Coffee Notes, by Jay Spencer Seiler

How Coffee is Made.
January 27, 2010, 2:15 am
Filed under: Coffee | Tags: ,

Do you ever wonder how coffee is made? It’s not a simple process. Coffee comes from various regions around the world and doesn’t start as the fragrant bean you are familiar with. In fact, coffee doesn’t start as a bean at all. It is a fruit, a cherry in fact. Inside the cherry are two coffee beans (sometimes it is only one bean and these are called peaberry beans).

Coffee trees take 3-5 years to produce their fruit and they require special attention to soil, light and climate to produce a quality harvest.
The cherries are either picked by hand or machine harvested. Once harvested, the fruit must be removed from the cherry to get to the beans.

Very soon after harvest, the beans have to be processed to avoid the sticky fruit from fermenting and spoiling the beans. There are two ways of processing beans: wet and dry.

Dry processing is a centuries old method in which the harvested beans are laid out in the sun to dry for about 15 days or so. They are periodically turned and spread to dry evenly.

Wet processing is a more modern approach that takes place just hours after the beans have been harvested. It involves a cycle of washing and fermentation. This allows the pulp left on the beans to soften making it easier to rinse the fruit off. This processing method is preferable because it causes less damage to the beans.

After processing, the beans are sorted through and “bad” beans are discarded. The beans that are left are bagged up and shipped.

The final and most important step is the roasting. Roasting beans requires an exact science of time and temperature to arrive at the perfect roast. Roasting is actually cooking the beans to a certain roast (Mild, Medium, and Dark Roasts). During the process, the bean splits and the waxy coating called the “chaff” is released and discarded. The longer the beans are roasted, the more their flavor and fullness are released. This is why lighter beans tend to be milder and darker beans tend have more fullness and flavor.
This great article was from Coffee Illuminated, Another great Coffee Blog.

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