Coffee - A Journey from Bean to Cup

Coffee is one of the most loved beverages in the world. many great things happen over a cup.

There is an elaborate story behind every sip of coffee we have. it is very much true that coffee has evolved over period as mankind did. Coffee beans originate from plants of genus coffea. It has believed that there are approximately 25 to 100 species of coffee plants.

Anatomy of Coffee Cherry

The coffee beans are extracted from the coffee plants in the form of bright red cherries, which are later processed into coffee beans. Coffee cherry is a unique fruit that harbors 2 coffee beans in it. The beans pre protected by 2 layers called exocarp and mesocarp, a thin layer of pulp and a slimy layer called parenchyma.

Cultivation of Coffee Crop

Coffee plants are initially cultivated in shaded nurseries and later are planted into open fields in rainy season. Though the coffee trees can grow up to 9 feet their optimal height is restricted to lesser heights to aid easy access for harvesting. it usually takes a year for the coffee cherry to mature after flowering and it takes 5 years to attain full production.

Harvesting

coffee is a single yield crop in most of the places it is grown. Deep red coffee cherries are harvested either manually or via mechanically. Most of the harvesting is done manually hence making coffee a labor intense industry. The picked cherries are later processed either by dry or wet method.

While the dry method is a natural process which is done manually by spreading the cherries to dry out in the sun until the moisture content in the berries drop to 11 percent, the wet process involves removing the skin and  pulp from the cherry and later soaking the beans in fermentation tanks from 12 to 48 hours to remove the parenchyma. Further the beans are rested in the tanks for a while before they proceed out for drying.

Drying of The Beans

It is important for the beans to be dried until their moisture content is as less as 11 percent before they can be packed for storage. The beans are either traditionally sun dried or dried in large mechanical tumblers and are further subjected to a process called hulling where the endocarp from the wet processed beans and the entire husk from the dry processed cherries is removed.

The beans are then later sorted and graded according to their size and are now referred to as green coffee are ready to be exported to their desired location.

 

Roasting

Roasting is the key process that decides the final output of the coffee and is the key step which gives the coffee beans their distinctive color and aroma. the beans when roasted at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit releases the fragrant oil called caffeol, which gives the aroma to the beans. roasting is usually carried out by experienced people as the desired temperature for the roast depends on the variety of the bean.

Grinding

Grinding refers to crushing of the coffee beans to the desired size to obtain the optimum flavor.

The level of grind usually depends on the brewing methods that one intends to use to brew their coffee. The time that one brew their coffee determines the finesse of the grind. the finer grinds are hence brewed faster than the coarse grinds.

Brewing

This is the final step which results in the aromatic and the wonderful cup of coffee that we enjoy. While there are various methods that can be used to brew the coffee depending on the final output one wishes for. The various methods and right grind size for them will be covered in detail in the followings blogs.

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