Why Don't You Always Have My Favorite Coffee?
Have you ever gone into your local shop, excited to enjoy your favorite coffee, only to be told that it's no longer available because it is not in season? That seems like a pretty crazy response. How does coffee have a season?
Coffee is a Fruit
The most basic way to think about coffee, is to think of it as produce. Coffee is just like the bananas you buy at the grocery store. Therefore, it is picked just like any other fruit.
Where things differ is that coffee is actually the seed of a cherry. Luckily the coffee seed (bean) is dried and because of this, it maintains a rather long shelf life, if you think of it in the terms of produce. Coffee, prior to roasting, is generally good for 6-12 months. From the time the coffee is in its green (unroasted) state it coffee begins to “fade’, which means it is losing its unique qualities. And those unique qualities are what really separates a decent coffee from an exceptional one.
How Coffee Gets to the Shop
The process of getting coffee from seed to cup looks something like this:
- Coffee tree is grown
- Coffee is picked when ripe
- Coffee is processed (the process of removing the cherry skin and drying the coffee out)
- Coffee is packed and exported
- Coffee is delivered to Counter Culture and roasted
- Coffee is enjoyed
This process can take up to a year! A coffee tree could be in “season” for a couple of months where cherries are being picked, and then you still have months until you enjoy the coffee.
So let’s look at the coffee currently a Westside and see how this plays out.
Our newest coffee is Sipacapa. It's from Guatemala. Sipacapa was harvested from December 2015 - February 2016. Meaning that the cherries were handpicked for the better part of three months. In March, processing began (I will go into detail about coffee processing in a later blog). Next the coffee wass transported by boat. And finally, it arrived at CCC in May. The roasters did their thing -- and now, it’s being enjoyed by customers (you!) in June.
Because this coffee will eventually fade, and for many other reasons, Counter Culture does not have an unlimited supply of Sipacapa. Eventually, this coffee will run out and be unavailable until next summer.
At first this can seem like an inconvenience because people want to enjoy their favorite coffee every morning, but once you understand seasonality there can be excitement and anticipation for your favorite coffee to be in season. You can have your wintertime coffee and your summertime coffee to look forward to.
Don’t miss out on Sipacapa this season, come by and order a cup today. This coffee will give you notes of chocolate, walnuts and brown sugar. I know you'll love it!