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Where Do Coffee Beans Come From? The Ultimate Guide Of Coffee Bean Processing

Where do coffee beans come from? What are the types of coffee beans? What is special about the processing of coffee beans? In this article, we’ll find out!


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Overviews

Coffee has developed into one of life’s necessities. Many people would concur that their working days do not begin until that first stimulating coffee shot.

So, where do coffee beans come from? In this article by Wikihome, we will help you uncover the basic details of the coffee bean. Let's start exploring!

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Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?

The birthplace of coffee beans

The birthplace of coffee beans

The coffee bean originates from coffee plants. They are plants looking like a bush that could become extremely tall. Coffee growers will regularly trim them to about 5-foot height for easier control.

Inside each coffee cherry, you will find twin coffee beans. Generally, one coffee plant spends a year beginning to sprout sweet-smelling and white-colored flowers. It then spends four more years beginning to bear fruits.

It will take roughly 10 years for these coffee plants to start bearing the coffee bean for mass production which creates lucrativeness for coffee growers.

Once these coffee cherries are ripe and ideal for harvesting, their color will become red. Still, you need to watch carefully to know whether the fruit is ripe enough for harvesting. It is because collecting earlier or later than the right time can negatively affect the final flavor.

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Where is the Birthplace of Coffee Beans?

Coffee belt to grow coffee plants

Coffee belt to grow coffee plants

The vast majority of coffee plants grow around the area that is often called ‘the bean belt.’ It is a region near the Earth’s equator between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer.

The region is home to the top destinations in the world for coffee farms such as Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. It is because these places could provide coffee plants with the ideal growing environment to flourish.

The reasons for the top destinations in the world for coffee

  • The plentiful amount of rainfall with specific wet and dry seasons.
  • The number of reasonably sunny days with chilly and constant temperatures.
  • The moderate elevation for the coffee plant to grow.
  • The fertility of the soil for the coffee plant to thrive.

Natural conditions including temperature, humidity, and even soil types can have an impact on the taste of the coffee bean product.

So why does the coffee belt play such an important role in the coffee world?

The environmental space within the bean belt gives perfect conditions for coffee cultivation. They include the amount of rainfall, the warmness of temperature, and the type of soil.

What Are the Main Types of Coffee Beans?

Arabica and Robusta coffee beans

Arabica and Robusta coffee beans

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The answer is that there are more than 120 species of coffee plants, and each of them will produce an individual type of coffee beans. But the bulk of coffee beans that people often use come from only two species, namely Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

Arabica (Coffea Arabica) and Robusta (Coffea Robusta or Coffea Canephora) are the two main sources of coffee consumption. They have different tastes, living conditions, and costs as well.

Arabica coffee beans

Arabica coffee beans (also called Arabian Coffee) have a scientific name which is Coffea Arabica. They are one of the most popular species, and many experts believe that Arabica coffee beans are one of the earliest coffee species ever cultivated with the root reverting to 1,000BC.

The bean is typically oval in body shape, has a distinct center crease, and is bigger than the Robusta bean.

With the popularity of spirited and elaborate flavors, the bean holds an attraction for coffee connoisseurs. The reason is that they are likely to bear a sweeter, gentler flavor, along with fruity, flowery, nutty, and chocolate tones, despite their higher level of acidity.

In most cases, Arabica is more costly than Robusta. The reason is that it is much more fragile and requires more rigid growing conditions, like climate and elevation, to thrive.

Normally, the Arabica coffee bean grows at an altitude from 500m to 2500m and has a lower caffeine amount compared to Robusta. The Latin American region, particularly Brazil, is presently the leading producer of Arabica coffee beans.

Robusta coffee beans

Known for common cultivation in the African continent, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Robusta coffee beans have a smaller amount of acidity than Arabica. It means that they regularly taste much more bitter.

Because of their less acidity as well as more bodied and invigorating flavor compounds, Robusta can create wooden or burnt-rubber tones.

The Robusta coffee bean is an ideal option for espresso beverages owing to the strong flavor and layer of microfoam it offers.

Robusta coffee plants grow at an altitude of lower than 1000m. They generate coffee cherries much faster than Arabica coffee, which requires many years to become mature and provides higher-yielding per plant.

The Robusta features higher tolerance to the pest and the weather condition, and it explains the lower price on average than the Arabica.

One more point to keep in mind is that the Robusta coffee bean has a larger content of caffeine t.

The coffee bean from the Robusta variety is typically smaller in size and less oval than the Arabica bean. They are also regularly lighter in colors, and the center crease is vaguer.

The Processing of Coffee Beans

Coffee plants to produce coffee beans

Coffee plants to produce coffee beans

As coffee beans are ripe enough to begin the harvesting process, growers will pick coffee cherries by hand in a complicated labor-intensive manner.

Yet, in locations such as Brazil, where the natural ground is rather flat, and the coffee farms are extremely large, the harvesting process adopts the mechanization in picking fruits.

As farmers finish their coffee bean harvest, these beans will undergo one of two kinds of processing methods, either the dry method or the wet method.

  • The Dry Method

The dry processing method is generally popular in nations where the water source is sufficient.

Initially, operators will spread the already harvested fruits on very large surfaces to make them dried in the sunlight.

Then, they will make an effort to keep the fruits from rotting by raking and reversing them all day. Moreover, these operators will cover these fruits at night or on rainy to keep them from becoming moist.

  • The Wet Method

The wet processing method will wash the skin and then remove the pulp from the coffee fruit after picking so that the bean gets dry with just the rest of the parchment skin on these coffee beans.

After finishing either aforementioned processing method, coffee beans continue on their journey to customers.

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Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, coffee beans originate from very tall plants with many slender and small branches. They come with many clusters of coffee cherries that are ready for harvest with the right level of ripeness.

To produce good-quality beans, there is a term of the bean belt which refers to the heaven region to cultivate coffee plants with suitable conditions of temperature, humidity, and also the type of soil.

After harvesting, these coffee beans will go through a milling process before putting them on the shelves of supermarkets.

Hopefully, our article has provided you with useful information.

Thank you for reading!

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