Most of us are likely familiar with the image of a roasted coffee bean. However, few us may know what a coffee bean looks like before it is roasted and ready for our coffee grinders. According to the National Coffee Association, “The beans you brew are actually the processed and roasted seeds from a fruit, which is called a coffee cherry.”
Generally each coffee cherry houses two coffee beans. But, here’s a fun fact! Also according to the NCA, In about 5% of the world’s coffee, there is only one bean inside the cherry. This is called a peaberry (or a caracol, or “snail” in Spanish), and it is a natural mutation. Some people believe that peaberries are actually sweeter and more flavorful than standard beans, so they are sometimes manually sorted out for special sale.”
Though coffee trees are kept short to help make harvesting easier, they can grow up to 30 feet tall. After they’ve flowered, it takes coffee trees approximately 1 year to mature; however, the coffee beans will not be ready to harvest until up to 5 years from the time the tree is planted. Coffee trees can live up to 100 years but are generally the most fruitful between years 7 through 20. “The average coffee tree produces 10 pounds of coffee cherry per year, or 2 pounds of green beans” (NCA). Check out the Coffee Belt to learn more about where coffee is grown.
The harvested beans (technically seeds) will next go through a series of steps in order to prepare them for your cup. The steps are:
1. Processing – Separating the beans from the cherry housing.
2. Drying – The beans are next dried.
3. Milling – Which includes hulling, polishing, and grading and sorting the beans.
4. Export – The beans, or “green coffee”, is now ready to be shipped out.
5. Tasting – People known as “cuppers” test the coffee for quality and taste.
6. Roasting – Once internal temps reach 400 degrees F, “caffeol, a fragrant oil locked inside the beans, begins to emerge” (NCA).
7. Grinding Coffee
8. Brewing Coffee
Whether you’re a novice coffee drinker or a full fledge coffee connoisseur, we at High Plains Spice company can help guide you along the way. Please check out all of the incredible coffee options we have available here. We look forward to hearing from you!
Source: National Coffee Association, 2017. Retrieved from: www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/what-is-coffee