From Crop to Cup

How your coffee comes to you

THE LEVEL GROUND PROCESS

1

SOURCING

We work firsthand with co-ops to source high cup quality, organically grown coffee. We only work with forward-thinking organizations who use their Fair Trade programs to create positive social impact for their community. 

2

STAGING

When the green coffee arrives in Victoria, Canada, we get to work our magic. Testing, tasting, roasting, blending, grinding - matching profiles to get you that perfect cup of perk!

3

SUPPORT

We make sure you get your coffee when you need it! Distribution and customer satisfaction is a huge focus of success for us.

Test tubes grow coffee sprouts

Sourced Directly from the Co-op

Buying coffee directly from the co-op is merely a step in the middle of the coffee supply cycle. Farmers must dedicate themselves for multiple years to get from seed to get to their first harvest.

All coffee starts with a coffee bean. When the bean is planted in the right climate, conditions and environment, it will grow into a coffee tree. You can plant a coffee cherry, a parchment seed or a coffee bean in soil and wait for it to grow and bloom.   

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Close up white blossom on coffee tree

Grow Little Coffee Tree!

A coffee plant is like Goldilocks’ porridge, the conditions need to be just perfect – not too hot, wet, or cold. On coffee farms, the seedlings and plants are nurtured throughout the process and protected from frost, pests and any other conditions that could impede the coffee plants ability to flourish. 

Coffee plants need to grow for three to four years before maturing. Once flowering, it actually takes around nine months for the flower to grow into the coffee bean, ripen, and be ready for harvest. One coffee bean takes as long as a human baby to grow and hit maturity.

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Red and green coffee cherries on tree

Small but Mighty

A tree can produce around ten pounds of coffee cherries, resulting in approximately one pound of roasted coffee. This means it takes a steady farm of trees to keep you stocked with your favourite coffee supply. Once the coffee cherries are picked (commonly by hand to ensure unripened cherries are left and allowed additional time to mature), the real action begins.  

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Men rake green coffee beans through water troughs

Coffee Washing and Fermentation

Depending on the fermentation process, the coffee cherries can go either through the natural or the washed process. All Level Ground coffee goes through the washed process (except for Tanzania, which is natural coffee). The coffee cherries are run through a depulper, which extracts the seed from the outer layers of the cherry. Once the cherry seed is removed, it is placed in a large vat with other coffee seeds and water. This is allowed to ferment in open air. Here, natural yeast has access to the seeds and the fermentation process begins. During fermentation, sugars in the coffee break down and bring out the natural coffee flavour. Coffee seeds typically ferment for 18-24 hours . 

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Coffee beans laid out in sun drying

Fermentation and Drying

Once the coffee is fermented, it is dried. Typically, coffee is naturally dried, by laying it out on a large drying area until it tests at an 11% humidity rate. Drying typically can take weeks depending on the climate and how dry it is. (Sometimes harvesting takes place during the rainy season, which obviously slows the drying process!) Dried coffee beans can resemble peanuts, due to the parchment that is left over after the depulper removes the (skin/pulp) mucilage. The ‘parchment’ is a protective husk which is removed (hulled) next. Lastly, the remaining coffee bean is polished, resulting in ‘green coffee’. The coffee beans will commonly be hand sorted to check for any imperfections that could impact the coffee bean taste or quality.  

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Trier with green coffee beans taken from sack

Green Coffee

Green coffee is the format that coffee is graded and shipped in. When coffee is graded, it is rated on size, colour, imperfections and weight. After grading is completed, a test sample is split between the coffee growers and sent to us at Level Ground so we can test it against the SCA standards. The test sample is compiled by inserting a trier into several bags of coffee from a shipment and sent to us for quality tasting and testing. 

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Truck drives down coffee sacks in warehouse

Shipping

Once we receive a shipment of green coffee beans, the fun continues!
 
1 Shipping Container 
= 320 sacks of coffee 
= 19,200kgs (42,317lbs)
= 20 pallets (16 bags/pallet)
= 20 tons of coffee 

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Top view coffee sacks in warehouse

Level Ground Staging

Green coffee is stored in our temperature controlled facility where we work passionately to reduce our environmental impact using waste reduction, heat recapture and upcycling. 

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Close up green coffee beans

Testing our Green Beans

Once a shipment arrives, we test it against the earlier sample we received. This helps us to ensure consistent quality. Then the magic of roasting begins! We start by determining which roast compliments the beans to create the tastiest coffee for our customers. We roast our coffees in a variety of ways – light, medium, dark and French and blend some of our coffees to create bold, cohesive taste profiles. 

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Roasted coffee in cooling tray

Roasting and Packaging

Our team of roasters use small-batch fluid-bed roasters to produce uniquely smooth coffees. Once a roast is complete, it moves to our packaging department. Level Ground coffee is available in bean or ground format, which is handled by the packaging department immediately after being roasted, for maximum freshness.   

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Cardboard Level Ground box on conveyer belt

Delivery

Once our coffee is packaged, it's ready for delivery! We ensure timely delivery to cafés, offices, campuses, and grocery stores across Canada & the United States.   

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Latte in white mug

Brew and Enjoy!

We all like our coffee a certain way, light or darker roast, black or latté. Level Ground offers a full breadth of craft blends and roast profiles to meet your taste preference. 

At the end of this long journey, you can enjoy an amazing cup of coffee! Thank you for supporting small-scale organic farming and our passionate team. We're excited to be your coffee specialists.

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Just a peek into some of our coffee details

Curious about our Coffee Consumption?
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Square Feet Facility