From Seed to Beans
Now, this is when I see a slight resemblance to what I know coffee beans to be – all my seeds are transferred into machinery which is used to separate the skin from the beans by breaking the outside shell.
I also stood in front of a fan, picked up the beans and dropped them back onto the tray in an attempt to separate them even further. But alas, I had to manually pick them apart, while at the same time separating the dead beans from normal ones.
The left one’s a good bean; the others… not so much.
You’ve seen all the big contraptions for bean roasting, but for this experience, we use a pan over a fire. I was told to never stop moving the pan from side to side, or else the beans would get burnt. No pressure there.
For about 10 minutes I was flicking my wrist back and forth, inhaling the smell of roasted coffee beans and witnessing the colour change from light green, to yellow, to brown, to black.
Yuki noted, “no matter how long you roast the beans, it can never taste dark. Okinawan coffee is generally light and not-so-bitter.”
After brewing the coffee, which included the process of grinding my coffee beans, and doing all the steps of drip coffee following Yuki’s specific instructions, it’s finally time to see how well I did with my coffee farming. Just buying a cup of coffee from a cafe takes five minutes, but this energy booster took 2 hours to make!
On the side, I had a slice of toast with jam made from the cherries. My verdict is: Okinawan coffee is mild, a great balance of bitterness and acidity, and overall a fantastic pick-me-up.
The Future & Dream of Matayoshi Coffee Farm
While I was sipping my excellent cup of coffee that I farmed myself, I had the opportunity to chat with the business owners – both the father and son. Instantly, I could tell they were both extremely passionate in their craft and have big dreams for their coffee farm.
As of now, because a lot of their coffee trees are still young, the coffee farm can’t expand out of Okinawa to the mainland, let alone internationally. They’re currently working on bringing the coffee farm to the city centre through the means of a food truck that they bought in January this year.
Takuyuki doesn’t just want to grow coffee – he wants to spread the word of coffee farming. When talking about the coffee experiences Matayoshi Coffee Farm has available, his eyes lit up. He said that the main reason they have these experiences is to:
Share with others that a cup of coffee takes a lot of processes. In the minds of Japanese people, coffee isn’t farming but just drinking. I want them to know that coffee is a part of farming.
His father has a different vision that’s bigger than just Japan. He passionately said, “I want to be a champion for a coffee competition!” But wait, that’s not all – he wants to expand Matayoshi Coffee Farm to an Asian country like Vietnam, growing Geisha coffee from Panama.
“If we are the champion, the news will spread,” said the father. “When coffee enthusiasts like you (referring to me) think of coffee, they will think of Matayoshi Coffee Farm if we become champions.”
And as a farewell, they said, “when we become champions, please visit us again.”
There are a lot of people involved in making a cup of coffee – more than just the baristas and brewers, but also the farmers. Matayoshi Coffee Farm has the passion and means to not only make coffee beans a signature agricultural product of Japan but also to open the eyes and minds of coffee lovers.