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    Coffee: The Journey From Mountainside to Mug

    Coffee: The Journey From Mountainside to Mug


    Coffee grows on shrubs, bushes, or trees planted at high altitudes in rich, fertile soils with lots of rainfall. More than two thirds of the world’s coffee is grown in Latin America in countries with productive volcanic soils, like Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala.


    According to legend, coffee was first discovered around 800 A.D. by an Ethiopian goat herder. Noticing that his herd had a distinct boost in energy after munching on the red berries of a particular shrub, the goat herder tried them himself and discovered the energizing properties of coffee. It’s also believed that the first people to brew coffee cherries with hot water were monks who relied on the drink to help them stay awake for long hours of prayer and meditation.


    Did you know that...

    • More than 500 billion cups of coffee are poured around the world every year?
    • After oil, coffee is the second most valuable trading commodity in the world?
    • Brazil, the world’s leading coffee producer, makes more than 3 times the amount of coffee beans than the next biggest exporter, Vietnam?


    Though it can grow up to 30 ft tall in the wild, the coffee plant is considered to be a bush or shrub. The coffee plant is an evergreen, with a light gray bark and five-inch leaves that are dark green and glossy. Coffee flowers are small, white and fragrant, helping to attract pollinating insects. When the flowers fall off the plant, berries begin to develop in their place, ripening from a dark green to a bright crimson.

    It takes 3–4 years for a coffee plant to begin producing “cherries” but coffee plants can survive over 100 years.

    Two small green coffee beans, surrounded by skin and pulp, are found inside each cherry.

    A single coffee plant yields roughly one pound of coffee beans annually.

    The two most common types of coffee plants are Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee) and Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee).

    How coffee is processed determines taste and quality, which eventually determines the price. And now let us follow the journey of coffee from mountainside to mug.


    Coffee is harvested during the dry season, when the cherries are most likely ripe. There are three ways to harvest coffee cherries: taking just the ripe cherries, taking everything and sorting later, or using a machine to comb the plants and pick the cherries.


    Before coffee cherries can be pulped, they must be sorted by separating the “floaters” from the “sinkers.” Dense, ripened cherries will sink when placed in water and all other harvested material will float, so everything goes into a large vat.


    Cherries are then placed in a pulping machine which forces the cherries through a mesh screen which removes the meat and skin of the fruit, revealing the seed which will later become the coffee bean.


    Coffee is fermented in large tanks of water to remove the last traces of the fruit and pulp. Cherries must soak for between 12 to 48 hours and are then immediately dried.


    Once coffee has been fermented, the beans must be dried. By forming long, narrow, shallow rows of beans in the sun, and turning them over every 30- to 40 minutes, the beans dry evenly and prevent any mildew from occurring.


    After coffee has been sorted by size and density, it is packaged and shipped out to be roasted. Roasting is what determines the flavor and strength of the brewed coffee. Roasting is done in a large rotating drums at around 550° Fahrenheit. Roasting time varies from seven minutes for a light, American roast to 14 minutes for espresso.


    Traditionally, coffee was grown in the shade of the rainforest canopy. Then farmers started “full sun” practices. By planting their coffee in cleared hillsides with an overabundance of sun, farmers were getting larger crops. But this “full sun” coffee required rainforests to be cut down and for farmers to use pesticides and fertilizers. The Rainforest Alliance works to encourage coffee farms to practice more sustainable, traditional “shade-grown” coffee.


    Over 5 billion birds migrate from North America down to Central and South America to spend the winters. In recent years, due to deforestation, more and more birds are flying south only to find there’s no where for them to live! However, shade-grown coffee, which is incorporated into the rainforest canopy, can create the ideal “vacation home” for migrating birds. Not only is the habitat created by shade grown coffee good for birds, it also provides medicinal plants, construction materials, fruits and flowers.


    The Rainforest Alliance works to certify sustainable coffee production throughout the globe. Through certification, an independent, third party awards a seal of approval guaranteeing consumers that the products they are buying are the result of practices carried out according to a specific set of criteria balancing ecological, economic and social considerations.

    To be certified, coffee farmers must have a system that:

    • Protects ecosystems
    • Conserves water, soil, and forest
    • Implements shade management
    • Provides fair treatment and good conditions for all workers
    • Maintains a positive relationship with local communities
    • Establishes an integrated system of waste management

     Article courtesy of Rainforest Alliance:

    Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee

    Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee

    Coffee, one world’s most traded commodities, is the economic backbone of countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Yet smallholder farmers in these coffee-growing regions face many challenges, including poverty, commodity price fluctuations and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns caused by climate change. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of sustainable coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. All of this is part of our global strategy to ensure the long-term well-being of farm communities, as well as the forests on which we all depend.


    The Rainforest Alliance works with sustainable coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their communities. Coffee farms or groups of smallholder farmers that earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal are audited annually against a rigorous standard with detailed environmental, social and economic criteria. These criteria are designed to protect biodiversity, deliver financial benefits to farmers, and foster a culture of respect for workers and local communities. Rainforest Alliance certification also promotes decent living and working conditions for workers, gender equity and access to education for children in farm communities.


    Decades ago, coffee farms were virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. Traditional coffee-growing methods depended on the shade of the forest canopy, which supported local wildlife, migratory birds and better bean quality. In the 1970s the introduction of a new hybrid coffee plant requiring agrochemicals and full-sun exposure led many farmers to cut down their forests and abandon their traditional ways. This high-tech approach to farming has devastated lands throughout the tropics.

    On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, coffee grows in harmony with nature: soils are healthy, waterways are protected, trash is reduced or recycled, wildlife thrives and migratory bird habitat flourishes. In addition, hundreds of farms we work with have adopted climate-smart agriculture techniques that sequester carbon. Most importantly, farm communities learn the importance of protecting their natural resources, and they acquire the tools and resources to do so.


    While the global coffee industry is valued at $100 billion annually, the vast majority of coffee farmers see meager earnings because they’re often paid so poorly for their beans. With few available options, many farmers end up either abandoning their land or destroying forests and wildlife habitat by clearing land for monoculture. Rainforest Alliance certification reverses this destructive cycle: Independent studies demonstrate that farmers who use our sustainable methods increase yields and achieve cost savings through more efficient farm management. Achieving certification also helps farmers reach new markets, negotiate better prices, improve their access to credit and earn a premium on their beans that they can use to build a more economically secure future.


    Article courtesy of Rainforest Alliance: 

    5 Ways to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee (More sustainably!)

    5 Ways to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee (More sustainably!)

    Turkish? Pour-over? French press? Among coffee connoisseurs, the best method for making an exquisite cup of coffee is a matter of intense debate. But one thing is for sure: Coffee is better when it’s good—when beans are grown and harvested more sustainably, in ways that protect ecosystems and worker well-being.

    No matter what method you choose, knowing the coffee comes from a healthy ecosystem sets the stage for a perfect morning treat. 

    How to treat your responsibly grown coffee beans

    Store your beans in a glass or ceramic container with a rubber gasket. Contrary to popular belief, you should keep coffee beans at room temperature (not in the fridge). It should go without saying that you must grind your own beans each morning—experts say that you have about 5 minutes after grinding before the coffee starts getting stale.

    The pour-over

    It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just pour some water over grounds in one of those beaker-like carafes? Not so fast. The expert technicians at the Oakland, California, based coffee roaster Blue Bottle recommend first wetting the paper filter completely with just-boiled water. Next, you place the grounds in the filter and use a light, consistent pour to moisten the grounds—then stop! Wait 30 seconds to allow the coffee to “bloom.” Pour the remaining hot water over the grounds slowly. Like, really slowly. You should be pouring so slowly that it takes a full four minutes for the water to drip down into the base of the flask.

    French press

    For the French press, Serious Eats recommends the coarsest grounds possible to reduce the muddy sediment at the bottom. Scoop them into the carafe and add just-boiled water, giving it a gentle but thorough stir. Wait 30-45 seconds—again, to allow the coffee to “bloom.” You’ll know it’s time to place the lid on when most of the coffee has sunk to the bottom. Wait 6-8 minutes, then plunge gently, pour, and drink up!

    Stovetop espresso maker, the moka pot

    Yes, even this traditional Mediterranean device has given rise to a set of specialized instructions. Stumptown, the famed Portland coffee purveyor, recommends that you first boil water in a kettle, as you don’t want the moka pot to get too hot and impart metallic flavors; you then pour the hot water into the bottom half of the espresso maker. Insert the basket and fill it with fine grounds, then screw the two parts together (you must somehow remember to use an oven mitt before having caffeinated yourself, to prevent burning yourself on the base that you've just filled with boiling water). Brew on moderate heat with the lid open. Once the stream of liquid bubbling forth is the color of yellow honey, remove from heat and close lid. Wrap the bottom in a chilled bar towel or run it under water to stop the extraction. Pour immediately.

    Cold-brewed coffee

    For many, iced coffee is a cherished summertime pick-me-up, but if you want to do it right, you’ll need 12-24 hours (and you thought the pour-over method was slow!). Stir coffee grounds and water in a pitcher, cover, and let steep a minimum of 12 hours; when the brew is ready, strain it, and store it in the refrigerator for another 2 hours.


    Like other methods, brewing Turkish coffee calls for its own set of tools, including a lovely little cup called a finca and a small brass pot known as a cezve. Boiling the grounds—which should be finer even than those for espresso—together with water makes this thick brew. Traditionally, a cup of water is served with Turkish coffee to clear the palate before partaking in the delicious dark concoction (hipster coffee snobs have nothing on the Ottomans). Be sure not to drink the grounds at the bottom of the cup—you’ll need them to tell your fortune (and if you don’t know the ancient art of reading coffee grounds, never fear—there’s an app for that!).


    Article Source: 

    Meet Rose a female Rwandan Coffee Grower

    Meet Rose a female Rwandan Coffee Grower

    At St Remio, we not only appreciate great coffee, but most importantly we want to celebrate the people behind it.

    In every cup of coffee you enjoy, there lies 1000 stories. Theirs. Yours. Mine. That’s the impact of each cup of coffee. Alongside sourcing sustainable, Rainforest Alliance coffee, we are also committed to giving back and supporting coffee growing communities at origin.

    We had a chat to a female Rwandan Coffee grower, Nyiramariza (Rose) to learn about her role in coffee growing. 


    Tell me a bit about yourself. Do you have children? Are you married?  What do you enjoy doing?

      I am a Rwandese farmer, and  married with 4 children. I enjoy working for my family financial growth.

      Tell me about your role in coffee growing and what day looks like for you. How long have you been growing coffee?

        I do weeding, mulching, pests and diseases management. I have been growing coffee for 17 years ago.

        What made you choose to work in coffee? Did you parents before you work in coffee, and if so, how long did they do it for?

          The coffee farming helps earn money to solve the family problems, like paying the health insurance fees etc.

          What does have a certification like Rainforest Alliance mean for coffee growers like yourself?

            Rainforest Alliance certification helps us in many ways: Market access and premium fees for the coffee sold.

            What is the hardest part of coffee growing and the challenges you face?

              Mulching and the mulching materials has been the biggest challenge up to date.

              What motivates you each day?

                Being at my coffee farm every day. Because the coffee is the main source of my income and therefore it makes me love my work given that with what I earn I can solve my family’s financial problems.

                What is it like to be part of Cocagi Femme and how do you support each other?

                  I have acquired the self-confidence, and in different meeting sessions with the members of COCAGI Femme, we share our ideas regarding the personal and our families’ growth and development through coffee business. Last but least, we encourage each other to keep on attending our Cocagi Femme sessions for learning more about how we could get our coffee farming skills increased.

                  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry? 

                    Opportunity for more international buyers etc. Considering the climate change now affecting the coffee production, increased premium especially for women in coffee. 

                    What makes Rwandan coffee so special?

                      Provision of required assistance from the farm up to the export. Just providing balanced efforts makes it the best coffee with excellent quality.

                      What do you love most about Rwanda?

                        Gender balance, safety and good governance.


                        By purchasing St Remio Coffee you are choosing to empower the female coffee farmers like Rose. That's the St Remio difference! 

                        Make the change today! 

                        Café Series - Shop 225

                        Café Series - Shop 225


                        Meet Lorenzo Tron, the owner of Shop 225 that proudly serves St Remio Coffee! We sat down with Lorenzo to talk about his restaurant, his passion for food and of course, coffee.  


                        Tell me about how SHOP225 came about?

                        Roberto, my business partner and I, wanted a great pizza place next to our house so Shop 225 was born!

                        What can guests expect when they visit?

                        Our guests can expect great service, a warm ambient venue and incredible food and coffee. We strive to ensure our customers have a great dining experience.

                        What inspired you to start your restaurants?

                        The concept for Shop 225 came about when my wife and I turned vegetarian. My wife was also unable to digest gluten and lactose, so we started doing vegan and gluten free dishes. That way no one gets left out and everyone can eat together.

                        What made you choose St Remio Coffee?

                        We were looking for a local coffee brand with the Italian taste. We love our coffee and wanted it to be like back at home in Italy. There is nothing worse than finishing a great dinner with a bad coffee.

                        What is your go-to coffee and how many do you drink a day?

                        We mainly have it at home or at the shop (we are very fussy) some days we can go up to 8 cups!

                        What is your signature dish(s)? 

                        Zio Pino pizza and Lasagna or Alla Norma.

                        What would you say to other people considering opening a café or restaurant?

                        It is hard. Be prepared to put lots of hours in. You must have a passion for coffee, food and a love for people.

                        What is your life motto or the best piece of advice you ever received?

                        If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. 

                        Check out Shop 225! You will not be disappointed! 

                        Shop 225 - Website & Instagram