From Bean to Brew: The Journey to Bring You the Perfect Cup of Coffee
It’s no secret that Americans love their coffee. Today, the number of Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis is the highest since 2012, according to the National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends 2018 report.1 Coffee culture in the U.S. is soaring, thanks in large part to younger generations—nearly half of millennials drink gourmet coffee beverages daily.1 While more and more consumers enjoy coffee as part of their daily rituals, many do not realize the complexity behind producing the perfect brew.
Today’s consumers, driven by millennials, are demanding to know the story behind their food and beverages, including origin, growing practices and processing. From bean to brew, S&D Coffee & Tea manages each step of the process with integrity and expertise. As one of the largest foodservice coffee roasters in the United States, we take pride in producing scalable quantities of consistent quality coffee, from small batches to full-scale commercial runs, day after day. Here’s how we do it.
Sourcing the Best Coffee Beans
Our premium coffee starts by using sustainable sourcing guidelines to select the best coffee beans from premier growing regions throughout the world. Traveling to the source, our team of experts researches farms, talks to growers, tours mills and, of course, tastes and buys the best beans.
The next stop in our journey is harvesting. Coffee beans are actually seeds in the coffee cherry fruit that grows on coffee bushes. In order to prepare the coffee beans for shipping, the flesh of the coffee cherry, also called pulp, is removed by different processes. A couple different methods are used to extract the coffee bean from the coffee cherry fruit. The extraction method used to obtain coffee beans impacts the flavor of the coffee once the beans are roasted and brewed.
The natural sun-dried process allows the fruit to ferment around the coffee bean before it is removed. In contrast, the washed process extracts the beans from the coffee cherries soon after harvest. The result of both of these pulp-removing processes is green coffee beans, which are then dried on expansive patios, bagged in large sacks and exported to our S&D roasting facilities in North Carolina.
Receiving to Roasting
Once the beans arrive at one of our roasting facilities in Concord, North Carolina, they undergo a rigorous quality control process that begins with one of many tastings, known as cuppings. Much like winemakers, S&D’s Q-graders and cuppers are true coffee connoisseurs. Our cuppers taste the coffee throughout each stage for quality, flavor and consistency. An expert Q-grader can sample hundreds of coffee varietals a day and detect subtle tasting notes between them. They are also responsible for creating delicious blends of beans from different origins.
A key determinant of a coffee’s flavor is the roasting process. An art and a science, our green coffee beans are roasted at a high temperature for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, until they become aromatic full-flavored brown beans. While the perfect cup of joe comes down to personal preference, quality control to ensure the best possible beans is a science. S&D’s quality assurance testing evaluates the coffee’s color, moisture content and oxygen levels to achieve consistent flavor and finish.
Brewing the Perfect Cup
The final stage is grinding the beans into the perfect consistency for our customers’ needs. The size of the grind makes a difference in the beverage preparation method. As a rule of thumb, the finer the grind, the more quickly the coffee should be prepared.
From bean to brew, we make sure our coffee meets the highest standards at every stage in its journey, so that when it arrives to you, you can feel confident knowing you are serving a consistent, high-quality cup of coffee, every time. The S&D coffee journey ends in thousands of restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, schools, healthcare facilities and other establishments across the U.S. where it is brewed and proudly served to consumers as a flavorful, hot, perfectly balanced cup of coffee.
1 National Coffee Association USA, National Coffee Drinking Trends 2018