And without further ado, here is my very first proper entry. I thought I would start easy, and introduce you to Mr Coffee himself.
So, for whom may not know this, Mr. Coffee is actually a seed.
This seed grows inside a fruit, that we call “Cherry”, that simultaneously grown on a plant. Now it will not be able to just grow anywhere in the world, as the lady plant loves highly humid and extremely hot weather. And there are only some places in the world that can offer that: between two tropics, Capricorn and Cancer. Think Brasil, Kenya, India, Costa Rica.
It looks similar to the image up here, just a little bushier and more tree-like. The official name for the plant is Coffea, and it has up to 100 and counting little “sub” species under the name.
The good thing about the plant is that its life span is pretty long – we are talking century-long – and that it is possible to use all parts of the plant and not just the fruits.
It is traditional in Ethiopia, for example, to drink the leaves as a tea, in a ceremony called Kuti. The little flowers that the plant produces, which have a slight jasmine-sweet smell, can also be used as tea. Wonderful isn’t it?
Now, how does it become the little brown bean we crush and brew you ask? Well, it’s a long process, too long to only write in one go, but rest assured we will cover that soon!
Anyway, here is a little idea of how “mr. bean” lives before getting processed:
As you can see, the seed lives inside the fruit, always together with a twin “brother”. It’s covered by a couple of layers that protect the bean from flies, who like the sugars the fruit produce.
Let’s have a quick look at them:
- Number 1 on the outside is Cascara. This means “husks” in Spanish, and it is what it represents: the hard and thin skin layer on the outside of the cherry, that covers the juicy flesh on the inside. It’s consumable (just not currently in the UK). It’s a great choice if you know someone that likes coffee and wants the same kick but in a different form. Even more importantly, it’s compostable. It can be used as compost, fuel, or even as a skincare product.
2. Number 2 is Parchment. As the name suggests it feels like paper, and it’s a thin hard layer that protects the bean while it grows. It is visible in some bags of coffee, as it’s that fluffy flaky thing you find at the bottom of the bag.
3. Number 3 is the star of the show: ladies and gentlemen, I present you ‘The Bean’. That little seed that once roasted gives 3/4 of the world population joy when consumed. As I mentioned, it normally lives with a twin, though sometimes may come out as a single child, that we coffee nerds call Peaberry.
The size of the bean will vary, depending on the species or the varieties of the plant. You can get tiny ones as well as some big juicy boys. Most importantly though, is that they will taste differently depending on where and how they grow, just like grapes and wine.
But we will touch on that another day. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed my first little lesson and hopefully I haven’t gone on for too long.
If you cannot wait for the next post, do not worry, it’s coming soon. You can pop on my old post here and read how I got to this point in my career.
Farewell, for now.