After picking coffee beans, it’s washed and dried at Bodgi washing station. Then it will be brought to the dry mill of Kerchanshe, which is located on the edge of the capital city Addis Ababa. At the dry mill the parchment coffee will be put first into the huller. The machine removes the shell (or parchment), so the green seed will remain. This is the green coffee which can be roasted, but first there will be a selection process.
After hulling the coffee, it will go through the de-stoner. This machine separates stones, twigs and other junk from the green seeds. Thereafter the coffee goes into a machine to be screened. The coffee ends up in a big sieve that is shaking a lot. Because of that, most of the coffee will fall into a sieve with smaller holes, so it will fall into a sieve with even smaller holes. The smaller and more compact the coffee is, the higher the quality will be. Through this process, the coffee can be divided into three classes.
The coffee will go through pipes into the next machine. It has a vibrating plate which runs obliquely. It may be sound weird, but the best coffee stays on top of the plate and the lightest coffee are thrown into the air and fall down. Because of this process, the coffee can be divided into different classes.
The final check-up
During the last quality check the coffee will be selected on colour. After that, it will be put onto a huge conveyor belt, so dozens of women can do the final check-up. The ladies are looking between the coffee beans for defects. Then it will be packed into bags which is printed with all the information about the coffee. After that these can be sewn, so it’s ready for transport.
It is able to adapt the steps on this part of the process to the buyer’s need. That depends on, for example, what quality is desired. When the customer wants extra high quality, the ladies on the conveyor belt will sometimes get more time to remove defects from the coffee.
After the process
The coffee will be send from the dry mills to the harbour with trucks, so it can be shipped with large containers to the Netherlands. After it arrives, trucks will deliver it to the different roasteries. In short, the coffee has a long road to travel before it’s delivered at our roastery. Then we can roast the green beans into the brown coffee bean, which everyone knows.
Inge is one of the owners of Back to Black coffee. Because she visited Ethiopia last June, she saw the wet process of specialty coffee on the spot with her own eyes. In this blog she will discuss the last part of the process.