You don’t have to be a barista to be a coffee expert. This article will give you an overview of coffee— processing, blending, grinding, and general tips on how to make the perfect cup. It’s something to talk about the next time you meet your friends for coffee and cake, and will certainly help you brew the best in the comfort of your home.
Where coffee comes from
Coffee is the seed from a type of evergreen cherry tree that grows in a narrow subtropical belt around the world. At first, small clusters of jasmine like flowers appear on the tree. These grow into small green cherries which take anywhere from six to nine months to ripen. Their color changes to yellow, then red and finally darkens into near-black. They are picked at different stages of this process, and combined in unique combinations that yield a variety of flavors. Each coffee cherry contains two green coffee beans. It takes 4000 coffee beans to make 1 pound of roasted coffee.
Processing coffee beans
When the coffee cherries are picked they are processed to remove the cherry flesh. This is done y either drying the cherries or removing the fruit by husking, or by soaking them. The beans are then sorted by hand and graded by hand, before they are roasted.
Roasting coffee beans
Roasting coffee beans caramelizes the sugars and carbohydrates in the coffee bran, creating coffee oil, which is where the flavor and aroma comes from. A lightly roasted bean (from the color of cinnamon to light chocolate) is used for espresso, as lighter roasts produce a sharper and more acidic taste. Darker roasts have less caffeine and acidity.
Coffee beans differ in flavor according to the coffee tree’s growing condition and location. A full flavored and balanced coffee is produced by blending beans from different places. Most espresso coffees contain three to seven different beans for a complex flavor.
Coarsely grind coffee for percolators. Electric drips or French presses need medium grind. For espresso and filter cone drips use very fine powder.
Tips for better coffee
To keep coffee beans fresh, store them in room temperature away from strong food odors. Unless you need to store beans for a long time don’t put them in the freezer (which affects taste). Use well sealed containers to protect them from air and moisture.
Coffee is at its best when consumed within a week of roasting. So, when you buy beans, check for oiliness (which means they’re old).
Grind beans just before you are going to use them. In terms of proportion, a good guide is two level teaspoons per cup.
Before serving, give the coffee a good stir to distribute heavier coffee oils. Warm your cup with boiling water before pouring.
Now it’s time to enjoy your coffee–and reap its benefits. Read our article on the health benefits of coffee.
Photo from wildbeautyskincare.wordpress.com