Coffee: How It Reaches Your Table

Its morning and you automatically reach out for your first cup of coffee!

Coffee has become an integral part of daily diet in some societies, especially in the US and one hardly ever gives a thought to how bland coffee beans are transformed into an aromatic beverage with strong flavors that are so familiar.

Before acquiring the state in which coffee reaches the table, the coffee berry and its seeds undergo a series of processes that require a fair amount of human labor that make a coffee what it is.

Coffee processing requires a series of agricultural and industrial procedures that are needed to deliver the desired flavor to the consumer. The processes involved are:
-Picking the berry

As expected, the first task in the efforts to make coffee beans is to pick the fruit from the shrubs or the trees, depending on the species in question. This is done in large plantations and mostly by hand. The beans are then de-fruited and sorted. In some cases the berries are even aged, since it is believed to lend a more mature aroma to the beans. Though the picking of the berries, de-fruiting and aging are essential parts of the entire process, it is the next step that is the most essential – roasting. It is this process that transforms the insipid berries into a beverage that the world loves and enjoys.

This is one process that requires a fair amount of skill and the temperature, evenness of heating, amount of time allowed for roasting and other such parameters can make all the difference between a good coffee and a bad one. Even though different species have different characteristics and some are bitterer than the others, characteristics like aroma, flavor and taste are dictated by the process of roasting and therefore extreme care and finesse needs to be maintained during this process.

The process of roasting is actually a complex chemical process where heat acts as a catalyst to kick off a chemical reaction. This transforms the carbohydrates and fats into aromatic oils like Caffeol and removes the moisture and carbon dioxide in the beans. The process also breaks down and builds acids that lend the inherent characteristic flavor and taste of the coffee.

Before the coffee is released in the market, it needs to be graded. The grading is based on the assessment of professional tasters who are connoisseurs of coffee. The process of tasting requires them to sniff deeply of slurp the coffee loudly to carry it back to their tongues. With this, they determine the texture (mouth feel), oiliness, acidity (a sharp tangy feeling as in biting a citrus fruit), and harmony (the harmony of different flavors in the coffee).

Grinding the coffee beans can be done at various levels and the bean can be ground coarse or fine. The Turkish grind is considered to be the finest and can be mixed with water directly. The coarsest grinds are considered to be the coffee percolator and the French Press.

Grinding can be done by the coffee company, the grocery shop or at home. And these days, many people prefer to buy whole beans even though the grinding process does involve higher levels of effort at home. The most common home coffee machines use the drip and paper filter grinds. These machines give a grind that is somewhere between the finest and the coarsest grinds. The drip machines pass near-boiling water through the coffee in a filter. The other method that is used to make coffee from coffee beans is the espresso method. This method is more technologically advanced and involves hot steaming water that is forced through the grounded coffee to give coffee that is frothy and great to taste.

But there are many people who do not want to put in large amounts of effort to make a cup of coffee. For the convenience of such people, there are many instant coffee brands available in the market. Instant coffee is dried into soluble powder or frozen-dried into granules so that all a consumer needs to do is to mix hot or cold water to prepare the beverage.

So whether you like cappuccino or café latte, ensure that you appreciate the effort, perseverance and skill that it is required to make the coffee what it is.

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About The Author, Coffee City
Coffee City | Offers extensive articles and resources on coffee, espresso, coffee beans, coffee making, etc.