Farm to Cup, Understanding The Coffee Supply Chain Process

Farm to Cup, Understanding The Coffee Supply Chain Process

Let’s explore the Coffee Supply chain process and the main steps necessary to bring you that Premium Special grade cup everyday.

As we’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts – the main goal is to produce the best tasting, highest quality coffee possible, sourced from origin(s) with a specific micro-climate which in turn produce more depth of flavor in your cup.

Gustos Coffee From Puerto Rico, Finca La Montaña, Yauco, PR
Finca “La Montaña” – Yauco PR – All 📸’s: Wiwi Ortiz

Sourcing (farm to cup)

The term from “farm to cup” or “seed to cup” has everything to do with how the farmers care for the land where potential specialty coffee is grown. At nearly every stage up until brewing, we say it has potential because any mistake or defect in the bean can ruin the whole batch of coffee from even being considered specialty grade.

It’s safe to say the producers of specialty coffee are responsible for nurturing and perfecting the coffee bean from seed to harvest in the span of their whole lifetime. A never ending passionate process of seeking the perfect cup.

Grown in select altitudes and climates and nursed for years before the first harvest, the producer who creates specialty coffee devotes his or her life to refining and perfecting the highest quality coffee on the planet.  

SCA – What is Specialty Coffee

Green Coffee Purchasing “Buyer”

The next step in the collaborative chain has to do with transferring the harvested green coffee beans to the buyer.

The buyer may be an industry expert often times qualified and certified as a Q-grader by the SCA, who is tasked with cupping the coffee to determine it’s quality and tasting notes.

Green coffee buyers are responsible for communicating all the details of the coffee’s profile to baristas, staff and roasters.

ripe specialty coffee beans Yauco Puerto Rico
Green Arabica Coffee Tree – Maturing Process – Gustos Coffee Farm – Yauco PR

Roasting Process

After the green coffee is harvested and graded, the art of roasting the beans to perfection takes place.

During this delicate yet fiery and volatile process the roaster is responsible for extracting and developing the exact flavor profile they want to achieve while maintaining consistency , a process that can be affected in a matter of nano seconds if they are not careful enough.

At our roasting facility we are lucky to have our skilled roaster Edwin who also happens to be our first employee ever! “Rafy” who is both our green coffee buyer and Head Roaster for Gustos Reserva and Premium Selection. Combined, they have a lot of knowledge, passion and experience that goes into every small batch we roast.

In addition to being our buyer, Rafy is also a certified Q-grader. All of this work for the love of great people and beautiful coffee!

The Barista

As soon as the beans have been carefully roasted, inspected and allowed some time to rest, they are packaged for retail as they finally make their way to your local barista at the coffee shop.

The barista plays a key important role in the chain because they are the next to last hands tasked with the ethical responsibility of handling and brewing the coffee as perfect as possible.

Hario V60 Brew by Wiwi Ortiz

One misstep will cause the brew to burn, be under extracted or simply put, just not brewed to its fullest potential and ruin your espresso or your latte..or even your day! 

We are very grateful for the baristas at our shops who are the last line of defense in caring for not only you, the customer, but focus on producing an excellent brewed cup every single time, for hours on end.

“Specialty level Baristas are not only highly skilled in brewing equipment operations; they routinely are deeply informed as to the origin of the coffee bean and how it’s flavor profiles will be revealed in brewin

– Specialty Coffee Association : “What is Specialty Coffee – Baristas


The final part of the specialty coffee process is when you receive that beautifully-fresh, brewed-to-perfection cup of coffee, expertly made by your loving barista.

Yes, you as the consumer of fine goods such as our Gustos Reserva single origin coffee make it possible for us to exist and continue to source not only the best coffee in Puerto Rico, but the world all over all the while supporting local agriculture and coffee families.

espresso shot specialty coffee


Part of the beauty of coffee lies in it’s global, universal appeal. It is similar to the language of music, we all move to it, even if we don’t understand the words, we can appreciate it’s sonic beauty and how it makes us feel.

So much work is involved in producing specialty coffee (or any fair-trade premium coffee ) and while there are a lot of moving parts in the coffee supply chain , we should always seek excellence in every step of the process, from the farm to your cup.

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