There is a unique inter-relationship between water and coffee that goes way back. Being a coffee farmer and a barista, the difference between these two is simple. The farmer takes all the water out of coffee, and the Barista puts it all back in. I also noticed that there are no “billionaire coffee farmers” but there are a few of them in the coffee beverage business. Let’s explore this water/coffee idea starting with the blossom.
After a several months of dry season, the rains of spring come. The water soaks into the volcanic soil and the beautiful coffee flowers begin to bud. Plumped-up by the humid rains of the Kona summer, these buds become bright red cherries as they ripen and fill with sweet juice. The entire time, from blossom to cherry, the coffee is soaking up water. Ripe cherries are plucked during the fall harvest season. This begins the process of removing the water from the coffee.
About 60% of the water is removed when the cherries are pulped. The skin and juices are removed. Then the beans are soaked and washed in clean water before being spread out in the sun to dry. Another 30% of water is lost in the drying process. Dry coffee beans that are stored in their natural parchment shell have about 10% moisture content. Roasting takes the rest of the water out of the bean.
Now comes the fun part! After grinding the beans we put the water back in. If you love hot coffee or cold brew, the grounds will give up their flavor and character when soaked in . . . you guessed it, pure water. We must keep our water clean for the sake of the bean!