Seed to Cup
HOW WE SOURCE AND ROAST OUR COFFEE
As a speciality coffee roaster, we believe that coffee is special. And because of this belief, when it comes to coffee, our philosophy is simple. We work with the best coffee producers and importers in the world to find the best quality green coffee, roast it with the utmost of care and attention and share it with the world.
When it comes to finding new and exciting coffees for us to bring in, we are always on the lookout for three things; quality, sustainability and transparency.
We want our coffee to taste the best. And that’s why we spend hours tasting through hundreds of coffees. The coffees that we do bring in might present an incredible expression of terroir, have unusual or exciting flavors, or just be super chuggable. They do all have one thing in common though - they excite us to no end.
But for us, coffee is more than just a drink.. Each cup has an incredible story behind it, and a chain of passionate people all working together to produce something extraordinary. And that’s why we work with importers and producers that share the same values as us. We value sustainability, whether that’s environmentally conscious farming practices, or paying a decent wage to coffee pickers. This helps to preserve the future of our industry, and protect the livelihoods of the millions of people that make their living through coffee around the world. Ensuring that we are being sustainable requires transparency, and that’s why all of the coffee we buy can be traced back to a single farm or co-operative.
Our roasting philosophy here is to highlight the flavors that are naturally inherent in the coffees that we buy. We believe that coffee has 100% of its potential the moment that it’s picked from the tree, and our job is to take away as little of that potential as possible.
To do this, we make sure we develop our coffees fully, locking in sweetness. But we’re also careful not to roast our coffees too far, as we want to taste the coffee, not the roast. Through this, our goal is to craft deliciously sweet, vibrant and complex coffees for everyone to enjoy. Get a more in depth look at the process below.
THE COFFEE CHERRY
Seed to cup is the process which the coffee cherry undergoes from when it first ripens, to after is has been roasted, ground and extracted into your cup of coffee.
Once the coffee cherries are harvested from the coffee plant, they are ready to be processed. Depending on natural resources available, they are either natural, washed, or honey processed.
TYPES OF PROCESSING
Processing break down Natural processed coffee is typically produced in Africa where the climate is drier. The coffee cherries are laid out on large concrete patios and dried in the sun.
Washed processed coffee is mostly produced in regions like Mexico and Guatemala where they have access to more water. In this process, the cherries are sent through a processor that removes the flesh (known as the mucilage) of the cherry through washing them.
Honey processed coffee is a rarity, but when done the mucilage of the cherry is left on during the drying process.
SORTING & RATING
After the coffee is processed, the cherry seeds are sorting according to weight, color, and size for uniformity.
Specialty coffee seeds are then rated by a coffee grader before exporting to the US. When the seeds arrive, they come in heavy burlap cases that are unloaded into the roastery. At this point the coffee seeds are a pale green color.
SMALL BATCH TESTING
Our roasters will begin by testing smaller batches of coffee before roasting an entire coffee type. When roasting our coffee beans here at Switchback, we roast to the point of caramelization (sugar extraction) from the beans, which means that our beans are a true medium roast.
Once the beans are roasted they are bagged and delivered by our roasters to both locations and offered on our retail shelves as well as behind the bar on two espresso offerings, batch brew, ice coffee, and three pour over offerings!