February 2023 update
Have you ever wondered how your coffee turns from plant to roasted beans? Here is a brief overview of the journey the coffee makes – from cultivation by smallholder farmers in Laos to your daily cup of tasty coffee.
In Laos, the harvest season lasts for three months, from October to December. For this season, more than one hundred smallholder farmers Slow works with collected a total of 2300 tons of coffee cherries. An average of 4.126 kg of coffee cherries per hectare were handpicked.
After picking the ripe, red coffee cherries, the farmers process the harvest immediately to maintain the freshness and quality of the coffee. They take the cherries to their processing units for the next steps. There, the cherries are wet milled to separate the beans from their pulp – as shown in the photo.
For the next coffee processing step, the farmers immerse the beans into tanks for fermentation, which helps develop the unique flavours and aromas of the coffee. The beans are then washed before drying.
Batch by batch, the beans are spread on the drying tables for two weeks. During the drying process, the farmers will take turns stirring the beans for proper drying. The beans are accurately checked for moisture content using a moisture metre.
Once the beans reach the optimal moisture level, the farmers pack and deliver them to the dry mill. From the 2300 tons of coffee cherries at the beginning of the process, now the volume has reduced to 420 tons of parchment coffee. At the dry mill, the beans are hulled to remove the final layer, revealing the green coffee beans. After that, the green beans are sorted according to their size and colour. Finally, the Slow Laos team packs the green beans into jute bags and shipped them to Denmark for roasting.
The coffee beans then get the intense and multifaceted flavours we love at our Danish partner roastery, with roast profiles carefully adjusted by our roastmaster. The freshly roasted beans get packed into aroma-safe bags and handed over for delivery to the office spaces.
From start to finish, coffee processing is a complex and multi-step process that requires dedication and a deep understanding of the coffee plant. Luckily, the farmers know the best way to cultivate good-tasting and nature-positive coffee that you love and enjoy – and pass that knowledge on from generation to generation.
Enjoy this unique specialty coffee experience!