NOWEK COFFEE COMPANY
Producing coffee since 1984
Dark red cherries, with their aromatic oil and lower organic acid content, are noticeably more fragrant and are smooth yet firm to touch.
Due to our requirement for only the ripest cherries, cherry picking is deemed as the most important stage in our production process and those participating in the harvest are encouraged to only select such cherries (all cherries are hand picked).
From here, the cherries are relocated to our 'Wet Factory' to commence the next stage of the process.
The Wet Process or washed coffee process is heavily reliant on the use of water. The intent for this stage is to essentially remove the fruity flesh covering the beans.
Upon arrival at our wet factory, the cherries are weighed and then sorted by immersion in water. This is conducted in our immersion tank (picture an upside down pyramid) that functions purely through the use of gravity and pressure generated from the weight of the water. This allows unripe fruit to be separated from the ripe cherries (ripe cherries will sink).
wet process continued...
Once separated the cherries are put through the pulping machine in order to remove the skin and most of the pulp. The bean will still have a significant amount of fleshy pulp which must be removed. This is achieved through the 'ferment and wash method'. The remainder of the pulp is removed by breaking down the cellulose by fermenting the beans with microbes and then washing them in our fermenting tubs. The end of the fermentation is assessed by feel, as the parchment surrounding the bean loses its slimy texture and acquires a rougher pebbly feel. When the fermentation is complete, the beans are rinsed, the bean (now referred to as parchment) is relocated from the fermenting tubs to our sun drying fields.
To reduce the impact on the environment, we recycle the used water along with the shell and mucilage as compost to be used in soil fertilisation in our coffee seedlings initiative.
Sun drying parchment has the advantage of allowing air to circulate better around the beans promoting even drying.
To dry in the sun, the parchment is spread out in rows of tarpaulin and requires raking every one to two hours (depending on the weather) to promote even drying and prevent the growth of mildew. The beans are dried until the ideal moisture content is achieved then they are bagged and moved to the Dry Factory for the dry milling process.
If additional drying is not required then the first step is to remove what is left of the fruit from the bean i.e. the crumbly parchment skin (husk).
The parchment is funnelled through a large vat towards the hulling machine which gently beats at the coffee. This process essentially sees the removal and disposal of the yellow husk (outer shell) with the green bean remaining (albeit encased in a silver sleeve). Further polishing of the bean is an additional step in which any silver skin is removed through the polishing machine. This improves the appearance and eliminates a by-product of roasting called chaff.
Cleaning and sorting
The coffee now appears as green beans and will go through various phases to grade the coffee based on size and density.
This is achieved in two stages. Firstly, an air flow machine separates the light beans (defective) from the denser beans whilst removing any foreign objects that may have been mixed in during the drying stage. The beans are blown into the air; those that fall into the bins closest to the air source are denser whilst the lighter beans (most likely defective) are blown into bins further away. Secondly, a gravity separator machine shakes the beans on a tilted table so that the light and dense beans vibrate to opposite sides of the table further sorting the beans.
Inspect and bag
Final round of sorting is conducted by hand.
Finally the beans pass through to the hand sorting tables where the beans are sorted based on appearance (size and colour). The very best coffee may have been hand sorted two or three times.
From here our coffee is bagged into brown hessian bags and ready to export.