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Where Does Coffee Come From?

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Do you love coffee? If you do, then you’re probably wondering where it comes from. Is it a plant that grows in the ground? Does someone process the beans and make the coffee?

This blog post will answer your questions about where coffee comes from! We’ll also give you a complete guide on how to make the perfect cup of coffee every time.

What is Coffee?

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, the Comoros, and Indonesia.

Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the world’s equatorial regions. The two most common coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta; about 60% of the world’s coffee is Arabica, and 40% is Robusta.

The History of Coffee

The origins of coffee can be traced back centuries to an oral tradition in modern-day Ethiopia. There, legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi discovered the energizing effects of coffee after he noticed his goats behaving oddly after eating the berries from a certain tree.

Kaldi soon began experimenting with the berries himself and found that they kept him awake all night and made him feel more alert and energetic.

Word of Kaldi’s discovery soon spread, and people throughout Ethiopia began cultivating coffee plants in their gardens.

By the 16th century, coffee had become a popular drink throughout the Arab world, and people started cultivating coffee plantations in countries like Yemen and Indonesia. In the 17th century, coffee made its way to Europe and the New World, where it quickly gained popularity.

The Coffee Plant Explained

Coffee plants are evergreen shrubs or trees that grow to a height of five to ten meters. The leaves are glossy and dark green, while the flowers are small, white, and fragrant.

The fruit of the coffee plant is known as a “coffee cherry,” which contains two seeds or beans. These beans are what we use to make coffee. It takes around four to five years for a coffee plant to mature, at which point it will be producing coffee cherries or coffee berries.

The coffee plant also produces small, dark green leaves that are slightly glossy. These are “arabica” leaves and have a distinct flavor and aroma.

Cultivation and Production of Coffee

Now that you know where coffee comes from let’s explore the cultivation and production process.

Cultivation

  • Coffee cultivation is a complex process that requires careful monitoring and management. Coffee plantations are planted with a variety of different varieties of coffee trees, which grow in a variety of climates and soils.

Coffee trees must be harvested by hand, as the beans are very delicate and can be easily damaged if picked too early or late. The coffee beans are then sorted according to size, color, and quality before being sent for processing.

Here are the main steps of the cultivation process:

  • Planting – Coffee plants are planted in soil that has been carefully selected to ensure optimal growth. Coffee beans grow fast there.
  • Pruning and Fertilizing – Pruning ensures that the trees stay healthy and productive while fertilizing helps to increase yields.
  • Harvesting – The coffee beans are picked by hand and sorted according to size, color, and quality.
  • Drying – The beans are dried in the sun or a drying machine before being transported for processing.

 

Production

Once the coffee beans have been processed, they need to be roasted. Roasting helps bring out the beans’ flavor and makes them easier to grind. Coffee is generally roasted in batches, ranging from a few hundred grams to several thousand kilograms.

After roasting, the beans are ground and brewed into coffee. The brewing process can vary depending on the type of bean and the desired flavor profile. For example, espresso is brewed at a higher temperature and pressure than regular coffee.

Finally, the brewed coffee is packaged and shipped to stores and cafes worldwide. Now that you know a bit about where coffee comes from and how it’s produced, it’s time to enjoy your cup of java!

Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?

There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta.

  • Arabica Coffee Beans: This is the better of the two, making up about two-thirds of all coffee production. It is a more delicate, higher quality bean from Central and South America and some parts of Africa.

  • Robusta Coffee Beans: This is a hardier, cheaper bean that grows in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Brazil. It has a strong flavor and a fuller body than Arabica beans and contains more caffeine. Robusta beans are often used as filler ingredients in pre-ground coffee blends or to make espresso.

These are the two main types of beans, but there are also wide varieties within those categories, such as green coffee beans. These areas are known as Coffee Belt.

How Are Coffee Beans Harvested

Two primary methods are used to harvest coffee beans: selective and strip Picking.

  • Selective Picking is done by hand, where farmers use a sharp knife or clippers to carefully select only perfectly ripe cherries from each branch of the coffee tree. This method allows for greater control over quality and results in fewer damaged beans than other harvesting methods.

  • Strip Picking is less labor-intensive, which involves picking all the cherries from a single branch in one go. This method runs the risk of harvesting unripe and overripe beans simultaneously, but it is much faster than selective Picking and, therefore, more cost-effective.

These are the two most common methods used for harvesting coffee beans, but variations do exist depending on region and type of bean.

 

How Coffee Beans Are Processed

After the beans have been harvested, they must be processed before being roasted and brewed. The processing method varies from region to region but typically includes drying, sorting, cleaning, and hulling.

  • Drying involves spreading the beans out in the sun or using a mechanical dryer to reduce their moisture content to around 11%.

  • Sorting is done by hand or machine and involves separating the beans according to size, color, and quality.

  • Cleaning is done to remove any debris, such as twigs, stones, or leaves, that may be mixed in with the beans.

  • Hulling removes the bean’s outer shell, revealing the inner parchment layer. Once all these steps have been completed, the beans are ready for packaging and shipment.

The processing of coffee beans is important in creating a great cup of joe, so it’s important to know how different methods can affect the flavor.

Coffee Bean Roast Levels Explained

Several roast levels can be applied to coffee beans, each affecting the flavor and strength.

But first, what does it mean to roast coffee beans?

Roasting is the process of heating green (unroasted) coffee beans to bring out their flavor and aroma. During this process, the bean’s moisture content decreases, its flavor compounds are released, and it develops a caramelized outer shell. Roasting can also affect the bean’s caffeine levels depending on the length of time and temperature used.

Now, let’s look at the different roast levels:

  • Light Roast: These beans are light brown and have a slightly sweet flavor with no oil on the surface. They retain most of their original flavor profile, making them great for tasting single-origin coffees.

  • Medium Roast: These beans are darker and have a sweeter, more balanced flavor. They also have a bit of oil on the surface which helps to add body to the coffee.

  • Dark Roast: These beans are dark brown or almost black and have an intense flavor with a smoky note. The caffeine content is usually lower due to the longer roasting time, and there is a significant amount of oil on the surface.

Each roast level has its unique flavor profile and can be used in different brewing methods depending on your preference. So it’s important to experiment with different roast levels to find one that works for you!

The Main Types of Coffee Compared

Eight types of coffee are typically found in cafes and stores, each with its distinct flavor profile. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. Americano

  2. Black Coffee

  3. Cappuccino

  4. Espresso

  5. Latte

  6. Macchiato

  7. Mocha

  8. Cold Brew Coffee

Let’s take a closer look:

Americano

The Americano is a coffee made by diluting an espresso with hot water. As a result, it has a similar strength to espresso but a more mellow flavor. Many people find that adding hot water makes the Americano more enjoyable to drink than straight espresso.

Black Coffee

Black coffee is simply coffee that is brewed without any added milk or sugar. As a result, it has a strong flavor that some people find bitter. However, many coffee lovers appreciate black coffee’s bold taste and find it quite refreshing. It is mostly used to make instant coffee.

Cappuccino

A cappuccino is a type of coffee that is made with espresso and steamed milk. The steamed milk gives the cappuccino a creamy texture and milder flavor, making it one of the most popular types of coffee. In addition, the espresso provides a boost of caffeine, making the cappuccino perfect for an early-morning pick-me-up.

Espresso

Espresso is a coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. As a result, it has a strong flavor and high caffeine content. Espresso is often used as the base for coffee drinks, such as cappuccinos and lattes.

Latte

A latte is a type of coffee that is made with espresso and steamed milk. The steamed milk makes the latte creamy and mild, while the espresso provides a bolder flavor. Many enjoy adding flavors to their lattes, such as vanilla or chocolate.

Macchiato

A macchiato is similar to a latte but with less milk and more foam. As a result, it has a stronger flavor than a latte and is often considered a more classical Italian beverage. The name “macchiato” comes from the Italian word for “marked,” referring to the foamy espresso on top of the drink.

Mocha

Mocha is another latte type that includes chocolate, espresso, and milk. The chocolate gives the mocha sweetness and richness, making it one of the most popular types of coffee drinks. Mochas can be topped with whipped cream or chocolate shavings for an extra indulgent treat.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee steers coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period ( typically 12 hours). As a result, it has lower acidity levels than regular coffee and tends to be smoother in taste. In addition, cold brew coffee has higher caffeine levels due to the higher concentration of grounds used in brewing. For these reasons, cold-brew coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Summary and Conclusion

That’s it; we’ve covered everything you need to know about where coffee comes from. We hope this guide was helpful and easy to follow.

If you want more information on the different types of coffee or how to make the perfect cup of joe, check out our other blog posts.

And as always, happy caffeinating! Where do you think the best coffee in the world is grown? Let us know in the comments below.

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