There are two kinds of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. The Robusta beans have 2% caffeine because these beans are very hardy. Robusta beans are used for commercial coffees (you know, the ones that are already pre-ground at the local supermarket that make a stiff, yet stale tasting cup of coffee).
The Arabica beans have less caffeine (about 1%), but they are considered the best because of the higher quality of taste, smoothness, and flavors. Most quirky and quaint coffee shops use the Arabica bean because it does have a better flavor and richer roast than the Robusta beans.
Arabica beans grow best in rich mountain soil. It takes typically three to five years for the coffee ‘cherries’ to come to fruition. Depending on the combination of climate, rain, sunshine, and shade.
Coffee’s taste is drastically influenced from whatever region in the world that it is grown and cultivated in: soil, altitude, and climate. All coffee is grown between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer where the air is warm and humid. There are four major regions that coffee is grown to a specific art: Latin America-Caribbean, Asia and Pacific Islands, East Africa and Arabia, and North America.
The North America regions are the biggest exporters of coffee, and America is the biggest importer of coffee. Hawaii is well known for growing Kona Coffee, a specialty coffee. In Hawaii, coffee trees grow on in the soil of active volcanoes.
Latin American- Caribbean coffee is where the majority of coffee is produced because the equatorial climate is perfect for growing coffee plants. The largest manufacturer of coffee in the world is Brazil. They produce about thirty-five percent of the world’s supply of morning caffeine. Most of Brazilian coffee growers use the dry process (sun-dried) to craft coffee.
Columbia is the second largest producer of coffee at twelve percent; however, Colombian coffee is the most prevalent coffee sipped in the United States. Another country that is recognized for their exceptionally high quality of coffee is Costa Rica. They are the ninth largest producer of coffee internationally.
Costa Rica is so serious about their coffee economy that they have banned the Robusta coffee plant, deeming it lower quality. Costa Rica focuses entirely on the Arabica coffee plants.
Asia-Pacific coffees also have ideal climates for the growth of coffee plants, and these subtropical and tropical areas create very unique and greatly desired gourmet coffees. Indonesia is the largest producer of coffee in this region and the third largest producer in the world. Indonesia has three islands that are renowned for the quality and flavor of their beans: Java, Sulawesi, and Sumatra.
Java is identified for aged coffee, where beans are stored in a warehouse for two or three years. Sulawesi is known for combining sweetness and earthiness in using the dry processing method. Sumatra produces a rich and unique coffee.
Surprisingly, India is also a great coffee producer, about twenty-five percent of Asia’s production. Indian growers like to infuse flavors into their beans: pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove.
Africa-Arabia is the birthplace of coffee, where it was first discovered, and is considered to be the finest grower of coffees in the world. Each of the coffees from this area have intensely distinct flavors characterized by dryness, acidity, fruit and chocolate hints, intense aromas, and dark flavors.
Ethiopia, coffee legend has it, is where coffee trees were first discovered. Their coffee has a full-flavored texture that is earthy and full-bodied. Yemen and the Ivory Coast are famous for the quality of their coffees. Yemen is now synonymous with Mocha (also a city in the country), which is indicative of high quality coffee.
Other coffee producing countries that are quite famous to coffee drinkers are Kenya, Congo, and Tanzania. Because Africa-Arabia is the birthplace of coffee, they have a huge influence on the international coffee industry.
Coffee harvesters, when they observe that the coffee cherries are ready to pick, strip the branches of the fruit by hand, and begin the process to dry and peel the outer layer of the fruit.
There are two ways to process coffee so we, in the United States (the number 1 consumer of coffee internationally), can enjoy a flavorful, exciting cup of coffee whenever we choose: dry and wet processing.
Dry processing is allowing the beans to be sun dried for nearly three weeks. Then, the beans are sifted by hand to remove the outer layers to get to the caffeine-inducing inside.
Wet processing is when the outer layers are removed from the bean straight away. The beans are put into a washed process that involves fermentation (which makes the remaining outside slough easier to remove) and rinsing.
Like everything, from sports to modeling to singing, the best beans are selected for roasting based on size and looks and packed up for external roasting. Usually the best beans are sent to external roasters outside of the country, and the inferior beans are kept for roasting at a local level.
Coffee’s roast all depends on how long it has been “cooked.” Beans are roasted from 370 degrees to 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. The green fruit (coffee bean), changes to a brown or dark brown (depending on how long they are roasted and what flavor is desired) and splits open, emanating the delicious aroma of what we think defines the smell of coffee.
The longer the beans are roasted, the darker in looks and flavor they become. There are light, medium, dark, and extra dark roasts available. Roasters prefer to name the roasts after countries where coffee is generally preferred a certain way: American Roast, light; French Roast, medium; Italian Roast, dark; and, the ultimate potency of darkness, Turkish Roast, extra dark.
All of this information is interesting, yet the most important part of coffee is how you drink it. There is a method to truly enjoying your coffee every morning. After experimenting with what flavor or region of coffee you prefer, make sure you grind your whole bean to the specific coffee maker you have at home in your kitchen.
Grinding the beans for a specific coffee machine ensures that you will have the best coffee possible. Put the grounds in your coffee pot or French Press (a way to brew stronger, richer coffee).
First, smell the coffee because this is the primary indication of what this cup you have prepared has to offer.
Second, slurp your coffee. This helps to spread the coffee over your taste buds. By doing this, you get the full scope of the flavor and weight that coffee has to offer your tongue.
Take your time drinking your coffee; savor the creation in your cup.
There are many ways to enjoy your coffee and to keep enjoying it throughout your entire love affair of coffee. The important thing to remember is not to just drink it because you need your buzz in the morning to get you going, but to drink it because you enjoy the feel, the taste, the flavor of coffee.
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