What goes into a cup of Fairtrade coffee? (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Producing a Cup of Fairtrade Coffee

Lots of work goes into your daily cup of coffee! This infographic serves to show how many individuals put in hard work to put a hot (or cold) coffee in your hands! Buying Fairtrade coffee means these people are treated fairly and paid what they deserve!

1. Planting

  • Coffee bushes grown in the tropics can grow to be 3–3.5 metres tall
  • Most coffee is grown at higher elevation, but not high enough for freezing or cold temperatures
  • It takes 3-5 years for a coffee plant to begin to produce fruits. They can be harvested for between 50 to 60 years once fully grown

2. Harvesting the Cherries

  • After the coffee cherries begin to ripen, after about 9 months, the ripest cherries are often picked by hand by farmers. Farmers usually cycle through all the trees every 7-10 days, ensuring they pick all the cherries before they become overripe. 
  • Experienced pickers average approximately 100 to 200 pounds of coffee cherries a day, which will produce 20 to 40 pounds of coffee beans

3. Processing the Cherries

  • The “Wet Method” is the most common way to process coffee cherries
    • The freshly-picked cherries are passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the bean
    • Then the beans are separated by weight as they pass through water channels
    • The beans are transferred to large water-filled tanks, where they will soak for up to two days to remove a slimy outer layer

4. Drying the Beans

  • Once the beans have been separated from the cherries, they will be dried for several days, typically on a large surface of concrete or stone

5. Milling the Beans

  • Once fully dried, the beans are hulled to remove the extra dried skin around the bean
  • They are then sorted by weight and size, and defective (rotten, unhulled, underripe, etc.) beans are removed

6. Exporting the Beans

  • Hulled beans are called “green coffee”, and are exported to hundreds of coffee roasters in Canada and elsewhere
  • Canada imports over $50 million in green coffee each year

7. Roasting the Beans

  • Most roasting machines maintain a temperature of 550 degrees Farenheight
  • The machines continuously turn the beans to prevent burning for several hours
  • Once the beans reach an ideal inside temperature, they are rapidly cooled by air or water to stop the roasting process

8. Crafting the Coffee

  • Coffee beans are ground to various sizes depending on how they will be brewed — there are over two dozen ways to brew coffee!
    • The finer the grind, the more quickly the coffee should be prepared and the less time it should spend in water

9. Enjoying!

  • Two thirds of Canadians enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day


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