Coffee is the world’s second most popular beverage consumed by millions of people every day. It has become an important aspect of modern life, providing numerous benefits to those who consume it. Its unique flavor and ability to stimulate the mind and body have made it a beloved beverage for many people around the world. Coffee has been associated with a variety of positive effects on life such as physical, psychological, and also social. Coffee beverages have different flavor profiles which depend on various factors such as bean type, processing method, roasting level, brewing method, and other ingredients. Knowing these factors will help you to enjoy the coffee which suits you the best.
The tale of coffee starts in Ethiopia in a region called Kaffa where legend says a goatherd named Kaldi noticed that his goats became more active and energetic after eating the berries of a certain bush. Then the first use of coffee as a drink was recorded in Yemen, in the 15th century.
Coffee traces its origin to a genus of plants known as Coffea. Even though we order it as just coffee, there are over 120 varieties of coffee plants and each produces a different type of coffee bean. These types depend on the place where it is grown. But in the commercial coffee industry, there are 4 types of coffee beans known as Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica which have radically different taste profiles.
This type of coffee is generally grown between 2000-6000 feet above sea level and requires mild temperatures between 59-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with about 60 inches of rainfall a year.
These trees produce a fine, mild, aromatic coffee that tends to have a sweeter, softer taste with tones of fruits, florals, chocolate, and nuts. Although their acidity is higher and has low caffeine content.
On the world market, Arabica coffee brings the highest prices and represents approximately 70% of the world’s coffee production. The best-known arabica coffee beans in the world are from Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia.
Most of the world’s Robusta is grown in Central and Western Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam, and in Brazil. preferring constant temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which enables it to grow at far lower altitudes than Arabica.
Compared with Arabica, Robusta beans produce a coffee that has a distinctive taste and about 50-60% more caffeine with a lower sugar content. This gives it a dark, bold, intense flavor profile. So if you love to have that big caffeine kick, this is the best choice.
This type of beans used to be very limited once, but because of their distinct taste and characteristics, many countries have started harvesting these coffee beans. They originate from low-altitude growing areas of West Africa and Malaysia.
These beans have an exceptional aroma, almost floral and fruity, while their flavor is full and slightly smokey.
Classified as a variety of the Liberica species. These types growing mainly in Southeast Asia.
These beans have a tart, fruity, and dark flavor.
From bean to cup
The coffee we taste each day goes through a series of procedures between the time they’re planted, picked and purchased to bring out its best in our cup.
The fruit called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when it is ripe and ready to be harvested. The crop is picked either by the hands or machines. Once the coffee has been picked, it is processed either by the dry method or wet method to separate the coffee seed. After drying the beans, it goes through the process called hulling and polishing. Grading and sorting is done by size and weight, and beans are also reviewed for color flaws or other imperfections to ensure that only the finest quality coffee beans are exported.
Roasting is the major process that transforms green coffee into aromatic brown beans. When the beans reach an internal temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they begin to turn brown and the caffeol, a fragrant oil locked inside the beans, begins to emerge. This process called pyrolysis is at the heart of roasting — it produces the flavor and aroma of the coffee we drink. In general, roast levels fall into 4 categories as their color – light, medium, medium-dark or dark. The light roasts have a higher level of caffeine than the dark roasts while the dark roasts have less acidity and more bitterness. After roasting, the beans are immediately cooled either by air or water. There is no such thing called the perfect roast because it’s a personal choice that depends on your taste.
To get the most flavor of the coffee, it has to be ground properly. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends on the brewing method. The length of time the grounds will be in contact with water determines the ideal grade of grind.
Brewing is the process of extracting the soluble materials in roasted and ground coffee. To get the optimal extraction of the coffee, the brewer has to maintain the right temperature and brewing time, which depends on the brewing methods. Otherwise, it will be over-extracted or under-extracted and will ruin the real taste of the coffee.
Espresso is the concentrated form of coffee served in small, strong shots which use as the base for many coffee drinks. The espresso is brewed by using boiling water at about 90°C forced under 9-10 bars of pressure through finely-ground coffee beans only for 20-30 seconds. The espresso is dispersed into 3 phases, an emulsion of oil droplets, suspended solids, and a top layer of gas bubbles or a foam called crema, which makes this beverage unique.
If you are not a fan of caffeine, you can still enjoy the taste of coffee. Decaf coffee is the regular coffee beans but processed in a different way which removes 97% or more of the caffeine in coffee beans. Like all coffee, decaffeinated coffee is safe for consumption and can be a part of a healthy diet.
Coffee & Health
Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against diseases. According to scientific research, there’s evidence of coffee’s unique health benefits in:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Liver and kidney health
- Mental health
One of the most obvious benefits of coffee is its ability to increase alertness and concentration, which can enhance productivity and performance in daily life. In addition, coffee has been linked to a lower risk of depression and a reduced incidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Even though, higher doses of caffeine may have negative effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.
COFFEE-the favorite drink of the civilized world -Thomas Jefferson-
After water, coffee is the most popular drink worldwide because it’s not just a beverage, it’s a whole other vibe and experience. It is enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet and a pleasurable experience. Also, coffee drinking plays a key role in many cultures around the world, providing an occasion for loved ones, friends, family and colleagues to connect. Even in the early days, there were coffee houses, where people gather to talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time.
So make sure to enjoy a coffee while enjoying your life.
Written by: Ravindu Lakshan
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