Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa (specifically having its origin in Ethiopia and Sudan) and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The plant was exported from Africa to countries around the world. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds (referred to as beans) are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and brewed with near-boiling water to produce coffee as a beverage.
Brewed coffee from typical grounds prepared with tap water contains 40 mg caffeine per 100 gram and no essential nutrients in significant content. In espresso, however, likely due to its higher amount of suspended solids, there are significant contents of magnesium, the B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, and 212 mg of caffeine per 100 grams of grounds.
The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and hardier robusta.
Ideally to grow coffee bean plants, you should start with a freshly picked coffee cherry, but most of us don’t live in a coffee producing country, so this is a bit problematic.
If, however, you do happen to reside in a coffee producing country, pick ripe coffee cherries by hand, pulp them, wash, and ferment in a container until the pulp flops off.
After this, rewash, discarding any beans that float. Then dry the beans on a mesh screen in open, dry air but not direct sun.
The beans should be slightly soft and moist inside and dry on the outside; bite into it to find out. Since most of us don’t live in a coffee-producing region, green coffee can be bought from a green coffee supplier. Make sure it is from a fresh, recent crop.
Although the bean can be germinated for almost four months, surer results are had if fresh. You will probably want to plant many seeds to get one plant; they’re kind of finicky. Fresh seeds germinate in 2 ½ months while older seeds take about 6 months.
How To Sprout Coffee Seeds
Once you have your seeds, soak them in water for 24 hours, drain, and then sow in damp sand or wet vermiculite, or put the seed between moist coffee sacks.
After you germinate coffee tree seeds, remove them from the medium. Place the seed flat side down in a hole made into loam soil with a high humus content to which rotted manure, bone meal or dried blood can be added. You can also try a lightweight, porous soil. Don’t press the soil down. Place ½ inch of mulched grass atop to conserve moisture but remove it when the seed has germinated. Water seeds daily but not too much, just moist.
Once your seeds have germinated, the plant can either be left or transplanted in a porous, low pH soil with a high nitrogen content. Orchid fertilizer may be used sparingly on the coffee plant to maintain the low pH and add minerals.
It takes two to three years for the tree to flower and possible cherries to be produced.
Once the cherries mature, you can harvest, pulp, ferment, dry roast
Pest And Diseases
Over 900 species of insect have been recorded as pests of coffee crops worldwide. Of these, over a third are beetles, and over a quarter are bugs. Some 20 species of nematodes, 9 species of mites, and several snails and slugs also attack the crop. Birds and rodents sometimes eat coffee berries, but their impact is minor compared to invertebrates. In general, arabica is the more sensitive species to invertebrate predation overall. Each part of the coffee plant is assailed by different animals. Nematodes attack the roots, coffee borer beetles burrow into stems and woody material, and the foliage is attacked by over 100 species of larvae (caterpillars) of butterflies and moths.
Mass spraying of insecticides has often proven disastrous, as predators of the pests are more sensitive than the pests themselves. Instead, integrated pest management has developed, using techniques such as targeted treatment of pest outbreaks, and managing crop environment away from conditions favouring pests. Branches infested with scale are often cut and left on the ground, which promotes scale parasites to not only attack the scale on the fallen branches but in the plant as well.
The 2-mm-long coffee borer beetle (Hypothenemushampei) is the most damaging insect pest to the world’s coffee industry, destroying up to 50 percent or more of the coffee berries on plantations in most coffee-producing countries
Coffee berries and their seeds undergo several processes before they become the familiar roasted coffee. Berries have been traditionally selectively picked by hand; a labor-intensive method, it involves the selection of only the berries at the peak of ripeness. More commonly, crops are strip picked, where all berries are harvested simultaneously regardless of ripeness by person or machine. After picking, green coffee is processed by one of two methods—the dry process method, simpler and less labor-intensive as the berries can be strip picked, and the wet process method, which incorporates fermentation into the process and yields a mild coffee.
Then they are sorted by ripeness and color and most often the flesh of the berry is removed, usually by machine, and the seeds are fermented to remove the slimy layer of mucilage still present on the seed. When the fermentation is finished, the seeds are washed with large quantities of fresh water to remove the fermentation residue, which generates massive amounts of coffee wastewater. Finally, the seeds are dried.
The best (but least used) method of drying coffee is using drying tables. In this method, the pulped and fermented coffee is spread thinly on raised beds, which allows the air to pass on all sides of the coffee, and then the coffee is mixed by hand. In this method the drying that takes place is more uniform, and fermentation is less likely. Most African coffee is dried in this manner and certain coffee farms around the world are starting to use this traditional method.
Next, the coffee is sorted, and labeled as green coffee. Another way to let the coffee seeds dry is to let them sit on a concrete patio and rake over them in the sunlight. Some companies use cylinders to pump in heated air to dry the coffee seeds, though this is generally in places where the humidity is very high.
Coffee is usually sold in a roasted state, and with rare exceptions all coffee is roasted before it is consumed. It can be sold roasted by the supplier, or it can be home roasted.The roasting process influences the taste of the beverage by changing the coffee bean both physically and chemically. The bean decreases in weight as moisture is lost and increases in volume, causing it to become less dense. The density of the bean also influences the strength of the coffee and requirements for packaging.
The actual roasting begins when the temperature inside the bean reaches approximately 200 °C (392 °F), though different varieties of seeds differ in moisture and density and therefore roast at different rates. During roasting, caramelization occurs as intense heat breaks down starches, changing them to simple sugars that begin to brown, which alters the color of the bean.
Sucrose is rapidly lost during the roasting process, and may disappear entirely in darker roasts. During roasting, aromatic oils and acids weaken, changing the flavor; at 205 °C (401 °F), other oils start to develop.One of these oils, caffeol, is created at about 200 °C (392 °F), which is largely responsible for coffee’s aroma and flavor.
Roasting is the last step of processing the beans in their intact state. During this last treatment, while still in the bean state, more caffeine breaks down above 235 °C (455 °F). Dark roasting is the utmost step in bean processing removing the most caffeine.
Decaffeination may also be part of the processing that coffee seeds undergo. Seeds are decaffeinated when they are still green. Many methods can remove caffeine from coffee, but all involve either soaking the green seeds in hot water (often called the “Swiss water process”) or steaming them, then using a solvent to dissolve caffeine-containing oils. Decaffeination is often done by processing companies, and the extracted caffeine is usually sold to the pharmaceutical industry.
Coffee is best stored in an airtight container made of ceramic, glass, or non-reactive metal. Higher quality prepackaged coffee usually has a one-way valve which prevents air from entering while allowing the coffee to release gases. Coffee freshness and flavor is preserved when it is stored away from moisture, heat, and light. The ability of coffee to absorb strong smells from food means that it should be kept away from such smells. Storage of coffee in the refrigerator is not recommended due to the presence of moisture which can cause deterioration. Exterior walls of buildings which face the sun may heat the interior of a home, and this heat may damage coffee stored near such a wall.Heat from nearby ovens also harms stored coffee.
In 1931, a method of packing coffee in a sealed vacuum in cans was introduced. The roasted coffee was packed and then 99% of the air was removed, allowing the coffee to be stored indefinitely until the can was opened. Today this method is in mass use for coffee in a large part of the world