Technological Advances and Their Relation to Coffee Production

Coffee producers have benefitted greatly from the increased availability of technology. New methods for coffee harvesting, processing, and drying have made it easier for these companies to guarantee the uniformity and quality of their products. For example, precise temperature control and heating times during the coffee roasting process would not have been achievable without the help of automatic sensors. These highly accurate sensors allow coffee producers to create new types of roasts for which they can guarantee the consistency of the flavor and quality across different batches. The way in which coffee companies distribute their products has also been affected by the widespread availability of technology. As airborne drones become more reliable and efficient, coffee producers may consider investing in them as a new delivery method. This would give these companies better control over the delivery schedule of their coffee and allow consumers to utilize on-demand ordering. Finally, consumers will be able to make use of small, fast, single-use coffee makers such as Keurig machines. This ensures that customers only need to make as much coffee as they want to drink at that moment, allowing for even more on-demand ordering methods and a decrease in the amount of wasted coffee.

While new technologies may be enticing for investors, their novelty and pizazz alone do not necessarily guarantee that they will have advantages over older, less technologically-advanced methods and processes. A good example of the persistent relevance of old technology is the wet-milling process used by coffee producers to sort and separate different types of coffee beans after harvesting. This method requires only large amounts of water to run which, unlike electricity or heat, can then be reused after each batch is sorted. Wet-milling takes advantage of the fact that “good” coffee beans, ones that will be used to make coffee, have a higher density than water and sink to the bottom of the large water tanks, while insect-ridden, overripe, or under ripe beans have a lower density than water, and float on top of the water. The two types of beans can then easily be separated after being funneled into the tanks and allowed to go to their natural positions. Wet-milling has been used as a coffee bean sorting technique for much longer than other processes that use electricity or heat, and thus is usually considered low-tech. However, it is much more efficient and reliable at accomplishing its purpose than any current high-tech methods, and it is for this reason that most large coffee producers still utilize wet-milling as their primary method of sorting their coffee beans.

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