Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
There are no exact statistics, but it is estimated that 500 billion disposable coffee cups per year are produced in the world today. To have an idea, if we make a straight line with all these cups one after another, we could go around the world 1,360 times!
The model "takeaway" or "coffee to go" in disposable cups, is undoubtedly necessary and an important source of income for coffee shops, but we must be aware of its silent and unprecedented impact on the environment.
What it looks like a simple "paper or cardboard" cup, also contains a plastic lamina produced on the basis of petrol (polyethylene), which makes these containers more resistant and able to contain liquid. The problem is that the production of these disposable cups entails four fundamental problems: 1.- The indiscriminate felling of trees to produce cellulose and paper; 2.- Chemicals are emitted in the environment to produce plastic; 3.- Non-clean energy is used for transportation; 4.- The waste generated ends up in landfills or directly in our oceans, and it will take more than 50-100 years to breakdown.
Another necessary evil of the industry, are the GrainPro, Ecotact, Vacuum bags. Although its impact is not comparable to that of disposable cups by volume, we would like to know your experience in the use, reuse and recycling of this form of packaging so common today.
We believe that the specialty coffee industry should address these problems today, and seek solutions together. A very interesting solution that we have seen, is the incentive of reduced prices to customers who bring their own mug to order their takeaway. Small changes like this can help building a more loyal clientele and spread green awareness.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Giling Basah is a term widely used in Indonesia, which literally means “Wet hulled.” It is a characteristic and unique method for coffee processing, most commonly used in the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi.
In this method, the farmer selectively picks the ripest cherries. Before pulping, they perform a 1st density selection, where in a tank, tub or bucket with water, they will introduce the cherries to separate light cherries or floaters from the heavy ones or sinkers.
After the first selection, the outer skin and the pulp of the coffee cherries will be removed, using a locally built mechanical pulping machines, traditionally called "luwak". Right after pulping, overnight fermentation is needed for breaking the thick structure of the mucilage attached to the parchment. The following morning, the coffee is washed and there will be a 2nd selection, again by density, to remove the remaining floaters.
Now the coffee is ready to be delivered to the respective mill, and immediately the 1st drying will begins. Coffee will have a moisture content of about 45 to 50% at this point, and will be dried on patios or raised beds until 25 to 30% moisture content.
Hulling machines in Sumatra are bigger and more powerful than normal hulling machines, because they need to generate more power and friction to strip off the still parchment from the still wet green bean. After the hulling, the green bean will emerge swollen and with a whitish/blueish color.
For the second time, the green bean naked will go into drying again, until it reaches 12% moisture content.
The final stage of the process is grading; or what we call the Triple Pick (TP). This stage includes the gravitational grading, size grading and hand sorting.