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Coffee production


Millions of people work in coffee production

Making a cup of coffee might seem like the easiest thing in the world. But have you thought of all the people who help make that coffee? Read on and see how much work and care has gone into your cup.

It all starts on the plantations, where farmers tend to the coffee plants and harvest the coffee cherries, usually by hand. The next thing they have to do is separate the bean from the outer shell of the cherry. This is done either by drying the beans in the sun or by washing them in a pulping machine before drying them.

The dry beans have a greenish tinge and are therefore known as 'green beans'. They are usually exported for blending and roasting.

By combining different types of beans you can give the resulting coffee a more rounded taste.


Once you have the right blend of beans, the most important phase of coffee production begins: the roasting.

It is not until the green beans are roasted that they release the coffee aroma and flavour. Depending on the roasting equipment and the desired flavour of the coffee, green beans are roasted at between 180°C and 240°C for between three and fifteen minutes.

Before it can be brewed, the roasted coffee must be ground. Grinding increases the surface area of the coffee, allowing the flavour to be extracted more easily.

To make soluble coffee the ground coffee is brewed and then dried. The drying process can either be hot, in a spray drier, or cold, in a freeze drier.  

Finally the coffee is packed ready for distribution.


Coffee production is important all around the world

Coffee is grown in Africa, Asia and Latin America, in a so-called ‘coffee belt’ that encompasses the tropics. Brazil is the biggest producer, followed by Vietnam and Colombia.

Some countries specialise in one type of coffee bean. Robusta coffee is grown from sea level to about 800 meters, mainly in Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia.

Arabica coffee grows at a higher altitude, usually above 800 meters and up to 2.500 meters. Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Central America, Mexico, India and Eastern Africa are among the best-known Arabica producing regions.

Coffees have typical regional tastes which are influenced by soil and weather conditions.


Costa Rica produces a mild coffee with a malty flavour while Indonesian coffee has a thick, mellow character. Ethiopian coffee is prized for its smooth floral coffee flavour.


The NESCAFÉ Plan supports responsible coffee production

The unique NESCAFÉ process starts with selecting green coffee. Each step of the production is carefully controlled and monitored to ensure the best quality.

After blending the green coffee, the beans are roasted at the right time and temperature to achieve the desired taste and aroma profile. Next, the beans are ground and brewed. The coffee extract then goes through an evaporation and drying process that turns it into granules or powder: that’s the coffee you use to make a satisfying cup of NESCAFÉ.

But for us, production is more than just providing the best quality in a cup. We place value on coffee that’s made with respect to the environment and to people.

Our attitude is embodied in the NESCAFÉ Plan, a global initiative started in 2010 that supports the responsible farming, production and consumption of coffee.

As part of the plan, we are improving our production processes by reducing water and energy consumption and lowering emissions of greenhouse gases from our factories and transport operations.


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