Ever wondered how a coffee bean ends up in your cup?
If you, like me, have ever wondered how it is that such a great tasting drink as coffee is produced then wonder no more. UK Vending one of the UK’s leading suppliers of vending machines has done some of the leg work for you and researched just how beans on plantations around the globe ends up in your coffee cup.
After fruiting into ‘cherries’ the coffee bean ripens from green, to yellow and finally to a bright red colour. The cherries are then picked to be processed.
For coffee production the beans inside the cherries are what producers are looking for and usually each ‘cherry’ has two beans inside each fruit. There is a choice of options in how to process these fruit – wet and dry.
In the wet process they are washed and passed through pulpers to remove the soft pulp. A process of fermentation then removes any other pulp products. A further wash removes any other foreign material before the beans are dried. The alternative process is to dry them in the sun for about three weeks. The pulp, which by this time, has started to separate from the beans is then mechanically removed.
Once the beans have been graded and sorted they pass to roasting houses. But what is roasting and how does it work?
Roasting is essentially how the desired taste of the coffee is chemically transferred. The roasting of the beans develops flavour and aroma compounds and is strictly controlled with a close watch kept on time and temperature throughout the process. The roasting process also gives the beans their distinctive black or brown colour. There is a great deal of science involved in the process as different beans optimal flavour characteristics are different, which is where we get blended varieties of coffee’s using the properties of one type of bean with another.
The roasting process can be as high as 250 degrees Centigrade. As they are heated moisture within the beans is lost and the natural sugars caramelise. At the optimum colour, the beans are quickly quenched to prevent further roasting. How much roasting determines whether your choice of coffee has a light and smooth flavour, or dark and intense, medium and bright or a medium and balanced flavour?
Once packaged the coffee is sent out the consumer.