Coffee bean obviously comes from coffee plant. This is a small evergreen bush to tree which blooms white flowers which transform into red cherries with seeds over a 7-9 months. The seeds underneath a layer of pulp are what become the coffee bean. There are basically two versions of it – the normal coffee fruit which has two beans and the pea berry highly grown in India which has only one bean. Grown in the southern hemisphere or equatorial regions mostly Africa, South Asia and South America it is widely consumed around the world and is the highest traded beverage commodity.
Though many varieties of the coffee shrub exist there are two main varieties which are grown –Arabica and the Canephora or Robusta. In these two Arabica is the more flavourful brother and Robusta has a bad taste but higher caffeine content.
There are various conditions which affect the taste of the final coffee a few are man-made variables and a few climatic. We will see both in due course.
These evergreens are extremely intolerant to cold temperatures and the output of the crop falls dramatically due to frost. Temperature, Rainfall, soil conditions, shade and altitude are few basic factors which affect the end result taste. Shade grown berries are simply those plants which are grown under the shade of trees. Because trees and forest canopies are limited more so now-a-days coffee is grown under the sun. This distinction is made because shade grown berries mature slower and are much superior in taste than their under the sun cousins which usually mature faster.
These variables are the reason why a Columbian coffee varies from a coffee from Sumatra or Guatemala.
India used to be a producer of Arabica initially but there were huge losses when the coffee rot affected the crop which was when Robusta started picking up. Now we have around 60% odd of Robusta as output.
Coffee rot is one of the 900 varieties of living things which could attack a coffee plant. Every single part of the plant has a set of creature/bacteria which specialize in attacking. To protect the plant usually pesticides are used and because of which organic coffee is now becoming famous.
About the writer:
15+ years as avid coffee drinker, Nutan has had a chance to enjoy diverse coffee experiences -
tasting coffee beans, visiting plantations, roasteries and coffee shops, trying out coffees makers, making practices & recipes. The blog is an attempt to distill & consolidate all the wonder in the coffee world, with special attention on Indian traditional versions