Coffee: Everything I Didn’t Know About My Favorite Drink

Did you know that coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity?  (The first is petroleum.) The world drinks 2.25 billion cups of coffee each and every day.

The word coffee comes from the Arabic language and means “wine of the bean” but coffee is a product from the fruit pit rather than a bean.

While in Salento, Colombia we took advantage of the opportunity to tour a coffee plantation and witnessed many steps the coffee bean takes before they are purchased and poured into the espresso machine.  I was surprised to learn of the intense, manual labor required for my favorite drink.

The coffee bean in its many different.stages of processing.


The plants get their start in a cold frame and are transplanted by hand.



Coffee is grown on steep hillsides interplanted with banana trees which provide shade and a secondary crop. The ripe coffee cherries are always picked by hand since the cherries don’t ripen at the same time.


Depending on their variety the ripe coffee cherries are either yellow or red.

The cherries are poured into this machine to extract the pit from the flesh.


The pits are washed and “floaters” are skimmed off.



The coffee “beans” need to dry. In coffee growing regions they can be seen spread out in any large area, including streets, and need to be covered or rolled up when it rains.

After drying, a papery skin is removed – and then the beans are sorted.


Instead of fancy roasting machinery, we patiently watched as these coffee beans were roasted in a pan, enjoying the aroma as we anxiously awaited the freshest cup of coffee of our lives!


The dark brown roasted beans were then ground by hand.


Again, no fancy machinery was used to brew. Boiling water was poured over the freshly ground coffee measured into paper filters placed over containers to catch the extracted coffee.


Finally, sit back and enjoy!

Presently we are on a road trip through the Scottish Highlands. We can get a good cup of coffee, but we are paying double what we paid in Portugal. Tune in next week for photos from this lush land.

4 responses to “Coffee: Everything I Didn’t Know About My Favorite Drink

  1. What a process! Very interesting.
    I love reading about all of your adventures. Quite informational, educational and fun.
    As always thanks for taking us along!


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