Introduction – What is coffee?
Coffee is a brewed drink with a bitter, slightly acidic flavor. It is made from coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. Coffea is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. It contains about 90 species, the most important of which for commercial purposes is Coffea arabica, which provides about 60-70% of the world’s coffee, and Coffea robusta, which provides the rest. Coffee beans are the seeds of Coffea species and are used to produce the popular beverage coffee.
It is native to tropical Africa and is now grown in many countries around the world.
Coffea plants are shrubs or small trees that can grow up to 12 meters tall. The leaves are opposite, oval, and have a glossy finish. The flowers are white, pink, purple, or red and grow in clusters of two or three on short stems.
The Coffea plant produces cherry-like fruit that contains two seeds inside. When these seeds are roasted they produce coffee beans that can be ground into powder to make coffee drinks like espresso, latte or cappuccino.
Coffee beans are usually roasted to make them more flavorful and easier to grind. They are then ground and brewed with hot water to produce coffee.
The caffeine in coffee stimulates the central nervous system and makes people feel more awake and alert.
How to Grow Coffee?
The coffee plant is a tropical evergreen shrub that can grow up to 20 feet tall.
Coffee plants thrive in humid and warm climates. Coffee plants are usually grown outside but can be grown indoors as well. The best way to grow coffee depends on where you live and what you have access to. Coffee plants grow best in areas with warm tropical climates, with consistent temperatures between 15 to 24°C and moderate to high humidity. They require well-drained soil rich in organic matter, and full or partial sun exposure. Adequate rainfall, ranging from 60 to 100 inches per year, is also important for the growth of coffee plants, although some varieties can be grown with irrigation in areas with low rainfall. Additionally, proper pruning, shading, and pest management are crucial to maintaining the health and productivity of coffee plants. It is cultivated in over 70 countries around the world and has become a part of many people’s daily lives. The best-selling coffee beans come from Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam.
Importance of Coffee Variety Selection and Climate Conditions for Successful Growth
The best climate for growing coffee is determined by the variety of beans that you use, as well as the climate conditions. The beans can be classified into three main types: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica.
Robusta beans are best suited for hot climates because they have a higher amount of caffeine and less sugar than other varieties. Arabica beans are best suited for cooler climates because they have a lower amount of caffeine and more sugar than other varieties. There are also several varietals within each type, each with unique flavors, such as Bourbon, Typica, and Caturra (Arabica), and Congensis and Canephora (Robusta). In addition, Liberica beans are best suited for warmer climates because they have a medium amount of caffeine and sugar when compared to other varieties.
How to Harvest Your Grown Coffee Beans & The Final Steps of the Process
Coffee beans are harvested from the coffee plant and then processed in different ways.
Coffee beans are typically harvested either by hand or using machinery, depending on the size and resources of the farm.
Hand harvesting is done by manually picking the ripe cherries from the tree. This method is commonly used on small farms and for high-quality, specialty coffee production, as it allows for greater control over the ripeness and quality of the beans.
Machine harvesting, on the other hand, involves using a machine to strip the cherries from the branches all at once. This method is more efficient and less labor-intensive but can lead to over-ripe or under-ripe beans being harvested along with the ripe ones.
After harvesting, the coffee cherries are processed to remove the beans and any remaining pulp. They are then cleaned, sorted. and dried before being packaged and sent to roasters.
Coffee beans are sorted using a variety of methods, including:
- Hand sorting: manual inspection of the beans to remove any foreign objects, unripe or overripe beans.
- Gravity separators: beans are placed on a flat surface and vibrations cause lighter, defective beans to fall through.
- Density graders: beans are suspended in water and separated based on their density, with the lighter, defective beans floating to the top.
- Optical sorting machines: cameras and sensors are used to detect and sort beans based on size, color, and other physical characteristics.
- Magnetic separators: beans are passed over a magnetic field to remove any metallic objects.
The aim of sorting coffee beans is to produce a uniform, high-quality product for roasting and brewing.
After sorting they are cleaned, dried, roasted, hulled, graded, and even blended before being sold to consumers as whole beans or ground coffee. Coffee beans are blended to create a unique flavor profile by combining different types of coffee beans from different regions and/or roast levels. The beans are usually roasted separately, then combined in specific ratios to produce a desired flavor profile, such as a smooth and balanced taste, or a bold and robust flavor. The blended coffee is then re-roasted to ensure consistency in the flavor and aroma. The process of blending coffee beans is a form of art and science and can vary greatly among different coffee roasters and brands.