Where does coffee come from?
Coffee beans come from evergreen coffee trees which typically grow in subtropical climates such as in Ethiopia where coffee trees originated. In the wild, these trees can grow to be 10 meters high. Many people think that coffee beans come from a bush, because the trees are trimmed and pruned. This is done so the beans are easier to harvest. Cream-colored or white Jasmine
aroma flowers which are star shaped grow rather closely together and directly on the trees' stems. The flowers are well protected by the trees' long leathery leaves. Polinization is carried out
by wind and insects. When the trees are four years old, they bloom and bear fruit. After flowering, the trees produce red fruits. After about six months, the red fruits are ready to be
picked. Trees which are about 20-25 years old are at their optimal ages and most productive.
The coffee berry is actually a stone fruit the size of a little cherry. In each berry lie two coffee beans with the flat sides facing each other. The color of these raw beans can vary from green, blue-green, yellow-green and light brown depending on the type of tree and its geographic location.
Coffee beans can be found in large varieties and qualities but come from either Coffee Arabica or Coffee Robusta. Each type has its own special taste and characteristic depending on the type,
climate, farming soil, storing, sorting, etc.
Coffee Arabica is the most widely used type of coffee in many countries and is also the oldest. It has a mild flavor and tastes very good on its own in an unblended form.
Coffee Robusta is a rather hardy type which can grow in many different regions. This type has a stronger taste and is almost undrinkable in its pure form. It is best suited when mixed with
From Raw to Roasted.
After harvesting, the beans are extracted from the hulls. This is done through either the "dry" or the "wet" methods. The original and natural method is the dry method which is used
mostly where the access to water may prove too difficult or where the quality of the coffee beans are inferior. For the better coffee the wet method is used and is referred to as "washed coffee". These raw coffee beans are harder, gray-green and have no aroma before they are roasted. During roasting they dry out, become dark, crisp and 25 % larger. The darker the coffee bean, the longer it has been roasted. Harshly roasted beans give a bitter and burnt taste. Weak roasting, produces coffee with neither a developed taste nor an aroma.
Brazilian coffee is in most cases of the Arabica type. Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer. This coffee has a mild but full flavor.
Columbian coffee is only of the Arabica type. Because of the climate, height and volcanic earth, the best coffee from this region is produced on the slopes of Andes mountains. This coffee has a full-bodied and strong taste and can be described as a little acidic.
Java coffee belongs to the Arabica coffee category and grown in the Indonesian islands. The volcanic earth and favorable climatic conditions contribute to the coffees' special flavor.
African coffees are predominantly from east Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania as well as Central Africa such as Burundi. These countries produce an abundance of fine tasting coffees. Zaire in the West African region produces primarily Robusta coffee.
Mocca coffee is Arabica coffee which comes from Yemen and is named after the port of Mocca. This coffee is acidic and spicy. The names Mocca and Java are used to define a particular taste rather a specific coffee.
Caffeine free coffee is developed for people who cannot tolerate caffeine because it disturbs their sleep if they drink coffee in the evening. Therefore, a caffeine-free coffee has been developed. This is a process through which the caffeine has been "removed" from the beans before they are roasted and processed.
Max Havelaar coffee is a coffee that has an elephant logo on the package. The elephant logo guarantees that the coffee has been bought directly from the coffee bean producers which assures the buyer of lower prices. Some of these coffees are organic.
Organic coffees are mostly grown in Middle and South America. The production and harvesting of these coffee beans are monitored by international organizations. Packages follow a unique marking and numbering system.
Coffee with added taste is vastly
increasing popularity. About 7 percent of all retailed coffee has added flavors. These coffees have exotic flavors added to them, among others chocolate, mint, and orange flavors. In Europe some of the more popular
flavor additions are vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and fruits.