This is where it all starts. A single coffee bean (which is actually a seed!) is pushed into the earth to begin its life. It’ll take anywhere between 2.5 and 6 months for the little plant to sprout, but we always maintain faith that our soils are working their magic.
Our Oro Molido farms are perfectly positioned for growing fine coffee. The soil, elevation, climate and precipitation work together to create the optimum environment for Arabica plants to thrive in.
Once the first leaves have emerged into the light and acclimated to the air, it’s time for us to move the young plants into their own individual pots. The soil we use is specially formulated to help the coffee seedlings grow big and strong. Each pot is placed in a shady spot on the farm, and watered regularly.
Coffee trees are slow to produce fruit. It takes 3-4 years for the first vibrant berries, known as coffee cherries, to appear.
Once the cherries have changed from green to bright yellow, orange or red, we know they’re ripe for picking. It’s really important to us that we pick the fruit at its peak, because under or over-ripe fruit taints the quality and flavour of the coffee you drink. That’s why we use a selective picking method. Rather than using machinery to harvest our coffee cherries, we pick by hand. Of course, this takes a long time and is labour intensive, but it’s all worth it for the quality coffee we produce.
We harvest our coffee twice a year to ensure we always have a bounty of beans for our loyal customers. The main harvest runs from September to November, when the cherries are ripe and abundant. The second harvest, known as the Traviesa, runs from April to June. Although this crop isn’t as large, the fruit is just as lovely and produces the same great quality and flavour that you expect of Tambia Coffee.
Once the cherries have been picked, the race is on. It’s really important that the fruit doesn’t spoil before we can get to the beans.
There are three main methods of processing coffee: natural, washed and honey. While we use all three on our farms, the majority of our beans are washed because it has minimal impact on the final flavour of the beans. Having absorbed all the natural sugars and nutrients of the rich soils they were grown in, this method lets the true characteristics of our single origin coffee shine.
First we remove the fruit of the coffee cherry to reveal the bean at the centre. Then we depulp and ferment it with the help of water. Once they’re nice and clean, the beans are left to sun dry on patios or raised beds. We turn them regularly to ensure an even consistency.
Our processed beans are bright in flavour, light in body and have a pleasing note of acidity. Sip a cup of Tambia Coffee and you might taste notes of lemon and lime, almond, plum and cocoa.
Ever seen green coffee beans? They had probably just been milled. This is an exciting phase of the coffee cycle in which the dried beans are prepared for roasting.
A hulling machine is used to remove the dried outer layer of the bean. We then polish our beans to make sure every last trace of skin is removed. Not all coffee producers do this, but we want to make sure our coffee is the very best quality.
We grade our beans by size, weight and colour, and then hand sort every single bean to make sure there are none that could compromise the coffee in your cup.
It’s time to lightly roast a small batch of coffee for the cuppers (or tasters). By limiting the amount of time we roast, we retain the natural profile of the beans so that the cuppers can get a true sense of the coffee we’re bringing to market.
Essentially, the cupping process assesses the quality of our coffee. Taking into account the aroma, flavour, sweetness, acidity, bitterness, mouthfeel and overall balance, independent cuppers decide how special our coffee really is on a scale of 0-100. We’re proud to say that our coffee has been awarded official speciality coffee status, with consistent Q-scores of 84+.
It’s time for our precious beans to venture out into the big wide world. At this point they’re still green, and we’re obsessed with getting them to the UK where we'll roast them to ensure maximum freshness for our discerning customers.
We pack them into jute or sisal bags and send them on their way to their final destination, where our roasters are eagerly awaiting their arrival. It takes about two weeks in total for our beans to travel from our farms in Colombia to our roastery in the UK.
We want your coffee to reach you freshly roasted. That’s why our roaster is UK-based, and roasts a brand new batch every Wednesday to our careful specifications.
The temperature and amount of time the beans spend in the roaster is carefully determined according to the characteristic of the beans themselves. It will also influence the profile you choose when you buy your bag of beans: light, medium, medium-dark or dark roast.
As soon as they’re roasted, we package your beans up to avoid over-exposure to air. Air can cause the beans to oxidize and lose their aroma and taste – which is also why we always recommend storing your coffee in an airtight container at home.
We ship Royal Mail 48-Hour Tracked delivery. When you order before 10am, Monday to Friday, we’ll put your beans in the post the very same day! That means you’ll be brewing yourself a lovely cup within three working days.
As you sip, take a moment to appreciate the long journey your beans have been on, from tiny seeds nestled inside their own cherries all the way to your cup.