Methods

Oh Coffee – how we love thee… but we don’t like one-way relationships.

Let’s take a step back from an on-demand life style and nourish our being. For us, process is part of the enjoyment. Are you ready to learn how?

Sign outside coffee shop

While reading a wall at a big chain coffee shop, one might assess that coffee comes from three regions in the world. We focus on Southeast Asia. For a reason. The world holds much but one cannot reflect on a loaded cup with diluted focus. It would take a lifetime (or multiple) to fully experience each cultural space. Therefore, with integrity and intention we strive to give you that which we know well.

Coffee bean plant
Coffee roasting

Beans

There are three main types of coffee beans in this world – Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica, comprising approximately 60%, 40% and 1% of world production respectively. Plantations are primarily located within the Bean Belt, or the “ring” around the world between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which provide the required combination of soil, altitude and climate for growing coffee beans. Arabica is perhaps the most widely recognized in plentiful supply.

Coffee beans come from coffee cherries on the coffee fruit tree. Arabica and Robusta cherries are smaller, more uniformly sized, and have only one bean per cherry. Liberica cherries on the other hand, are the largest among coffee varieties, have lower yields, harder skins, and can vary in size with one to three beans. These inconsistencies do not determine the quality of the beans, but are challenges when it comes to harvesting and processing which are labor intensive.

Farm on a hillside

Unveiling MISEA’s flagship coffee: “Clear Mind” from just outside the “City of Eternal Spring” in Vietnam

Clear Mind is a fully washed blend of Arabica origin including Heirloom, Caturra, Catuai and Catimor beans. It is a synthesis we love and unique to our partner farms. “Fully washed” refers to the fermentation process common to specialty coffees requiring tremendous care and good skill as well as machines for testing. To begin, ripe berries are harvested. These vary between red, yellow, orange and pink depending on the variety and any mutation such as Caturra or Catuai. The berries’ sweetness is tested. The harvest must be fermented as soon as possible (within 24 hours) or it will become overly ripe.

The berries are cleaned eight or more times and defects hand selected out including green berries, leaves, sticks, stones, etc. Following their first round, clean berries are washed again and everything that floats is removed as its quality will be lower. The skins and bean are separated with a “cracking” machine and water. The beans are washed again with fresh water and additional floaters removed.

Sorting coffee beans
Coffee cherry

From here, the coffee beans are put into a fermentation tank made of ceramic (plastic and metal will effect the quality) for 24-72 hours depending on the weather. The pH is continually checked to avoid over-fermentation. When the beans are fully clean, they’ll be washed several more times until the water runs clear. Following fermentation, dry beans are placed on a high screen under the sun. The drying beans are stirred every two hours for moisture evaporation until the total moisture is between 10-13%.

Drying coffee beans

The roast is unique. Comparatively, a Westerner might find a Vietnamese “Medium” roast in line with a dark French roast. This will also depend on your personal brew strength. There tends to be a thicker aroma, but not burnt. In some areas, butter may be added or oil types. However, no MISEA Vietnamese roasts are developed this way as this is not specialty coffee. While already a completely unique and high end taste, we’ll leave it up to you to add any additional flavoring. Mary likes to add a bit of unrefined organic coconut oil to her cup rather than milk or sugar. Traditionally, in Vietnam, coffee might also be taken with ice or sweetened condensed milk.

Usually your beverage is served tableside here through a drip process using a metal filter. A courser grind is utilized and, similar to a French press, coffee drips out into one’s cup from the phin. This is served with the filter directly on top using a glass cup so customers may enjoy partaking in and watching the process as well as drinking it.

Coffee grounds in bowl
Drip method for brewing coffee