You probably have no doubt what a coffee bean is. That little dark bean that has a magical quality when it’s ground and brewed. However, the coffee bean deserves a little more explanation.
What are coffee beans?
A coffee bean actually comes from a coffee berry that grows on a coffee tree. Or perhaps approaching a bush. The bush blooms with small white flowers, and after flowering, coffee berries the size of cherries appear. The berries are yellow or red when ripe.
Each coffee bean contains two seeds, which are the coffee beans you know. They are green before they are processed. The coffee beans lie with their flat sides facing each other. Underneath the berry’s skin is the pulp, and around each coffee bean are various membranes.
Like strawberries, the berries do not ripen at the same time, and for speciality coffees it is important to pick only the ripe berries. This allows for a selection where only the fully ripe berries are picked. When using this method, it is necessary to pick three to four times during a harvest season. When only the red berries end up in the coffee picker’s basket, you get a much better taste in your coffee cup.
Arabica and Robusta coffee beans
There are more than 100 families of coffee trees, but only two of them produce all the coffee we know in the world. You’ve probably heard the names before: Arabica and Robusta. The two coffee beans are similar, yet there are a number of differences that set the two popular beans apart:
- Arabica: Arabica is a mild coffee with more flavour nuances than Robusta, but less body than Robusta. Arabica is grown mainly in Central and South America. Arabica has low production but higher quality.
- Robusta: Robusta, as the name suggests, is a much hardier type, with a stronger and more robust, but also more bitter taste. In addition, Robusta is not as expensive as Arabica, for example. because the yield per plantation is higher. Robusta is grown mainly in Africa and Asia. In contrast, robusta has high production but lower quality.