Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Factory Tour

Last week we went on another fun factory tour;  this time to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  Jay Isais, our tour guide, is the "coffee guy" who travels the world selecting and buying coffee beans.  We learned about the where the beans come from, about the coffee bean plants, and how they roast the beans, make blends, and prepare them for selling.

Hairnets required!

Beans roast @350'
Before and after roasting.

Here are some interesting things we learned:
*The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has 800 stores worldwide (2/3 franchised, 1/3 corporate)
*Their coffee beans come from 16 different countries (including Columbia, Costa Rica, and Cambodia).
*Each coffee tree produces 1 - 2 pounds of coffee per year.
*They remove all oxygen from their coffee bags and fill them with nitrogen before sealing so that the beans do not become oxidized.
*The beans come from their countries of origin and the roasting and blending takes place at the factory.
*It is a big process from the coffee plant to coffee in your cup.

Here are some things we learned about tea:
*All kinds of tea come from the same kind of plant - different kinds of tea depend on how much oxidation has occurred.
*For example - black tea is oxidized, green tea is not oxidized, and oolong tea is partially oxidized.
*The tea bags at the factory are sealed with sound waves
*One of their machines can make 20,000-25,000 tea bags per day.

A couple other favorite things were the smell of the factory (a much better smell than the guitar making factory) and the sounds of the machines.  The machine that filled the coffee bags had such a cool sound (from air pressure) it made us want to dance; it was very musical.  We also really enjoyed hearing Jay tell us about the different parts of the world that he has traveled to and his relationships with the farmers who grow the coffee beans.

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