Crop to Cup Adventure


This week, I went on my first trip to a coffee warehouse! Taylor from Crop to Cup invited me and a few other colleagues to Continental’s warehouse in Kearny, NJ. Bob, the director of coffee, talked us through the elaborate steps it takes for coffee to get shipped from point A to point B throughout the world. Just like every other step from seed to cup, shipping and storing is its own special art within the world of making coffee.

breaking the sealloading
Unlocking the container, and loading coffee onto palettes.

Some of my favorite details of the warehouse were the tools specific to this part of the coffee trade. First, there are hooks men use to move the coffee bags. Rather than one person lifting a 60 Kilo bag, two men work together at either side of a jute bag, using all four hands, to lift the bag at each corner with hooks that don’t
damage the bag, and move it to its new destination.

Green Coffee Sampler
Second, it was my first time seeing a coffee sampler in action, which opens and extracts green coffee from a jute bag, without damaging the bag.

super bags
Finally I saw my first “super” bags of coffee – bags that are as small as 400 lbs, or as large as an entire shipping container. The containers are filled by vacuum.

We were there to open Taylor’s newest container of coffee from Uganda. I think we were all expecting an unceremonious unlocking and then schlepping, but the crew was very patient and gracious with the tourists watching their coffee (it smelled like bannanas!) come tumbling out of the container.
And they took our picture. That’s Taylor, Donny, Julia, and me!

After some technical difficulties getting our trunk open, we moved on with three bags of green coffee (that’s almost 400 pounds of unroasted coffee). We were off to Connecticut, to the world headquarters of Raus’ Coffee, and where our friend Donny Raus roasted up five sets of samples for us to taste.

Taylor drops his first batchCooling
The requisite roasting/cooling shots

As usual, I found the very lightest coffees to be my favorites, but there were some tasty characteristics in each sample. Considering we were drinking the coffees literally minutes after they were roasted, they certainly are promising for this year. It was also fun to finally taste the same coffee roasted differently, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while.

The first cupping of Crop to Cup's container

Thanks Taylor, that was fun!


~ by Anne on July 27, 2008.

2 Responses to “Crop to Cup Adventure”

  1. now that is awesome.

  2. great pictorial post! but you forgot to mention our “coffee throwback” experience at the New Skyway Diner to start off the day! Upon further snooping on the nets, I found that, fittingly, HBO filmed a Sopranos murder scene in this parking lot. Thanks to Donny as well for hosting the afternoon events at his impressive roastery. I can’t wait to try the coffees he’s going to pump out of there.

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