What is coffee? coffee is healthy and useful drink, which is basically made from ground, roasted seeds of a tropical shrub. The coffee production process starts from the farm. Coffee plants actually grow in shrubs. They start off from the coffee bean which is actually a seed. The seeds are first planted in large beds and watered frequently then transferred to permanent land where they take 4 years to mature and produce coffee cherries.
Harvesting coffee cherries
Depending on the coffee variety, it takes approximately three or four years for the coffee shrubs/trees to produce fruit. The fruit produced by the coffee tree is known as a coffee cherry. Coffee cherries turn from green to a deep, bright red color when they are ready for harvest.
Typically, coffee is only harvested once a year. The harvesting process mostly involves an intensive hand-picking process. However, in some parts of the world where coffee planting is huge, the process is mechanized.
They are harvested by strip piking, where all cherries are stripped of the branches of the three or selective picking where only the ripe fruit gets picked for processing.
Processing and drying
Once harvested, the coffee cherries are taken for processing immediately. This is because cherries will spoil really fast if they are not processed.
There are two main ways to process coffee: the dry and wet methods. The dry method is common in countries that have limited water resources. For this method, the picked coffee cherries are laid out on a flat surface and left in the sun to dry. Raking and turning the cherries allows them to dry out evenly and prevents spoilage. The drying process may take up to weeks depending on the climate.
The wet method, on the other hand, is meant to remove the pulp from the cherry so the coffee bean dries with the parchment skin only. The newly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine that separates the skin and pulp. The beans are then passed through water channels and separated by size. They are placed in water tanks to ferment for close to 2 days depending on the climate. Once the thin layer of mucilage on the coffee beans dissolves, they are rinsed and then dried.
Just like other products, coffee is tested for taste and quality. In the process known as cupping, the coffee beans are tasted for visual quality and how they taste. The cupper, who is the taser evaluates the beans by roasting the coffee bean samples, grinding them, and infuses that is boiled to a specific temperature.
Roasting coffee beans causes a chemical change that affects the taste of your coffee. The most notable change when roasting is the darkening of the beans. There are three ways to roast a coffee bean, light roast, dark roast and medium-dark roast.
A light roast gives your coffee a dry, dull light brown look. This roast gives your coffee a mild and fruity taste with a bit of strong acidity. A light roast leaves the bean with a strong aftertaste.
The medium roast gives the coffee bean dull, dry, medium brown color. The bean has a stronger roast flavor and a less acidic taste. Medium-dark roast gives the bean a rich, dark chestnut brown color. It gives the ban a perfect balance in terms of aroma, brightness and taste. Dar roast turns your beans dark brown and gives them a shiny/oily look. The bean has a bitter taste to it and is not acidic.
Finally, Grinding and brewing
Coffee can be ground at a factory, or at home using a coffee grinding machine. The process of grinding ensures you get the most flavor out of the beans. Coffee beans are ground differently depending on the type of brewing methods you want to use. The amount of time the coffee will stay in water during brewing will determine the fineness of the grind. For example, espresso machines utilize fine grind beans for quick up of coffee.
There are several ways to brew coffee: from using the espresso machine to the drip method, French press, stovetop Moka pot, pressure brewing and more. All these methods have a few things in common, you use hot water to make your coffee, the coffee beans are ground to some level of fineness and you can add cream, or other products to change and enhance the taste of your coffee.