Coffee Bean Plant to Coffee Cup

From its origins over two thousand years ago, Coffee Bean processing has grown into a worldwide market whose output as a commodity has a dollar value second only to oil. There are numerous different varieties of coffee bean, but as far as the coffee bean plant is concerned, there are only two classes. These are the Arabica, first cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula, and the Robusta which contains about twice the caffeine.

By contrast to wine, coffee beans or coffee cherrys are not valued for their fruit, but only for the bean inside. It is that bean that is aged, roasted, ground and brewed to make the four hundred million cups of coffee consumed around the world per day.

Coffee Bean TreeThe two varieties of coffee bean are green and red. The red bean has a higher aromatic oil and lower acid content than the green and is used to produce the finer coffees. In view of the difference between the two types of bean the most important stage in the life cycle of coffee beans is the picking.

Most coffee beans are hand picked by labourers whose output is only a few baskets per day. However, being able to separate the red and green beans is a valued skill and has a large effect on the final product.

Coffee Bean PickingAfter picking, the fruit is removed by soaking, scouring and mechanical rubbing. Then the coffee beans are washed to remove any remaining flesh. This 'fermentation' stage produces beans which are then dried in the sun over large concrete or rock slabs, until they have about 12% water content.

From there the coffee beans are sorted by color and size, sometimes by hand increasingly often by machine. Some of the beans are discarded, others polished to remove the skin. For select types, the beans are then aged anywhere from three to eight years, while others go to be roasted within a year.

Roasted Coffee BeansDuring the 400-degree Fahrenheit roasting the coffee beans expand to about twice their dry size, crack and change color from green to brown as oil in the interior is released. It's this oil that gives the different types of coffee their basic flavor.

Naturally a wide variety of in-house techniques have developed for roasting coffee beans. For example, beans from Java and Kenya are often lightly roasted producing a distinctive flavor. After roasting, the beans produce carbon dioxide for several days so the beans are 'de-gassed' either by airing or packaging in semi-permeable shipping bags.

Coffee Bean Plant to Coffee CupThe resulting beans, up to a few weeks later, are then ground where again there are variations in styles and results. In some cases, 'burr' grinders are used to crush the beans to a consistent-sized granule. In others, choppers are used to chop the beans into small pieces with a less homogeneous-sized result. Turkish coffee is made by pounding the beans to a powdery consistency, using mortar and pestle.

The final result is then brewed, where the variety of styles and techniques used in making good coffee is almost as great as the number of brewers. All these fine differences fall into one of four categories, however: boiling, pressure, gravity and steeping.

Coffee Making Machine - Nescafe Dolce GustoIn 'boiling', hot water is run through the grounds then filtered or settled. In pressure methods, such as that used in espresso coffee making machines, the slightly less than boiling hot water is forced through the grounds at high pressure. Gravity or 'drip brew' drips hot water onto coffee grounds and filters. Steeping is similar to the method of tea bags, though the bags are much larger.

Through its long journey from mountains or jungles, coffee beans go into making up one of the world's most treasured drinks. And with the new research demonstrating the health benefits of moderate consumption, one has even greater reason to be grateful for the effort.

Coffee Bean to Cup Articles

About Coffee Beans
Coffee beans per se are not a bean at all but rather the seed of the coffee cherry fruit. The coffee plant or tree is grown in around eighty countries around the world

Roasting Coffee Beans
Roasting coffee beans is an art and science that takes years to perfect, especially since no two batches of coffee beans are ever the same, even when they are grown on the same farm

Types of Coffee
There are numerous types of coffee roasts from various parts of the world as well as speciality and gourmet choices such as espresso, cappuccino, lattes, mochas and various flavoured coffees

Making Good Coffee
Most anybody can make a cup of coffee but making good coffee is another story. A great cup of coffee needs the perfect blend of freshly ground coffee beans and not rehydrated instant granules

Coffee Making Machines
For many, coffee making machines are like having breakfast with an old friend that offers both utility and comfort since starting their day without a good cup of coffee would be unthinkable

Coffee Accessories
Home coffee accessories such as a coffee bean roaster, coffee bean dispenser and your own coffee grinder will all help lift your coffee experience to a whole new level

Coffee Recipes
As well as being the worlds favorite beverage, coffee can be used for a lot more than just a drink. Coffee in food recipes are abound for baking and cooking as well

Coffee Health Effects
Coffee health effects have been the subject of many studies over the years with some more recent results concluding that coffee may not be as bad for you as previously thought