Coffee 101 

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Coffee Varieties

Coffee as a beverage is enjoyed by almost every country all over the world. Different types of coffee come from different varieties of the coffee plant that is grown in various parts of the world. The coffee plant is generally native to southern Asia and subtropical Africa. Main characteristics of the coffee plant include having dark green and glossy leaves. It can grow an average of 5 meters tall and produces clusters of flowers that turn to fruit berries. The berries are usually colored red when ripe and eventually turn dark as they are dried. Typical berries usually have two seeds each.

Plant Varieties
Coffee is usually planted as seeds. They can either be planted alone in a coffee plantation or intercropped with other plants such as corn, rice or beans. There are two main coffee plant varieties being cultivated for coffee production. One variety is Coffea Canephora where the Robusta coffee beans come from. The other is the Coffea Arabica where the more popular Arabica coffee beans are sourced.

Each coffee plant variety has their own advantages and disadvantages. Arabica coffee is considered the more popular choice and most ideal for drinking. Robusta coffee tends to have a bitter taste and offers less flavor than the Arabica. It is for this reason that Arabica coffee varieties cover about two thirds of the coffee being cultivated worldwide. However, Coffea Arabica varieties are more susceptible to disease and can only thrive in a certain environment. Coffea Robusta plant varieties are considered more disease resistant and are usually grown in areas where C. Arabica coffee plants would not grow well.

Coffee Processing
Coffee is processed in steps. The first step involves picking the coffee berries where they then are sorted for ripeness and color. The next step involves removing the flesh of the coffee berries to leave the green coffee beans behind. This step is usually done by machine. They are then left to ferment for awhile in order to remove the oily layer of flesh that might still cover the new beans.

After fermentation, the coffee beans are then washed in large quantities of fresh water in order to remove any fleshy residue. The coffee beans are then dried either naturally or by machine. After the drying process, the coffee beans are then sorted and labeled and prepared for roasting. Even though the beans may come from different varieties, they all generally go through the same process prior to roasting.

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