The History of Your Morning Cup of Coffee

coffee

A huge number of people around the world drink coffee and most drink it every day. Some are dismayed at the price of coffee that is purchased at the store. Yet, they really shouldn’t be surprised at all. They simply don’t know the process that ground coffee went through before it was even put in the can (or coffee maker).

First, coffee fruits must be picked. The best coffee comes from the fruits that are totally ripe. Unfortunately, many of the companies that don’t really care about the consumer pick a lot of the coffee fruits when they are still green. This is true of the cheapest coffee, because the producers can use machinery to pick all the coffee fruits, ripe or not. If they are only picked when they are ripe, they must be picked by hand, which means that the coffee will be more expensive. Incidentally, the fruits look somewhat like a small cherry. In fact, they are called coffee cherries, though they aren’t actually cherries.

The next steps vary. The coffee cherries can be run through machines to remove the fruit pulp, leaving the beans or pits behind. These are then dried. Alternately, the cherries can be dried and then the pulp can be removed after drying.

Either way, at this point, the coffee beans have been dried. They are hulled next, to remove the seed covering and any remaining pulp. Very often, the beans are polished next, though not all producers polish the coffee beans.

The beans are then sorted by size and quality, and they are graded. The better coffee goes through an aging process at this point. The beans can be aged for as long as 6-8 years. If they aren’t aged, they often taste more acidic and less flavorful.

Most coffee is then roasted at this point, which turns the beans medium to dark brown. Once roasted, they can be ground, canned and shipped to stores for sale.

All of this takes place before your daily coffee is made and all of this costs money, effort and time. Considering all of this, it is surprising coffee is as inexpensive as it is.

For a bit of trivia, coffee plants are native to southern Africa and south Asia, despite the fact that Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Argentina produce more coffee than most other nations in the world.

The name ‘mocha’ actually comes from the name of a port in Yemen of the same name. All the coffee Europeans originally drank was initially grown in Asia and Africa, shipped to Mocha, Yemen, and from there shipped to European nations. Hence, the name mocha.

There are also over 100 species of coffee plants, but only a few of them are used to produce coffee beans. Coffee cherries also contain two beans each, and just as coffee cherries aren’t cherries, coffee beans aren’t beans.

Now perhaps you have a greater appreciation of that morning cup of coffee. It had a lengthy and involved past before it ever made it to your cup.

 


 

 

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