Coffee : Bean to Brew Origin Thefirst evidence on Coffee appears in the 10th century in the eastern portion ofthe African continent. It is believed that the native plant (not domesticated)had its origin in the region where today is Ethiopia. From the same regioncomes the reports on the use of coffee beans as a stimulant.
One of theearliest legends is that of the goat herder who, noticing the excitement of hisherd in the pasture, realizes that they have fed on a certain bush. Theshepherd went to that shrub and realized that there were small red fruits init. Curiosity caused him to chew one of the fruits and then he felt agitated,like the goats. He ended up bringing the berries to a monk at a nearbymonastery. But the monk rebuked their use and threw them into the fire, fromwhich a seductive scent came, causing other monks to come and investigate. Thebaked beans were quickly dragged from the embers, scraped and washed in hotwater, producing the first cup of coffee in the world.
The first credible evidence on the existence of theplant and or the act of drinking coffee is from the middle of the 15th centuryin Yemen. Coffee beans were taken from Ethiopia to Yemen and there began theircultivation in the Sufi monasteries. The Sufis made a base of roasted coffeebeans, called qahwa, to keep alert during their nocturnal devotions. Qahwa was the same term used to identifywine.
By Arabic manuscripts, it was possible to trace the expansion of coffeefrom Arabia (present-day Yemen) to the cities of Mecca and Medina, and then tolarger cities like Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, and Constantinople. In 1414 thedrink was already consumed in Mecca, and in the early 1500s it reached Egyptand North Africa from the Yemeni port of Mocha. In the mid-16th century it reached the entire MiddleEast. From the Middle East, coffee arrives in Europe by Malta in the 16thcentury, and along the Mediterranean shipping routes, it reaches the port ofVenice. Venetian merchants introducedthe habit of drinking coffee for high society in Venice. The drink was consumedin sophisticated houses and its price was quite high. In this way, coffeewas introduced on the European continent.
In 1591, a botanical description ofthe coffee plant is published. Shortly afterwards, the Dutch introduced coffeeseedlings into their American colonies. Coffee arrived in the Americasfrom Martinique in 1720. The shoots grew rapidly and, 50 years later, therewere more than 18,000 feet of coffee in Martinique alone, which allowed thespread of cultivation to nearby areas, such as Haiti. Coffee also found thepaths in the Indian Ocean, arriving at Bourbon Island, now known as Reunion.The plant produced smaller fruits and was considered a different variety, knownas Bourbon variety.
The most well-known progenies of the tree of Bourbon arethe coffee of Santos of Brazil and the coffee of Oaxaca of MexicoAround 1727, the king of Portugal sent lieutenant-colonelFrancisco de Melo Palheta to French Guiana to obtain coffee seeds to becomepart of the coffee market. The story goes that Francis initially had difficultyin obtaining these seeds, but he captivated the wife of the French governor andshe gave him a seedling of Arabica, brought clandestinely to Brazil. With this change, Brazil enters the rich coffeemarket. Since then Brazil has become the largest coffee producer in the worldin 1852 and has maintained that status ever since. It dominated worldproduction, exporting more coffee than the rest of the world combined, from1850 to 1950, with only a slight drop during the period of World War II. Thepost-war period favored a broadening of the market due to the emergence ofseveral other major producers, such as Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, andmore recently Vietnam, which surpassed Colombia and became the second largestproducer in 1999 and reached 15% market share by 2011.
Coffee arrived to India through the hands of a Sufisaint, well before the East India Company. The first record of coffee growing in India is following theintroduction of coffee beans from Yemen to the hills in southern India in 1670.Since then, coffee plantations have settled in the region, resulting in largevolume production, state of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Cultivation inthese areas, under monsoon rain conditions, alters the characteristics of thegrains, resulting in a coffee rich in aromas and flavors known as “Indianmonsoon coffee.” Also noteworthy in coffee production are the AndhraPradesh and Orissa areas on the east coast of the country and with a thirdregion comprising the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura,Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh of northeastern India, popularly known as”Seven Brothers of India”.
ThePhilippines is one of the few countries producing the four varieties ofcommercially viable coffee: Arabica, Liberica, Excelsa and Robusta. The climaticand soil conditions in the Philippines – from the lowland regions to themountains – make the country suitable for all four varieties. The first coffeetree was introduced in Lipa, capital of Batangas province in 1740 by a SpanishFranciscan monk.
From there, the coffee spread to other parts of Batangas likeIbaan, Lemery, San Jose, Taal and Tanauan.In the 1860s, Batangas province was exporting coffeeto America through San Francisco. When the Suez Canal was opened, a new marketalso began in Europe. In 1880, the Philippines were the fourth largest exporterof coffee beans, and when a tree disease, called coffee rust, hit Brazil,Africa, and Indonesia, it became the sole source of coffee beans worldwide.Nine years after the coffee rust hits the Philippines, reducing its productionto 1/6 of its original value.
Some of the surviving coffee plants weretransferred from Batangas province toCavite province, where they flourished. However, coffee production did notresume. During the 1950s, the Philippine government found a variety of coffeemore resistant. It was also the period of increase in the demand for grainssince instant coffee was being commercially produced and very well accepted inthe international markets.
Because of favorable market conditions, many farmersre-grown coffee in the 1960s. But the proliferation of coffee farms hasresulted in a surplus of beans around the world and, over time, coffee importshave been banned to protect local coffee producers.Today, the cultivation of coffee has spread all overthe world. At the same time, we see the collection of civet coffee inIndonesia, artisanal productions in Australia and plantations with hightechnological support in Colombia, all looking to offer the best product.Today’s major coffee chains, such as Starbucks and Tim Hortons, are looking tooffer the drink for all tastes, hot or cold, to drink now or to take out. Species Coffee(Coffea sp.) belongs to the Eukaryota domain, to the kingdom Plantae, in the phylum Magnoliophyta,class: Magnoliopsida, subclass: Asteridae, order Rubiales, family Rubiaceae andgenus Coffea L.
. Under the genusCoffea L there are more than 100 known species, including crossbreeding. Of thevarious species we highlight the most consumed in the world:Coffea arabica is a species of Coffeaoriginally present in the highland forests of southwestern Ethiopia. It is alsoknown as Arab coffee, “Arabian coffee bush,” “mountaincoffee,” or “Arab coffee.” C.
arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be grown, and isthe dominant crop, accounting for about 60% of global production. Arabica grows best in shade, at higherelevations of 1,000–2,000 meters. Those trees thrive in high annual rainfall averages environments andtemperatures average 15–24° C. The trees can tolerate lower temperatures, butnot frost.
This species is genetically different from the other coffee species,being the most delicate of them. Becauseit is predominantly self-pollinating, Arabica seedlings usually vary littlefrom their parents. The berries are oval, about 1 cm. in length, with flatseeds. Arabica beans are generally considered to produce higher quality, bettertasting coffee than Robusta.Flavor-wise, Arabica tends to stimulate the front palate and gets muchof its appeal from its aroma.
Excellent Arabicas have a highly complex flavorand aroma with many delicate layers.. Arabica is the most acidic coffee, ahealth disadvantage worsened by roasting it too dark or too light. The twobest-known varieties of Coffee arabicaare ‘Typica’ and ‘Bourbon’. From these, numerous sub-varieties, cultivars, andhybrids have been developed.Most gourmet coffees are made from Arabica beans. Well-known Arabicabeans include Colombian Supremo, Ethiopian Sidamo, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Tarrazú,Costa Rica, and Guatemalan Antigua.
Coffea canephora (syn. Coffearobusta) Although ‘Robusta’ isactually one of the two primary varieties of the Coffea canephora species rather than the species itself, the nameis often used to refer to the species. This species has its origins in centraland western sub-Saharan Africa but is the predominant coffee grown in Southeast Asia and WestAfrica. The world’s leading producer is Vietnam, which recently surpassedBrazil, where the beans are often called ‘conilon’.Optimal growing conditions for Robusta differ fromthose for Arabica: Robusta grows in lower elevations, from sea level to 700meters. It prefers higher temperatures: 24–30° C , and more rainfall.
As suggested by its name, Robusta is a robust plant: it is resistant to Hemileia vastatrix, coffee berrydisease, and other diseases to which Arabica is susceptible. Since the caffeineis actually a self-defense, it also has almost double the caffeine of Arabica. AndRobusta trees yield significantly more coffee beans than Arabica.In flavor, Robusta stimulates the back palate,giving it a heavier mouthfeel and body.
Incredibly smooth, low-acid, free ofbitterness, and intensely flavorful with distinct chocolate notes can describea good Robusta. Robusta can handle any amount of milk and sugar, and makes afine cup of iced coffee. Coffea liberica is a uniquetype of coffee with a very distinctive taste.
Entirely separate species of coffee, it grows on vigorous 6 to 9 meterstrees in tropical rainforest environments producing larger fruits than thosefound on Coffea arabica trees. Nativeof West and Central Africa, from Liberia to Uganda and Angola, Coffea liberica was sent to the Philippines toreplace the arabica trees killed by the coffee rust disease at the end of the19th century. It is also grown in theSeychelles, Central America, Antilles, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. As Philippine crops declined after Independence, Libericaalso began a period of decline, perishing for decades until 1995, when aconservation effort saved the last few specimens and began a re-plantingprogram in several Philippine regions. Unfortunately, current Arabica demandhas once again resulted in a reduction in the stock and range of Liberica, aswell as cross-breeding with other species to make high shrub more accessible.Today the effort to find pure Liberica is great sinceit is a distinct species and irreplaceable part of the coffee genome. Libericabeans can be huge and have the unique feature in which many Liberica beans areasymmetrical – one side is “lower” than the other, causing a small”hook” at the bottom of the bean. It is the only species of beans inthe world with this irregular shape.
Its almond-shaped beans have anexceptional aroma, almost floral and fruity, while their flavor is full andslightly smoky. This is a highly polarizing coffee. Coffea excelsa Coffealiberica var. dewevrei Even being recently named as a variation of Liberica,as they keep many taxonomic similarities, the actual coffee is so differentthat is still acceptable to think ofthem as completely separate species. It grows on large, vigorous trees atmedium altitudes, mainly in Southeast Asia, and many beans have a distinctivealmond shape, just like Liberia but the Excelsa beans average size is muchsmaller. Excelsa tasteis described as distinctive tart, fruity and dark. Although it has a peculiar taste, the aroma does not seem to bethe most attractive.
Precisely for this, the Excelsa is mixed with the Arabicaor Robusta so that its taste is enhanced but offering other aromas. Harvesting Selective HarvestingSelective harvesting isthe picking of only ripe coffee fruit by hand. Overripe coffee can either beleft on the tree but is not recommended. The alternative is pick and keep separate from the ripe fruit. After several weeks the picker will go backand again pick only ripe fruit. Pickers spend the day picking ripe fruit andfilling their baskets.
At the end of the day, the harvest is spread out andunripe or overripe fruit as well as any foreign debris that accidentally madetheir way into the ripe coffee are culled.Advantages § Lower percentage of unripes in the harvested coffee = higher profit forproducers.§ More efficient use of farm land. As it does not require the use ofmachines the trees can be planted following the topography of many coffeeregionsDisadvantages § Large rural labor force = Large cost § Increasingly urban populations = reducing the available rural workforce.
Strip HarvestingThe alternative to selectiveharvesting is strip harvesting. Here all coffee fruit are mechanically strippedfrom the coffee tree at once, resulting in harvested lots of many maturationlevels. The process can be done in three ways: by hands, with tools or withmachines.ManualStrippingThe pickers grab thebranch next to the trunk with their hands and pull outward, knocking all of thefruit onto a canvas, previously set on the ground.
After doing this with allbranches and trees for the length of the canvas, the pickers then collect thecoffee in bags and take it to be weighed. Pickersare usually paid by weight.Mechanical StrippingThis method is similar to the first but withsome mechanical assistance. Here pickers use mechanical strippers thatlook like hands attached to a weed whacker. As with the previous method, thepickers first put down a canvas. They then use the mechanical strippers toknock all of the coffee onto the canvas.
The accumulated coffee is then putinto bags, which are weighed at the end of the day.Mechanical HarvestersThese machines, introducedin the early 1970s, use vibrating and rotating strips to tear down tree fruitin collection units. They can be calibrated to minimize trip performance byadjusting the rotations and vibration rates as well as the speed with which themechanical harvesting machine moves through the rows. Another common technique is to remove thelower branches early in the harvest as the coffee at the top of the treeusually ripens faster. This type of selective harvesting requires very flattopographies to accommodate heavy machinery.
Advantages § Requires less labor to complete.§ Faster harvestingDisadvantages § Various levels of maturation = lower qualityproduct.§ Requires adequate post-harvest technologies § Higher percentages of unripes = reduce the quality= less profit for producers. ProcessingOnce the coffee ispicked and sorted, the beans must be separated from the fruit and thecoffee must be dried. The order in which this is done will greatly impactthe flavor of the resulting coffee. Two key processing methods are used:natural and washed.
Natural ProcessThis process, popular in Brazil, Sumatra andEthiopia, involves drying the entire fruit, leaving a brittle shell around thecoffee bean which is then mechanically separated once the fruit is sufficientlydry. When done well, it can result in sweet and full bodied coffees. However itis a process that involves many risks from the development of fungi when dryingis done incorrectly until the loss of production.Washed ProcessWashed processing is the process of choice in Colombia, Central America,Kenya and many other coffee producing countries. In this process, the freshlyharvested fruits are mechanically separated. The remaining slippery mucilage isthen removed by controlled fermentation or, in some cases, using a specificmachine. This method produces clean, light-toned, light-bodied beans and bringsless risk of defects, since the process is highly mechanized.
Washed Natural RoastingCoffee roasting transforms, by heat,the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans, causing them tochange their flavor and color. Unroastedgrains contain similar, if not higher, levels of acids, proteins, sugars, andcaffeine, such as those that have been baked but do not have the taste or thearoma.There is a relationship between thecolor of the roast and the acidity of the coffee. Light brown coffees are moreacidic and there will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they arenot roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface. They arealso softer taste coffees.
Dark-brownroasts have shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness.The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage. Theperfect roast is a personal choice that is sometimes influenced by nationalpreference or geographic location.