The Z Beans Experience
At Z Beans Coffee, we pride ourselves on being completely transparent with our customers. Discover everything there is to know about Z Beans, from our trips to Ecuador to the food in our shops.
All of our coffees begin with our farmer partners in Ecuador. From the illustrious mountains of Imbabura to the coastal regions of Manabi and tropical basins of Loja, each one of our farmer partners puts in the hard work and effort needed to grow a healthy crop. After harvesting and processing, the coffee will then be taken to the historic Processing Facility in Piñas to be graded, sorted, and packaged for shipping to the States by our partners, Marie and Fabricio Paredes.
As a part of our mission to create sustainable solutions for Ecuadorian farmers, we practice Transparent Trade in which we pay each of our farmers directly—no middle man—at rates above Fair Trade standards. This ensures that each of our farmers is able to create a sustainable living for not just themselves, but for their families and communities as well.
The Processing Facility
At the processing facility, Fabricio operates three key machines that ensure all of our coffees are of the highest quality. The first machine separates any debris from the coffee in parchment before it is sent to the second machine, the peeler. The peeler removes the parchment or coffee cherry from the green coffee bean. The third and final machine sorts the coffee into three groups based on size. The larger beans are considered the highest quality. The first and second grades are put into 100lb bags, labeled and prepared for export. The lowest grade beans are used in Ecuador!
While the processing is being completed, Marie works with our freight forwarders and customs brokers in Ecuador and The States to complete all necessary paperwork. She has incredible organizational skills and a great understanding of Ecuadorian accounting requirements, which help facilitate exports.
Once all documents are in order and all coffees have been properly labeled and sealed, a container from the port of Guayaquil comes to the processing facility where we load all of the bags. From there, the container returns to the port of Guayaquil where it will embark on a
journey over 5,000 miles away - Macon, Georgia!
Over the years, we have formed not only a great working relationship with Marie and Fabricio, but a great friendship as well. From exploring the beautiful city of Guayaquil to meeting Marie’s father, who started the processing facility over 80 years ago, we have created memories that will be with us for a lifetime. We are grateful to have them as part of the Z Beans family, and we look forward to many more successful imports in the years ahead!
For Washed Processed Beans, the husks are removed from the coffee cherries. They are then cleaned thoroughly before being set out on drying tables to dry. This drying process is a very important piece of the coffee puzzle. A bean with too much humidity will have a short shelf life. The humidity level wanted for coffee is between 10-12%.
For Natural Processed Beans, coffee cherries are washed and then thrown directly on to drying tables or tarps to dry. The entire cherry will dry until it is peeled. A natural processed coffee will tend to have stronger flavors brought on by remaining in the cherry for longer durations of time. These flavors often come from the crops grown around the coffee!
For Honey Processed Beans, the husks are removed from the inside of the coffee cherry. The husks, unlike the washed processed, are then allowed to ferment for up to 72 hours. Furthermore, the husks are also allowed to dry out completely, keeping the viscous honey substance on them. This process requires the coffee to retain a high sugar content.
The Z Beans Coffee Journey
Follow the journey of all coffee that we serve at Z Beans. From our farmers' plantations in Ecuador to our coffee shops in the States, the journey can be hectic, but that freshly roasted morning brew is well worth the effort! It's all in the name of creating sustainable solutions for hardworking Ecuadorian farmers!
From a popcorn popper, to a chicken rotisserie roaster, to two production roasters, our supply chain has changed significantly since we started roasting during the fall of 2017. Today, with our roasting facility in downtown Macon, we have a reliable foundation for roasting, importing, and distribution. While some may call the 2,200 square foot space a basement, we call it the Roasting Facility! Here, we have two coffee roasters: the Diedrich IR-12 that allows us to roast 25lbs every 10 minutes - just a few steps up from the popcorn popper which only put out 11 ounces every hour! We also have a small experimental, blend roaster - a Primo 7lb roaster, which allows us to create unique blends for businesses! In this same building, we have our corporate offices where our team works daily to constantly push Z Beans forward.
Last but certainly not least, we have our coffee production area where our production team makes and fills bags of coffee, Cold Brew and Iced Espresso concentrates, Ready-to-Go Iced Lattes, and Z Cups. They then package them up and prepare them for distribution by our delivery team.
Learn the different roast profiles used at Z Beans Coffee!
Light roasts are a light brown in color. These types of roasts are preferred for milder coffee varieties. For these roasts, there will not be any oil on the surface of the roasted coffee beans, as they are not roasted long enough to bring out the oils. Typically, these coffees have a crisp acidity, mellow body, and bright flavors. For beans that have unique flavors, a light roast is oftentimes utilized, as it preserves the unique characteristics of the bean, allowing for a full extraction of flavors while roasting.
A medium roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor than light roasts. However, a standard medium roast will not have any oil present on the surface of the beans. This is the most common roast used in the United States, thus it is frequently referred to as the ‘American’ roast. Our medium roast is crafted to ensure a smooth, milk chocolate finish that gently brings out the notes of each farmer's incredible coffee.
Depending on the intensity of the roast, these beans will be dark brown with greater levels of oil present on the beans. These beans will be more bitter than any of the other roast types. It is important to note that the darker the roast - the less the acidity. Our dark roast is crafted to ensure a bold, dark chocolate finish that brings out the powerful notes of our farmer's incredible coffees.
Our goal with an espresso roast is to create a flavor that is as strong and bold as possible without scorching the outside of the bean. In roasting terms, we mimic a traditional french roast. With our farmer’s flavor profiles, we have found that this is the best temperature to roast at that allows a bold flavor while not creating an overly bitter aftertaste.
Located in the same space as our Roasting Facility, the Z Beans Production House is where our production team works daily to craft our speciality Z Beans sandwiches and food items using the freshest, high quality ingredients possible.
All of these items are quality controlled, safely packaged, and promptly distributed to each of our shops. With everything kept internal, this process enables us to provide the highest quality food possible with the added bonus of increased efficiency in serving our customers in the shops!