The Final Fun Steps to the First Taste of Our Own Homegrown Costa Rica Coffee

When we last left our nascent organic coffee small-time sodbusters, we had picked our first real harvest of beans from the 3rd year plot of about 200 plants, of which about 20% are doing really well and the others so-so. This is the follow-up to the first round of post-processing after removing the surrounding cherry, fermenting off the slimy second layer and letting the beans have a good sunbath until dry.

Our cleaning lady, Ligia, had all sorts of ideas for us about different methods of initial coffee processing and volunteered her food mill for removing the final hard shell around the beans. She processes about 5 cajuelas of her own coffee each year (over 100 lbs of raw cherries), so she knows of what she speaks.

Our Tica cleaning lady helping mill our coffee
Ligia at the food mill

So, after one morning's cleaning, she and Tamara took our small sack of dried beans down to her house to remove the outer shells.

Corona food mill used for removing coffee bean husk
Food mill with used blender jar for the funnel

The coffee mill must be set to put just the right amount of pressure on the beans to crack the outer shell without crushing the beans themselves.

Once that is done, it's necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Ligia, again the experience hand at this, made a quick job of this step by repeated tosses using a flat metal tray.

Tossing the coffee bean husks from a tray
Tossing the mix to remove the shelled bean husks

I wasn't expecting her to also roast the remaining coffee beans (with a little chaff mixed in) as I had other ideas for that, but I'm glad she went ahead with it.

Tamara was watching carefully over her shoulder and they did quick taste tests as the bean began to brown.

Roasting coffee beans in large kettle on wood stove
Roasting coffee beans the old-fashioned way

Ligia would surely have given us a "french roast" but we prefer a lighter color and to preserve more of the caffeine, so Tamara called her off when she thought it was close enough to perfection.

Smoke rising from roasting coffee beans
Can you smell the aroma?

Imagine my surprise when Tamara came home after a couple of hours with a still warm, partly rusty tin coffee can full of our first pickings, roasted and aromatic.

I'm not sure if the wood fire didn't add a bit of pungency, but the first batch of fresh brew did have a bit of a bite to it. Perhaps a connoisseur would turn up their nose, but it tasted like the best cup of coffee ever. No bias there, I assure you.

There is just nothing to compare to drinking coffee you grew and tended to yourself, even if it probably cost you about $50/lb. If you dared to total expenses and time, that is. :D

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. We will use this as a guide when and if our plants ever fruit. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey