Coffee is gaining popularity day by day and it’s more than just a beverage from coffee bean . Café culture has recently boosted coffee consumption in India, which is historically a tea-drinking country. Coffee connoisseurs start and end their days with the beverage. It’s easy to take coffee for granted because it’s such a common occurrence in our life. Before the coffee-brewing process, every coffee bean needs to travel a long way and go through a lot of processes to get to your cup. Let’s take you to the story of coffee and how it reaches your cup. You’ll have even more reasons to appreciate your next cup of coffee.
Planting the beans:
A seed or a coffee bean is used to make coffee after being dried, roasted, and ground. The unprocessed seed of a coffee bean is then planted. Coffee seeds are frequently grown in enormous beds in shaded nurseries. They are watered frequently and kept out of direct sunshine until the seedlings are hard enough to be planted. During the rainy season, planting is done regularly to keep the soil moist while the roots grow themselves.
Harvesting and Picking:
Newly planted coffee trees might take anywhere from 3 to 4 years to develop fruit known as coffee cherry, depending on the cultivation. Initially, the coffee cherry is green in color, but when the coffee cherry is mature and ready to be harvested, it turns a beautiful, deep crimson color.
All coffee is picked in one of two ways, whether by hand or by machine:
Strip Picked cherry are picked all at once from the branch, either by machine or by hand.
Only the ripe cherries are plucked, and they are hand-picked one at a time. Cherry pickers rotate among the trees every eight to ten days and select the ripest cherries. The method is very labor-intensive and expensive, it is only used to harvest the finer Arabica beans.
Processing the Beans:
There are usually two methods for processing the coffee beans after all the harvest and picking.
This ancient method of coffee bean preparation is still utilized in many places with limited water resources. Depending on the conditions, this process may take several weeks for each batch of coffee. It starts by simply laying out coffee beans on large surfaces to dry in the sun after being plucked. The cherries are raked and turned throughout the day to keep them from deteriorating, then covered at night or during rainy days to keep them from getting wet.
It’s a modern water-based process for extracting the pulp from coffee beans. It aids in the separation of ripe and unripe cherries. First, the Coffee beans are fed into pulping machines after passing through water channels for separating the skin and pulp. This entire process produces coffee mucilage, a sticky component of the coffee bean. Natural enzymes subsequently break down the mucilage, and the coffee regains its original flavor. The beans are either sun-dried or manually dried for 24-48 hours. After this step, the coffee beans are sorted and selected. We call the Coffee parchment coffee at this point.
This method yields coffee that is sweet or honey-like. Mucilage is not eliminated in this approach, as it is in wet processing. The mucilage layer is sweet, giving the coffee beans flavor. However, because it is critical to dry the coffee beans as soon as they are processed, this coffee is prepared in places with lower humidity.
Fermenting the coffee beans:
To remove the parenchymal layer of mucilage from coffee beans, they are fermented. Coffee fermentation takes place within a strange cat-like creature known as Kopi Luwak. The fermentation of coffee cherries takes place inside the stomach of the Asian palm civet, a cat-like animal. Its feces or dung is collected and used to make a unique and delicious coffee. These beans are then thoroughly cleaned before being roasted.
Drying the coffee beans:
If the beans were processed using the wet method, the pulped and fermented beans must now be dried to around 11% moisture content to be stored appropriately. Until they are ready to be shipped, the parchment coffee beans are dried and stored in jute or sisal bags.
Storing the beans:
Before being shipped for milling, all of the coffee beans are meticulously packed into air-tight containers. This is done to prevent the coffee bean to ferment or losing its aroma before grinding. Storage is just as important as milling.
Before the coffee goes for export, the parchment coffee goes through these processes.
The parchment covering on wet-processed coffee is removed by hulling. Hulling dry processed coffee entails removing the entire dried husk of the dried cherries.
Although it’s an optional step, still the important one. During polishing, the machine removes any silver skin that remains on the beans after hulling.
Beans are graded and categorized according to size and weight, as well as color flaws and other imperfections. The coffee beans are then passed through a succession of screens to determine their size. Moreover, using an air jet, they are also pneumatically sorted to distinguish the heavy from light beans. The faulty beans are either hand-picked or machine-picked. Beans that are unsuitable owing to flaws are discarded. In many countries, this process is carried out both by machine and by hand, ensuring that only the highest quality coffee beans are shipped.
After the process of milling, the coffee is then called ‘green coffee’. It is loaded aboard the shipping containers in jute or sisal bags or bulk-shipped within plastic-lined containers.
Tasting the quality:
Coffee is tested and checked regularly to ensure that it is of high quality. The process is called Cupping and is normally performed in a chamber created expressly for it. The cupper assesses the beans’ overall appearance and takes a scent of them which is crucial in determining the quality of the coffee. After that, the coffee goes from the taste buds of the taster, and the coffee is tasted.
Roasting the Coffee:
We buy pleasant brown beans from our favorite stores or cafés after the green coffee goes through the process of roasting. After being roasted, the beans are swiftly cooled, either by air or by water.
- Light roast, often known as cinnamon roast, is characterized by dry, pale-colored beans. It’s the first crack roast, and the beans are just beginning to brown.
- Medium roast is near the second crack, without the covering of oil, and provides a hint of sweetness from caramelization.
- Dark roast is the darkest and most burnt type of roasted coffee, and it develops in a second crack. It’s also covered with oil and has a bitter and smoky flavor.
To avoid oxidation and moisture exposure, all varieties of roasts are put into airtight bags or stored in airtight containers after roasting. It is the major aspect that keeps the flavor of the coffee beans until it enters your cup.
Grinding the coffee:
Grinding is the step in the coffee-brewing process that removes the most flavor from the beans. The size of the grind impacts whether the coffee flavor is under-extracted or over-extracted from the roast.
- Coffee that has been under-extracted tastes bland.
- Over-extracted coffee tastes harsh.
- Finely ground roasts are good for Espresso and Turkish coffee.
- Coarse grinds are ideal for french press, filter coffee, and cold brews.
Brewing the Coffee:
The final taste of the coffee is determined by several factors including the coffee-brewing process.
- The drip system takes about 5 minutes, and the contact time with water for a french press should be roughly 2-4 minutes.
- A cold brew takes around 12 hours or overnight to obtain the greatest taste from the grinds.
- Espresso merely takes about 20-30 seconds to make.
Now that the coffee has finally reached your cup, it’s time to enjoy the coffee that you like and that gives you a jolt of energy.