The Coffee Plant/Bean/Process
- The coffee bean is a seed from a fruit called the coffee cherry.
- In about 5% of the world’s coffee, there is only one bean inside the cherry, unlike most coffee, which has two. The single bean is called a peaberry, a natural mutation. Some people believe that peaberries are sweeter and more flavorful than standard beans.
- It takes about 70 coffee beans to make one cup of coffee
- The average coffee tree produces 10 pounds of coffee cherries per year which is about 2 pounds of green coffee.
- Ideal conditions for coffee trees to thrive are found in a zone known as The Bean Belt, 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south.
- Arabica coffees grow best at high altitudes, Robusta coffees thrive on lower altitudes and at higher temperatures.
- Everything from the chemistry of the soil, weather, amount of rain & sun as well as altitude affect the taste of the final product. In fact, the combination of factors is so complex that even from a single plantation there can be variation in quality and taste.
- In most countries, the coffee crop is picked by hand. A good picker averages approximately 100-200 pounds of coffee cherries a day which produces 20-40 pounds of coffee beans.
- Most coffee roasting machines maintain a temperature of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roasted coffee beans contain over 1000 chemical compounds.
Whether beans or ground, it’s important to store coffee in an air-tight container, away from sunlight or high temperatures. There are different views about storing coffee in a freezer. As coffee will absorb moisture including odors and tastes from the air around it, it’s important to know that most home containers still let in small amounts of oxygen which can cause freezer burn.
Coffee Brewing Tips
How your coffee taste is greatly affected by the water you use. Always brew with fresh cold water. If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot. Avoid distilled or softened water. Use cold filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or has a strong odor or taste
Use clean tools – from bean grinders and filters to coffee makers – and thoroughly clean after each use. Rinse with clear, hot water (or wipe down thoroughly), and dry with an absorbent towel.
A general guideline is called the Golden Ratio: one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences.
Cold Brew Coffee
Because coffee grounds are not subjected to heat, cold brew coffee has a different chemical profile than coffee made with hot water. The result is lower levels of acidity, which to some people may mean it’s mellower on the stomach.
To make cold brew coffee, start with a coarse grind. The ratio of coffee grounds to water is subjective; a suggestion is 1/3 cup of ground coffee per 1.5 cups of cold water. Put the coffee in a large jar or container with a lid. Gradually add water and stir gently, making sure all the coffee grounds are moistened. Cover, let sit at room temperature overnight or for 12 hours, then strain through a coffee filter or fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. The concentrate will keep up to 2 weeks covered and chilled in the fridge.
- Contrary to what most people believe, lighter roasts of coffee have higher concentration of caffeine.
- Light Roasts – generally light brown in color, are for milder coffees. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans.
- Medium Roasts are a medium brown color with a stronger flavor and non-oily surface. A medium roast is generally preferred in the United States.
- Dark Roasts produce shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee.
Coffee and Health
- There have been over 19,000 studies that have looked at the health impact of drinking coffee.
- Coffee beans contain antioxidants called quinines which become more potent after roasting.
- The aroma from coffee comes from trigonelline, an antibacterial compound.
- The scent of coffee alone can wake up your brain.
- Black coffee contains a number of micronutrients including potassium, magnesium and niacin.
* Information sourced from the National Coffee Association. Paramount Coffee Company is proud to be a longtime member.