No doubt you’re all too familiar with that delectable daily delight that only coffee can deliver. But do you know how your cup of coffee came to be? Here’s its origin story.
It Starts With the Plant
A coffee bean plant is a tall shrub reminiscent of a berry bush. Like most plants, species abound, with the Arabica and the Robusta plants being the most well-known. Arabicas are the most popular and prolific; varieties grow all over the world in countries near the equator. These plants can take four years to begin to bear fruit.
Arabica vs. Robusta Beans
Most artisan coffees are made with various Arabica beans; they are considered far superior in quality and flavor. Arabica beans tend to be grown at higher elevations, and most growers give the beans longer to grow to enhance their flavor. In contrast, Robusta beans are considered lower quality and are often used for instant coffee. Their varieties are more disease-resistant and produce a higher yield. Robusta beans do, however, contain more caffeine.
Coffee beans are actually the seeds that grow on coffee plants. They are called “coffee cherries.” When they turn red, they’re ready to be harvested.
Most are still picked by hand. Proficient pickers can harvest 100-200 pounds of coffee cherries daily, representing 20-40 pounds of coffee beans.
After harvesting, the coffee cherries are processed to remove the beans from their outer shell.