Café del Rey is a small start up coffee company that grew out of Del Rey Ministries, an organization that supports and trains pastors in the Bateys around Hato Mayor as a means of implementing positive change and works closely with MGM in these villages. The start-up is run by a local family that approached Del Rey Ministries for a loan and has prospered into its own company. The proceeds from the coffee goes first towards supporting the owner’s family and then profits go towards supporting the pastors. Starting a company in the DR is an incredibly difficult process that is highly controlled by the government, so Café del Rey is truly a success story! The company is growing and recently planted their own coffee trees with the hopes of next year growing their own coffee rather than buying the cherries at the start of each season. I had the opportunity to tour their “factory” (the porch and yard of their home) last week!
Step 1: A Coffee Tree. Harvest is usually around November.
Step 2: Pick the Cherries. (Or purchase them at this stage)
Step 3: Dry the Cherries. This can take up to two or three weeks and is done outdoors on tarps. They are ready when they become super light and you can hear rattling when you shake them.
The dried cherries are then sent out to a factory to be shelled. This is not an expensive step but requires proper machinery. Once the beans are returned, the family must sort them by hand to separate the good from bad beans.
Step 4: Roast! There are five types of roast: light, medium, dark, French, and espresso, each of which depends on how much time the beans are roasted for (Medium is around 12 minutes). You can hear a popping sound almost like popcorn in between light and medium, and French and espresso which helps to determine how much time is needed.
Step 5: Cool and Package! The beans are then cooled by the mixer and then dumped into a bin where they sit for 4-6 hours to add flavor before packaging.