The Coffee Bean Story

This is the story of how the humble coffee becomes a world celebrity. It’s not about the Labrador named Coffee Beans attached to the Sheriff’s Department sniffing drugs and bombs. It’s about “the” coffee beans we are familiar with. It’s about the fragrant aroma that stimulates our senses in the morning. The tingling sensation we get when we take the first sip in the morning. How we manage to get an extra boost of energy whenever we feel tired and sleepy. Let us take some time to ponder the processes it has to go through before it can be marketed.

Processing The Berries

After the berries have been harvested, it needs to undergo a process where the flesh of the berries is removed. The berries are placed in special machines separating the flesh from the seed. This seed is commonly called “coffee beans.” It will now undergo a fermentation process for a period of time. This process is done in order to remove the slimy mucilage coating them.

After having undergone the mandatory fermentation, they are thoroughly flushed with clean water. This process is to remove the foul smelling residue due to the fermentation process and the waste water is a main cause of pollutant.

They are then dried under the sun or by machines, until the moisture level is about 10% before they can be packed for storage.

Another method of getting to the beans without undergoing the fermentation process is to dry the whole berry in the sun. It normally takes about 10 to 14 days to complete the process with constant raking to prevent mildew from forming. This method is popular and widely used by producers where water is scarce. The dried flesh is then physically removed leaving only the seed.

The dried beans is then sorted and graded before they can be stored or shipped to buyers. At this stage, they are called green coffee beans.

Sometimes the coffee beans will undergo an additional aging process. The reason for this is because when the beverage was first introduced into Europe, it has undergone a journey of about six months. Europeans have already developed a preference for this taste and therefore to simulate the taste, they are further aged.

Roasting Process

Roasting is the final process the coffee beans have to undergo before they are commercially marketed. It is also possible to purchase un-roasted coffee beans that you can personally roast them yourself.

When the coffee beans are subjected to heat, there’s a chemical reaction happening within, where the sugar and acid will begin to react releasing its aroma. It will turn darker due to caramelized sucrose. When this happens, the coffee beans are quickly cooled to prevent damage.

When roasting, a lot of carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. The carbon dioxide helps to “seal” the coffee beans from losing its flavor and aroma. Depending on how they are stored, it may take some time before the optimum peak flavor is reached. After reaching its peak, it will start losing its flavor again.

If you are trying to roast your own coffee beans at home, be aware that you may not be successful during the first few times. You might over-burn your coffee beans during your first few tries. Never be discouraged, but try until you get the taste and flavor that appeals to you. Remember to process in small amounts to maintain freshness of your coffee.

Grinding The Coffee Beans

You need to grind the single origin coffees beans first before using it. The coarseness of your powder depends on your preference and the type of coffee-brewing method. It can range from coarse to very fine as in the Turkish grind. For example, if you’re using a percolator, a coarse powder is suitable but if you are using an Espresso machines, an extra fine powder is required.

Conclusion

The coffee beans have to undergo a string of processes before it can be consumed. The final flavor of the coffee depends on the journey they take in order to reach its final form. Different methods and different techniques will give rise to a varied flavor. This is the reason why there are so many flavors to the simple coffee bean.