What Is Coffee Made of? A Complete Guide to Coffee Farming

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Coffee is one of the second most popular traded beverages in the world, and most people cannot imagine their morning without a hot cup of coffee. However, not everybody knows coffee farming. There are plenty of factors that affect the taste or texture of your coffee. One of them is how it is grown and where it is grown.

Here is a complete guide to coffee farming that you will truly enjoy!

Where Do Coffee Beans Come from?

Coffee farming
Coffea Plant

Coffee beans is from Coffea plant that are some kinds of shrub or bush. Most Coffea plants have rich, dark green or waxy leaves, though sometimes the color may change into more of a purple or yellow hue.

Is Coffee a Fruit?

Coffee Beans are the seed inside coffee cherry (from Coffea Plant)

Coffee beans are not fruit, but they are the seeds inside coffee cherry (coffee berry)which people harvest from Coffea plant. Farmer will harvest the coffee cherry when it is ripe. Depend on the variety, it can be red, pink, or orange. They develop alongside green leaves on the branch of a tree.

Guide to Coffee Farming

The coffee trees are tropical evergreen shrubs and grow between the Tropics of Cancer or Capricorn. The two most notable species developed are varieties of Arabica and Robusta.

The average Arabica plant has dark-green oval leaves. The fruits are rounded and ripe in 8 to 9 months; they typically consist of 2 flat seeds, the coffee beans. When only one bean grows, it is known as a peaberry.

Robusta is a small tree that may grow up to nine to ten meters high. The fruits or cherries are rounded and take up to ten months to ripe; the seeds are oval and smaller than Arabica seeds.

The perfect average temperatures range between 16 to 24ºC for Arabica beans and 25 to 30ºC for Robusta that can grow in hotter, harsher conditions. Coffee may need an annual rainfall of 1600 to 3000 mm, with Arabica requiring less than other species.

While Robusta coffee can be developed between sea-level and approximately 700 meters, Arabica performs well at higher altitudes and grows best in hilly areas.

When the cherries become red or glossy, it is a time of harvesting. Coffee harvesting can be performed by hand, or farmers can also use the machine. To increase the coffee harvest, handpicking of the coffee is suggested, as any unripened coffee cherry can be kept for ripening before harvesting later.

When harvesting by using a machine, a part of the harvested coffee crop will not be ripe. For instance, in Brazil, coffee crops are harvested when 70 % of the coffee crops are ripe. It usually takes 6 to 8 pounds of harvested coffee cherries to produce one pound of high-quality coffee beans ultimately.

Coffee Processing Methods

Wet Process

In the wet process, before drying, the cherries’ outer skin is first eliminated with a machine known as a depulper. Afterward, the depulped coffee beans are fermented for 24 to 48 hours in large water tanks.

During this fermentation, various bacteria, yeasts, or fungi break the sugars and other compounds into the mucilage, making it softer to eliminate. After fermenting, the softened mucilage is eliminated by “washing” them with plenty of water.

Dry Process

Coffee dry processing
Drying coffee cherry under sunlight

In this technique, the whole cherry with its pulp, husk, and all is dried under light or dried through tumble driers after being harvested. After 3 to 4 weeks, when cherries are dry enough, they are hulled to eliminate the layer that covers the coffee bean.

Honey Process

The honey process is between dry and wet processing. This process initiates by pulping the fruits and then sun drying them with a part of the mucilage on the parchment. Because of the thickness or sweetness of the mucilage, while drying, its name is Honey Coffee.

Coffee Hulling Process

In coffee farming, hulling is an incredibly important part of the coffee-making process. It occurs when the coffee is still in bean form. Machines are used for this process. The parchment layer of the coffee is eliminated when the coffee is wet.

Dry processed hulling is a procedure involving the removal of the husk once it is dried. The whole dry husk, involving the exocarp, endocarp, or mesocarp, is eliminated from the cherries. The various kinds of hulling are crucial for the coffee-making process.

The hulling, drying, or cleaning process can take almost seven hours to complete. There are fundamentally two kinds of coffee hulling. The huller machine is also used for polishing the coffee beans. Each stage in the hulling is significant to the overall quality of the coffee beans.

Storage and Distribution

Coffee Packaging

Coffee beans storage is a broad term explaining the packaging or preservation of coffee beans from harvesting to brewing. Once purchased, the procedure of storage used relies on the type of coffee bought.

Green beans store in dry or airtight containers and easily last for a year without losing taste. Coffee Roasters usually buy green coffee beans from all over the world, then mix it and create their own blends. Green coffee beans then go through the roasting process before it can be sold to the consumer market.

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