How to turn coffee cherries into coffee beans: Step 1

My good friend Dave sent me two kilos of coffee cherries in the mail. Giving me the perfect opportunity to try my hand at processing coffee from fruit to cup. Today was pulping day. The cherries had started to ferment. I read this article, and decided to go with the wet processing option – or at least a low-tech version. Here, for your vicarious coffee preparing pleasure, is the process… in pictures (from my phone).

I started with two kilos of coffee fruit in a plastic bag. I put these in a tub and started squeezing the berries out one by one. This was a slow process.

Embracing the “wet process” method I filled the tub with water and started pressing the beans together and mashing them, imagining my hands were the feet of the hired help at a French vineyard.

It still took a long time. But, after mashing and bashing my way through the bucket I ended up with:

I weighed them. After soaking in water for a while (and they were noticeably waterlogged) they weighed 972 grams. They’ll lose a fair bit before roasting, and a further 20 percent during roasting. It’s not a hugely efficient process.

And now they’re soaking. For 12-48 hours.


David says:

Is labour the main expense in commercial coffee? We did this process a couple of years ago, and like you found it to be heavily time-intensive.

Goannatree says:

It’ll be interesting to see whether your finished product lives up to your expectations. Looking forward to seeing the whole process.

jon says:

I’m so totally impressed that you can take the time to both do this and record it. After so much effort is seems a shame to make coffee out of them.