How Coffee grows?
The coffee beans are actually seeds. When they are dried, roasted and ground, those are used to brew the coffee. When the seeds are not processed, it can be also planted and it will grow into a coffee tree. In general the coffee seeds are planted in shaded nurseries, in large beds.
Where coffee grows?
In 2011 Brazil was the leader of the world in green coffee production, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Columbia.
The Arabica coffee seeds are cultivated in Arabia, Asia, eastern Africa or in Latin America. The average of Arabica plant is a large bush with dark-green oval leaves. The fruits are mature in 7-9 months, rounded and the coffee beans usually have two flat seeds. When there is just one bean develops, it will be called peaberry. For this type of coffee the average temperature should be between 15 to 24ºC.
The Robusta coffee seeds are grown in central and western Africa, throughout Southeast Asia, and sometimes in Brazil. This kind of coffee is a small tree or a robust shrub that grows up to 10 meters high.
For this coffee, the seeds are oval in shape and smaller then the Arabica seeds and it take up 11 months to mature. The average temperature for Robusta is from 24 to 30 ºC and can flourish in hotter and harsher conditions.
The annual rainfall for coffee should be of 1500 to 3000mm, Arabica needing less than the others species. Robusta coffee can be grown between the sea-level and about 800m, but Arabica has the best higher altitudes, and it’s often grown in hilly areas. Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee are the most important commercially species.
Because the coffee is often grown in mountainous areas, the ripe coffee cherries are most of the time picked by hand, as the widespread use of mechanical harvesters is not possible. The only exception is in Brazil, where the relatively flat landscape and immense size of the coffee fields, allows using machinery instead of manual harvesting.
The coffee trees yield between 2 to 4 kilos of cherries, while a good picker can harvest between 45 to 90 kilos per day, which means this will produce 9 to 18 kilos of coffee beans.
Coffee is harvested in two ways:
Strip Picked: The entire stripped are stripped off, even if they are branched at one time by hand or machines.
Selectively Picked –The ripe cherries, because they are the harvested, are picked up by hand.
This method is more costly and labor intensive because the trees are checked and picked every 8-10 days.
Roasting & Grinding
During roasting the typical color of the beans is brown, and the characteristic coffee taste of aroma components are formed, being known more than 1000 different aromas.
It is also possible from the final coffee to achieve the specific flavor according to the preference of the consumer, by variation of the roasting conditions.
For the Green coffee beans, for example, the heated should be between 180ºC and 240ºC for 1.5 to 20 minutes, and the color for the stronger roasting will be darker and the taste, will be more intense.
Coffee is typically roasted in horizontal rotating drums that are heated from below or fluidized bed roast chambers where the coffee is heated and moved by hot air.
On an industrial scale, the burners are typically heated with gas or oil. Following roasting, the beans are cooled down to room temperature. They may then be packaged as whole beans ready from sale.
If required, the roasted coffee beans may be ground. This is done in a coffee grinder. Grind size needs to be adapted for each intended use (espresso machine, filter brew, instant coffee) as it will also influence the taste in the cup.
The coffee productions in our days:
The coffee we drink on a daily bases, is grown in many countries over different continents. Robusta coffee is the most popular and is mainly grown in Africa, Asia and some parts of Brazil.
Though Brazil is the largest exporter of coffee, in recent years Vietnam became the main exporter of Robusta coffee beans. After Brazil and Vietnam, Indonesia comes in the third place as it’s one of the largest producers of Arabica coffee.