Roasting Your Own Green Coffee Beans
This is our upcoming FAQ Section, which will cover all terminology etc. that is fit for print.
Origin - Single-origin coffee is coffee grown within a single known geographical origin. Sometimes this is a single farm, or a specific collection of beans from a single country.
Region -Coffee trees produce their best beans when grown at high altitudes in a tropical climate where there is rich soil. Such conditions are found around the world in locations along the Equatorial zone, between latitudes 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South.
Besides location, other factors affect the quality and flavor of coffee. These include the variety of the plant, the chemistry of the soil in which it is grown, the weather, particularly the amount of rainfall and sunshine, and the precise altitude at which the coffee grows. Such variables -- combined with the way the cherries are processed after being picked -- contribute to the distinctions between coffees from countries, growing regions and plantations worldwide. The combination of factors is so complex, that even from a single plantation one finds variation in quality and taste.Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around the world
Variety - Coffee beans from different places may have distinctive characteristics such as flavor (flavor criteria include terms such as "citrus-like" or "earthy"), caffenecontent, body or mouthfeel, and acidity. These reflect the local environment where the coffee plants are grown, their method of process, and the genetic subspecies. In this sense, coffee can be considered similar to wine, which also demonstrates clear regional variation.
Once the coffee has been picked, processing must begin as quickly as possible to prevent spoilage. Depending on location and local resources, coffee is processed in one of two ways.
The Dry Method
This is the age-old method of processing coffee and is still used in many countries where water resources are limited. The freshly picked cherries are simply spread out on huge surfaces to dry in the sun. In order to prevent the cherries from spoiling, they are raked and turned throughout the day, then covered at night, or if it rains, to prevent them from getting wet. Depending on the weather, this process might continue for several weeks for each batch of coffee. When the moisture content of the cherries drops to 11 percent, the dried cherries are moved to warehouses where they are stored
Wet method processing
The Wet Method
In wet method processing, the pulp is removed from the coffee cherry after harvesting and the bean is dried with only the parchment skin left on. There are several actual steps involved. First, the freshly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine where the skin and pulp is separated from the bean. The pulp is washed away with water, usually to be dried and used as mulch. The beans are separated by weight as they are conveyed through water channels, the lighter beans floating to the top, while the heavier, ripe beans sink to the bottom.
Next they are passed through a series of rotating drums which separate them by size.
After separation, the beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors -- such as the condition of the beans, the climate and the altitude -- they will remain in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. The purpose of this process is to remove the slick layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma) that is still attached to the parchment; while resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve. When fermentation is complete the beans will feel rough, rather than slick, to the touch. At that precise moment, the beans are rinsed by being sent through additional water channels. They are then ready for drying.