldwide between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Each coffee-growing country will plant their coffea crop at the start of the rainy season, ensuring the soil is moist enough to give the young plant time to establish itself. Nowadays, most successful crops are grown in carefully monitored nurseries, allowing for the right amount of shade and watering in early growth and then sunlight as the plants become more mature.
Coffea can take anywhere from 3-5 years to grow a crop of ‘cherries’ (the fruit that hold the beans). The time taken depends on climate, the type of coffea, and elevation. For example, three quarters of coffee crop grown worldwide is of the Arabica genus. This is normally grown high elevation (around 600m-3000m above sea level). This is the most preferred type of bean and requires rich volcanic soil. It grows more slowly and ultimately results in a more flavoursome cup of coffee. It is, however, very fragile, and very susceptible to disease and pest predation.
Other types of bean, like Robusta, grow faster but traditionally have a more bitter taste and are therefore less popular (although as you will see from our product range, excellent for blending and bringing a fuller taste to your coffee). They can also been grown more easily at lower elevations (200m-800m above sea level) and are less likely to fall prey to insects or blight.
Once the cherries are ripe, they turn a bright red. They are then picked one of two ways:
- Hand picked: This is expensive, hard work, but is still the most common method of picking cherries. Workers are paid at a piece rate (i.e. depending on how much they have picked). Most countries only have one harvesting a year, but the benefit of hand-picking means that the same plants can be picked multiple times as the cherries ripen (the unripened ones are simply left on the plant).
- Strip picked: This is a popular method in Brazil, the largest coffee grower in the world. Strip picking is where a machine picks everything all at once and then the defective beans are removed in a later sorting process.
Now that the cherries are picked, they are ready for the next step: processing…
If the suspense is killing you, why not skip a few steps and enjoy your coffee sooner?
You can find our range of delicious products here.