Coffee Intro 1: The Roasted Cherry
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
Americans drink a lot of coffee, around 400 million cups a day! But how much do you know about your favorite morning drink? Here at Terranova we love what we do and we want to share our love of our favorite drink with everyone. Below are some basic coffee facts and some juicy insider information on the process to mull over while you sip your morning cup of joe.
Surprisingly the coffee plant does not produce a "bean" it actually produces a cherry like fruit and the seed inside is the wonderful ground "bean" we all drink and love. There are 2 main types of coffee plants each has its own unique properties and flavor profiles.
The most popular and widely drank coffee in the world and probably what you drank today. Arabica is a more delicate plant and is known for its sweeter taste, low acidity, and overall better flavor. The name Arabica actual comes from the first people to ever drink coffee as a brewed beverage, Arabian Scholars, who adored the drink.
"O Coffee! Thou dost dispel all cares, thou art the object of desire to the scholar.
This is the beverage of the friends of God; it gives health to those in its service who strive after wisdom.
Prepared from the simple shell of the berry, it has the odor of musk and the color of ink.
The intelligent man who empties these cups of foaming coffee, he alone knows truth.
May God deprive of this drink the foolish man who condemns it with incurable obstinacy. Coffee is our gold.
Wherever it is served, one enjoys the society of the noblest and most generous men.
O drink! As harmless as pure milk, which differs from it only in its blackness."
(In Praise of Coffee, an Arabic poem from 1511)
Named after the fact it is more robust than the Arabica coffee plant, Robusta has a surprising number of differences. Robusta coffees have about double the caffeine as Arabica, with about half the sugar which causes a distinct taste difference in the coffee. Robusta is usually harsher and more bitter in flavor but blends with other coffees well. It is usually used in espressos or blends to add a higher caffeine content. The reason Robusta is more disease resistant and pest resistant is due to its higher caffeine content which is a natural pest deterrent.
Why Roast Coffee?
The roasting process brings out the flavor of the coffee that is sealed inside the un-roasted green bean. The art of roasting is quite complicated, there are balances between the lighter roasts (higher acidity and more flavors) and darker roasts (more bitter and chocolate less flavor characteristics from the soils) to bring out the best flavors within the bean. Individual roasters, roasting process, where the coffee comes from, how it is grown, how it is harvested, the processing of the fruit, and a multitude of other factors can completely change the taste of the coffee.
Light Roast vs. Dark Roasts
Light roasts often pull fruitier, citrus, and berry flavor notes. Just like ordering a steak rare rather than well done, lighter roasts of coffee brings out more of the flavor sealed within the bean (instead of the smokey, charcoal, and chocolate tastes usually associated with dark roasts). A common misconception is that darker roasts are "stronger" however lighter roasts contain more caffeine (to an extent) than darker roasts. The reason for this is that the caffeine is burned off in the roasting process.
Dark roasts often have smokey, chocolate, and caramel flavor notes. Technically they are considered healthier! Dark roasts contain more anti-oxidants than lighter roasts due to the longer roasting process. Some studies have even linked weight loss with dark roasts! If you like cream or milk in your coffee, then dark roast is the way to go! The flavor of dark roast coffee is not as overpowered when milk or cream is added.
Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and worth over 100 billion worldwide! Around 166 million (130 pound bags each!) of coffee are consumed each year, which makes it one of the most drank beverages in the world! We hope this little blog has helped grow your love of coffee. Let us know if you have any coffee questions you would like answered in our monthly blog!