On the Mountainside

Have you ever seen a coffee seed?

The answer is yes!

The coffee beans you grind are actually ground up coffee seeds.

When coffee seeds are planted they grow into bushy trees that can be harvested over many years.

Cherries

The fruit from a coffee tree is called a cherry. Within the cherry are the seeds that we love as coffee beans, however, each of these seeds must undergo a lengthy process before it gets to you in your cup.

Altitude and Volcanic Soil

What is it that adds all of the flavor to coffee beans? It starts with the soil and elevation.

At Canopy Coffee we strive to bring you shade-grown coffee that grows at elevation in volcanic or rich rainforest soil.

Soils found on and around volcanoes have unique compositions that contribute more minerals and flavor, while the volcanic slopes themselves improve runoff and drainage.

Coffee that is shade grown reduces soil erosion, which greatly improves soil quality. Leaves and foliage that fall from surrounding trees provide important nutrients to the coffee plants, also imparting flavor notes unique to the shade-trees. Shade-grown coffee is also beneficial because it often eliminates the need for fertilizer.

Altitude or elevation also contributes to the quality and flavor of the coffee beans. High altitudes are ideal for growing coffee plants because the cooler temperatures slow the growth cycle, allowing for a much longer maturation process. This creates a fuller, richer, more distinct flavor.

Harvest

Handmade

That's the best way to describe your bag of premium Canopy Coffee. Once nature finishes imparting all of the flavor from the earth, it's time for the farm to move the beans to the next stage. With specialty coffee, the only way to move forward is by hand, one bean at a time. Due to the high elevation and rugged terrain, each plant must be harvested by hand.

Coffee cherries, not cranberries

A large pile of coffee cherries is quite reminiscent of a cranberry harvest. But in this case, the fruit portion is actually a waste product because what we care about is the caffeine infused seeds within the fruit.

Processing the cherries

Washed, natural, dry, honey — these are the methods for processing the cherries. They refer to how the seed is extracted from the fruit.

Washed coffees concentrate the processing on the bean and the flavor inside, dependent on the external factors the bean has absorbed during its growth cycle. This process allows for the origin and environmental conditions to add to the flavor, which is why so many specialty coffees are washed. The process uses water to sort the ripe from the unripe cherries. Next they are fed into a de-pulping machine and the remaining coffee beans are then fermented in water before being dried.

Natural or Dry processed coffees involve leaving the fruit on the bean during the drying period before sending the dried cherries through a de-pulping process. Consistency can be difficult to achieve using this method, but many believe that better flavor can be achieved and it is efficient due to the lack of water used. This method was developed in Ethiopia, the birthplace of the Arabica bean.

Honey processing, also known as pulped natural processing, constitutes picking and sorting the cherries and removing the skins and pulps, however, they are dried without washing off the sticky and sweet outer layer of the fruit. This method is strongly linked to Costa Rica and has become a very scientific process that produces rounded acidity, intense sweetness, and a complex mouthfeel.

Green Coffee

Not yet roasted

Green coffee is pre-roasted coffee. Once it has been dried, large burlap or jute sacks are used to store the green coffee beans and allows farms and distributors to ship or collect large quantities of coffee from around the world. Special lining is typically put in bags to extend the life of the beans and preserve freshness before roasting. Green Coffee can last between 6 and 12 months, in many cases longer, depending on how they are stored and the conditions in which they are kept.

Commodity trade

It seems like everything has been turned into a tradeable resource these days and coffee has not been left out. Traded as a commodity, an active and growing market exists for green coffee beans. The more developed the coffee industry becomes, the more opportunities this ultimately creates for increasing the profits and sustainability of coffee farmers globally. As local farmers become better educated and have access to more advanced technology, more efficient and environmentally-friendly practices can be put in place. These opportunities create a seemingly endless frontier for discovering new coffee profiles, flavors, and techniques, which make the world of coffee an adventure that has something for everyone!

Roasting Coffee

Time for some more flavor

The beans have made it from the farm to the roaster and the journey has been quite intense! Now it’s time for some more flavor! If you think back to when that bean was first coming off the plant, we learned that the specific soil and elevation of that singular location imparted very unique flavors to the coffee cherry.

Some flavors in a bean are naturally exposed while others actually require heat to develop. Roasting is the process that changes the hundreds of natural chemicals in a coffee bean to add flavor.

Roasting process

You can do this in a pan at home, but achieving a consistent, thorough roast requires time, technology, artistry, and patience. The skill of roasting is definitely an art. Software is used to map out a roast, but it still takes the trained hand of someone who has had many years of experience. Fortunately for us, and you as our fellow coffee explorer, we’ve partnered with an award-winning roastery, who has a knack for discovering incredible flavor profiles!

Light — Medium — Dark — French

What’s your favorite roast profile? Do you know what all of them mean? To put it simply, it’s all a function of temperature and time. The higher temperature and more time green coffee receives while roasting, the darker it will get. This makes sense in how coffee roasts are sometimes described: light, medium, dark, or French.

Lighter roasts generally highlight the natural flavors of any bean, including the fruity, citrus, and floral flavors. As you move into a medium roast profile, caramelization and chocolate and toffee tones are introduced. Darker roasts are designed to enhance these stronger flavors, while a French roast is an extreme of the dark roast, and is the least acidic.

A lot is going on during the roasting process.  All of the natural chemicals we’ve been talking about start to come alive! Their flavors are enhanced and new ones are created throughout the process, depending on our function of time and temperature.

At Canopy Coffee we tend to move away from focusing on labeling our profiles as we are committed to developing profiles with our roasting partner that not only bring to life the vibrant flavor every origin has to offer, but also to roast an origin to the profile that best reflects its premium potential. We are launching with a light to medium palette of profiles in our Mexican, Costa Rican, and Ethiopian offerings, but remember to sign-up and join our Canopy Coffee Discovery Team to be the first to know when we discover new darker profiles or more excellent light and medium profiles on our expeditions!

Grinding Coffee

Now it's your turn!

You've secured premium whole beans. They have been through an incredible journey and they are finally ready for your magic touch. Remember, these are specialty coffee beans, so treat them well. The more precise you are from this point going forward, the more you'll get to enjoy the finished product. Many people miss the importance of the next two steps, but if you learn to master grinding and brewing coffee at home then you’ll reap the rewards of the complex and flavorful journey your premium coffee beans have been on.

How to grind your coffee

First and foremost, only grind what you’ll be using per serving. This is very important because as soon as you grind your beans, their shelf-life begins to decrease. All of those flavors that took so long to develop will drop their high notes within a few days to a week.

Store your whole bean coffee in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place for optimum flavor retention and freshness.

We recommend a burr grinder in place of a blade grinder if you are able. Burr grinders produce a much more consistent grind versus a blade grinder. Even a small hand-held burr grinder is superior to a luxury blade grinder.

With a hand-held grinder you’ll also only grind what you really need. But if you’re in a hurry or don’t like that extra bit of labor then find a nice electronic burr grinder.

Grind size is also important. It’s based on the type of brewing method you plan to use. French presses use the most coarse grind, while Chemex coffee makers and pour overs use a medium coarse grind. Drip machines and Aeropresses use medium fine grinds.

Brewing Coffee

Can you smell the coffee

It’s time for the most exciting part! The last step before you get to enjoy an amazing cup of Canopy Coffee! Pay attention to the subtle details here and you’ll be able to enjoy and appreciate all the flavors and notes waiting in every bean.

Brewing methods differ slightly between the different coffee makers, but generally it is a ratio of 10 grams of ground coffee to 170 grams of high quality water. In the U.S. we are more comfortable with ounces, however, grams give you the precision to match the perfect balance of coffee to water. With that being said, personal preference can differ, so you should experiment with the ratio to figure out what works best for you, and this is part of the adventure of coffee!

Use a brewing machine or let the grounds steep in the water for 4 minutes before cooling your brew to a drinkable temperature.

Use filtered water that still contains minerals. If you completely remove the minerals in your water, it can make it difficult to brew very good coffee. The combination of minerals in the water and the natural chemicals from the ground coffee create that elixir that you’ve been waiting for.

Another tip is to wet your filter paper with warm water before adding your ground coffee. This simple step will remove any flavor transferred from the paper and improve the purity of your coffee.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the spoils of your coffee adventure, a premium cup of Canopy Coffee!

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