75% of Americans drink coffee every day. Most people love to start their days with a hot (or cold) caffeinated beverage. But how is coffee made?
Sure, you know how you prepare it at home, but what happens before you buy your coffee from the grocery store? Let’s talk about it! Read on to learn all about the coffee-making process.
It All Starts With a Plant
Coffee actually comes from a coffee plant. There are different types of coffee plants that create somewhat different coffee beans. Arabica coffee plants create higher-quality and more flavorful beans while Robusta plants create higher-caffeine but harsher beans.
Both of these are good in different ways.
Coffee plants need warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and plenty of rain. They do best in tropical environments closer to the equator, so this is where you’ll find a lot of coffee production happening.
When the coffee plant is finished growing, it produces fruit. Coffee cherries (sometimes called coffee berries) come from the tree, and eventually, they’ll turn into coffee beans.
Extracting the Beans
So what happens once the coffee cherries are harvested? How do those fruits turn into tasty coffee beans? When you’re drinking coffee, it doesn’t taste like fruit, right?
During the next step, someone has to process the coffee cherries.
During natural processing, processors leave cherries out in the sun to ferment. This lets the beans absorb natural sugars so the end result tends to be sweeter. This is a time-consuming method and it sometimes ends with the coffee cherries rotting.
Because of this, many companies choose wet processing instead. They remove the fruit from the beans before the fermenting process. This results in a cleaner taste but it’s not the best option for the environment and the coffee loses some of its unique and distinctive flavors.
Honey processing is also an option. In this case, only some of the fruit is removed from the bean before processing.
The end result of all of these processes is green coffee beans.
Roasting the Beans
You don’t make coffee with green coffee beans, right? So what happens between processing and you buying the coffee, brewing it, and adding all of your favorite add-ins (have a look here at one popular and healthy add-in)?
Someone has to roast the beans! You can roast coffee beans for various times and at various temperatures. That’s what changes the flavor of the end result.
Light roasts tend to taste more like the original coffee beans, medium roasts have more caramelization, and dark roasts tend to be smokier and more intense.
Then the company may or may not grind the coffee beans. You can buy many brands of coffee beans either ground or whole.
How Is Coffee Made? It’s Simple
So how is coffee made? It all starts with a coffee plant and ends with a roasting process before you pick your beans up from the grocery store. It’s amazing that a simple plant turns into your morning brew!
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