“Get me a cup of coffee”, said Lacy who had to pull an all-nighter for her upcoming examination. Yes, coffee helps to stay awake. This is the major reason why more than fifty percent of Americans drink coffee. Coffee contains caffeine, which is the fastest acting drug. It activates the body senses by diminishing adenosine, a chemical which is released during weariness. This outcome is desirable for workaholics and hence this infusion of crushed seeds is high on demand. But several factors contribute to the final beverage. The bean is the crucial factor.
There are three types of coffee beans varieties:
- Coffee arabica
- Coffee robusta (caffea canephora)
- and the blended types.
Arabica contribute to seventy percent of the coffee and has higher quality than Robusta. Blending varieties involves combining the beans that complement one another. But when it comes to the daily cup, the first two matter. They are the primary types cultivated for drinking.
Arabica has a sweet, soft taste, with lots of sugar, berries and fruits as compared to Robusta. Their acidity is higher. Robusta however has a stronger and a harsher taste accompanied by a grain-like tinge and peanut like after-taste. It possesses twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica, but is certainly inferior to it. Keeping this aside, Robusta are easy to grow and less vulnerable to weather conditions. It is grown in the Eastern Hemisphere namely, Africa and Indonesia. Arabica is dominantly grown in Latin America. The different varieties are derived from these two basic species.
The coffee beans cultivated in these areas are then sent for processing which plays a primary role in the flavor. The coffee plants produce ripe red cherries which are depulped. Depulping is the process of separating the coffee seeds from the outer layer of flesh. A machine: hand depulper is used to complete this. The coffee seeds are then fermented.
Fermentation aims to accentuate the body and flavors of coffee beans. In this process, the natural sugars turn into liquids. This process is followed by drying. In dry-processed method, cherries are left under the sun for two to three weeks and then put through a hulling machine to remove the dried pulp. This method produces a heavy-bodied cup of coffee. In the wet-processed method, the skin of the cherry and some of the pulp is removed by pressing it. The drying procedure is the most important stage, since it affects the final quality. The dried beans are sorted according to shape and size. Roasting comes next.
Roasting is a heat process that turns coffee into the fragrant, dark brown beans. It is a technical skill which brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. Light roasts, medium roasts, and medium-dark roasts are different types of roasts based on the color of the beans.
The beans thus obtained are packed and then exported to various countries. The types of coffee beans used to make morning coffee are of little importance to the average person. But a true coffee lover knows the various types of beans. So, next time while getting a cup, choose your flavors wisely!