A wee bit of Coffee Knowledge

Quite recently I took the time to do a bit of coffee reading. Besides industry magazines I am very much enjoying, I thought it might be time to refresh my basic coffee knowledge and see if there is anything new, particularly special or even newsworthy to catch up regarding the coffee industry. Obviously there are trends in every niche that come and go and I think it´s nice to keep yourself informed, like on a regular basis. Anyway, I thought I use this Monday to write down some basics about the coffee world and maybe there are some bits and pieces which are new to you as well. If all of that feels like a bit of a revision to you, then cups up — you are a true coffee chief already. 😉

There is Robusta & Arabica…

The two most common types of coffee are robusta and arabica coffee. The robusta coffee contains way more caffeine actually than the arabica one. As the name slightly hints to it already, robusta coffee is way more robust — which basically means, robusta coffee plants survive in regions where the weather can be a bit more stormy, harsh and unpredictable in general. Robusta coffee grows in countries like Vietnam, India and Indonesia. The taste is more chocolaty, darker, cacao-ish and bitter and this type of coffee actually is very popular for espresso. The caffeine level goes up to 4,5%.

Whereas arabica coffee has a caffeine level of about 1,7% maximum and tastes more bloomy, fruity, nutty and is a bit more pure which is great for filter coffee. Arabica coffee grows in Brasilia, Columbia and Ethiopia, to name a few.

Overall, robusta coffee makes 30–40 % and arabica coffee makes 60–70 % out of coffee cultivation worldwide.

Coffee comes from… And today we get it from…

The answer is, Ethiopia! Yes, Ethiopia is yet the very first country worldwide where coffee has its origins. There were several developments regarding coffee ever since, which are called the coffee waves. Today, we are experiencing the third wave of coffee which stands for high-quality and sustainability. The coffee scene has come a long way since its early stages which go back to the end of the 17th century. Europe is until today the continent which is most famous for its coffee house culture.

Today, we get our coffee from various parts of the world. The number one coffee exporter as it is the biggest, is Brazil. Amongst the top 10 coffee exporters generally are — besides Brazil which has up to 300.000 coffee farms and half of them result in homeland coffee consumption — are, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexiko, Peru and Guatemala. For instance, Columbia grows almost entirely arabica coffee beans — the harvest takes place two times a year, once between March & June and the other between September & December. Honduras on the other hand, does its harvesting once a year only between November and April and takes pride in standing for its balanced, fruity yet chocolaty coffee.

Some further coffee facts… Did you know, that…

The condition of the ground as well as the amount of sun and rain during the ripening time has effects on the taste of the coffee. Sensitive coffee plants actually need a well-balanced climate all season round — during the day and during the night. Plus, shadow and enough rainfall is crucial for a satisfying coffee taste. The ground quality plays a major role and ideally, the ph value is between 5 & 6, which is a bit sour. The richer in nutrients the ground is, the better for the coffee plant and eventually the taste.

Coffee plants can get a height of up to 3,5 metres. They are in their wilderness form only to be found left in Ethiopia. The bushes carry fruits which we call coffee cherries. The resulting coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee cherries. So, coffee is basically a fruit which grows in the nucleus of a coffee cherry. The coffee cherries dry either natural under the sun or get washed before the further coffee steps take place.

Last but not least, one further fact… Speciality coffee actually means hand harvested. The process of the whole coffee value creation chain is way more precise, detailed and sustainable. According to the Speciality Coffee Association, coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded specialty.

That´s a wrap! I hope it was some kind of useful to you and I´d be happy to write more about detailed parts in the future as well! Have a good start into the new week & enjoy your coffee!!