How do they turn burlap sacks of coffee beans into coffee bags? Rockin’ Red Ranchers toured the Farmer Brothers Coffee Company to see the latest in modern coffee processing. The group registered with security and donned red hairnets, lab coats and plastic gloves to tour the new facility just down the I-35 West. The tour was conducted by one of the men who designed the facility. Only a few tours are done each month and group size is limited. The processing and distribution facility is massive. The lobby includes a mockup of their only retail store, a Portland, Oregon coffee shop. No pictures were permitted beyond the lobby.
After a warm welcome in the lobby and a photo under the Costa Rican display, the group learned that Farmer Brothers is a wholesale facility which brings coffee beans in from more than 25 countries to prepare and package just the right blend for retail markets. No coffee is sold under the Farmer Brothers name; instead, Farmers prepares various grades of coffee for retail vendors such as Nordstrom’s, large restaurant chains that can’t be named due to confidentiality agreements and small family markets around the country. Mom’s in Justin is a local example. Our guide mentioned that the Winco grocery chain sells a good blend of Farmer’s coffee.
After the burlap sacks of beans are dumped for processing, no human touches the product until the finished package rolls off the line. Our guide filled us in on the meaning of clean coffee (coffee beans arrive sorted and free of debris) and the use of Swiss Water processing for decaffeination. The group learned that even decaffeinated coffee does contain some caffeine, just less than regular coffee.
After the tour, the group gathered for lunch at Rosa’s and enjoyed Taco Tuesday.