Coffee bean production is a worldwide industry, second equal moneywise to petroleum. It is 2000 years old. There are two main types of beans, arabica, first produced on the Arabian Peninsula, and robusta with double the caffeine.
The coffee cherry is not a valued fruit; only its bean is needed. This bean is aged, then roasted, ground and finally brewed to satisfy over 400 million coffee drinkers worldwide.
There are two colors, red and green. The red has more aroma, lower acidic levels and produces better coffees. This element is critical.
The majority of beans are picked by hand, but only as fast as just three-ish baskets a day. They are skilled at separating green and red beans, and their skill influences our final product.
Once picked, the fruit is separated from the cherry. The fruit is soaked, scrubbed and then rubbed mechanically. Then they are washed to remove excess residue. The beans are dried on big concrete or rock type slabs until they contain only 12% of their original water content – fermentation.
They are sorted mainly by machine. Some are rejected. Others are quickly rubbed to remove the skin. The better beans are then aged for 3 to 8 years. The rest will be roasted within the year.
To give the varied flavors, the beans double in size as they are roasted (400 F). They dry, crack and go brown, releasing their flavorsome oils.
Varied techniques ensure proper roasting. Java and Kenya beans enjoy a light roasting, by way of example. The beans release carbon dioxide gas for a few days or by being packed into perforated shipping bags.
A few weeks later, the beans are ground. Huge burrs (grinders) crush them to a uniform granule. Choppers produce a less even granule. Turkish coffee is made by pounding the beans into a fine powder.
Whichever granules you choose, brewing is the last step. Better brewing machines produce a better cup of coffee. There are four processes involved. These include the boiling, the level of pressure, the gravity, and the ability to steep.
Boiling water is rushed through the coffee grounds, filtered and settled. For espresso, the pressure of the just below boiling point water as it is forced through the grounds is imperative. With the common drip coffee makers, the level of gravity of the hot water as it drips on the grounds and through the filter is important. The steeping process relies on big bags of granules, very much like large tea bags. The better the perforations in the bag, the more easily the hot water can penetrate and produce the desired cup of coffee.
The sometimes laborious and long trip the coffee bean takes from mountainous or jungle regions worldwide to the final grounds in your stores, is worth the wait. The final product is one that is prized worldwide. New research is assessing the pros and cons of coffee drinking, moderate being the best. It is another reason why coffee is so well loved.