What is coffee?
Although coffee is referred to as a bean, it is actually the seed of a piece of fruit, known as a coffee cherry. They were termed ‘beans’, as they resemble the appearance of actual beans. The cherries are hand picked, and the seed is separated from the fruit. There are various methods of achieving this, with some allowing the fruit to dry first, and others removing the seed much sooner. By varying the amount of time the fruit is allowed to dry on the seed, these methods impact the flavor of the finished product. After the ‘beans’ are dried, the unroasted product is called ‘green coffee’.
Not all coffee is created equal
The two main species of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Robusta coffee packs 50% more caffeine, and a sharp bitter flavor. This is one reason why Arabica coffee is the more desirable of the two, as it possesses a smoother taste and enjoyable flavor characteristics. The terroir (ie elevation, soil, climate, humidity) plays a significant role in what the coffee tastes like. Seasoned coffee tasters can identify between Guatemalan coffee or Ethiopian coffee, simply by taste. These variances in flavor are only evident in light roast coffee and replaced with flavors derived from the roasting process when creating dark roasted coffee. Green coffee is also classified into 5 different grades, the highest being termed “Specialty Coffee”. Most large corporate coffee companies use lower grade coffees in order to process the large amount required to fulfill their distribution. They will also source coffees from various origins, blend them and roast them to such a degree that practically none of the natural flavors are evident.
Nothing to hide
At Camano Island Coffee Roasters, we have nothing to hide. We purchase the top 1% of the World’s coffee, and roast it so that the quality of the coffee speaks for itself where it’s most important…in your cup! Not only do we select the best coffee, but we also value the farming communities where it is grown and the environment in which it originates. CICR does this by engaging in ethical coffee trading practices and sustainable agriculture which you may read more about here. We offer coffee that is good for you at various roast levels, but all of the roasts will still exhibit the coffee’s unique flavor profiles. Whether you already enjoy drinking specialty coffee or you drink any coffee you can get your hands on, we invite you to try our unique coffees. We’ll even give you the first pound for free!
What is coffee? Ask me:
If you still have questions about what coffee is, or any coffee related questions, we would love to answer you in the comments below.
By Nathan Smith