Size Matters when Choosing Coffee Beans

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Information about Size Matters when Choosing Coffee Beans

Published on July 11, 2009

Author: coffee_beans


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Size Matters when Choosing Coffee Beans From working adults to college students, coffee is a necessity. It wakes them up and keeps them going. On most mornings, lines at coffee shops can be seen trailing out the doors, and for those owning the business, it can be a very lucrative investment if the coffee is good.

What exactly is coffee But what exactly is coffee, and how is it produced? The soul of coffee is in the coffee beans. Coffee beans, botanically inaccurate, are the seeds of the coffee plants. Coffee cherries usually contain two of the flat pits positioned with their sides together. Coffee plants are harvested for the sake of the beans which contain caffeine, the essence of the coffee and the reason it is such a desirable export for many countries around the world, and the reason that coffee processing is such an important venture.

Unlocking the Secrets The processing of coffee beans begins with picking. All coffee is harvested by one of two means: strip picking or selective picking. With strip picking, the entire coffee crop is harvested at once, either by machine or by hand. This results in a mixture of ripe and unripe cherries, meaning that the coffee beans are not always at the peak of their flavor.

Employed by lower-end coffee companies This method is usually employed by lower-end coffee companies. Selective picking means that workers pick only the red, ripe coffee cherries. The resulting coffee is smooth and fragrant, and also a lot more expensive. Either way, picking is one of the most important steps in coffee production, as without it, the coffee beans will never be unshelled.

The actual processing of coffee beans The actual processing of coffee beans can be wet or dry. Wet processing required the use of specialized equipment, and results in the fruit being removed from the beans before they are dried. Wet processing helps to preserve the beans; meaning that the green coffee produced is less defective. The resulting coffee is higher-end and more costly. When the coffee beans are immersed in water, bad or unripe fruit floats and ripe fruit sinks. While some of the pulp is removed during this process, the rest has to be removed either by the ferment-and-wash method or the newer mechanical demucilaging.

Dry processing Dry processing is the oldest and most natural method of processing coffee beans. After harvesting, the entire cherry is cleaned and dried in the sun on tables. Once in the sun, the cherries are turned by hand to make sure that they dry evenly and do not mildew; it can take up to four weeks before the fruit is dried completely. Dried cherries are stored in bulk until they are sent for milling where they are hulled, sorted, graded and bagged. Hulling results in the removal of all of the outer layers of the dried cherries, leaving only the coffee beans behind.

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