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Coffee Beans 101 – Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?

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Where do coffee beans come from?”, did it ever occur to you?

Coffee is such an important and integrated part of our life that we can’t help but have the thirst to know more about this.

We have taken this amazing responsibility to inform and educate you on this topic in the best possible way.

In short, coffee beans come from specific coffee plants that produce red or purple colored cherry like fruit, and they have seeds in them – the coffee beans.

Coffee plants are cultivated in many countries, and Brazil is the largest contributor to coffee bean production worldwide for a long time.

We will further discuss this whole topic elaborately for you. By the end of this article, you will know how coffee makes its way to your cup from a plant in Brazil or some other country.

Enjoy your flavorful coffee, and enter the journey with us.

The Beginning Of Coffee

Beginning of Coffee

Where do coffee beans come from? The exact origin is unknown, but there are some famous stories regarding the birth of coffee.

One of the stories says, around the 9th century, in a far-off region in Ethiopia, a shepherd named Kaldi discovered coffee as his goats ate them and started acting weird.

Another story says how an abandoned man discovered coffee as he had to find his source of energy to survive in the desert.

However, according to the facts and history, it’s the Arab people who adopted the coffee culture back in the days and spread it all over the world. And coffee, being an amazing beverage, earned its name over time.

If you are further interested in learning about the whole history, check out our writing on history of coffee.

Coffee Plants: What Type Of Coffee Plants Are There?

Coffee Plants

The coffee plants can be generally referred to as bush or trees that grow 4 to 10 meters in height. Coffee plants carry fruits that look similar to cherries; there are two coffee beans facing each other in each of the coffee fruits. These beans are basically coffee plant seeds which are covered by a thin skin and slime coating. Interestingly, different stages of ripeness are available in a particular bunch of coffee cherries.

More than 80 types of coffee are available in the present world, but we only see two main variants. They are – Arabica, and Robusta. Close to them are two more – Liberica and Excelsa.

Arabica and Robusta have plenty of varietal to their strain.

Coffee is considered to be as exquisite as wine. The flavor, taste, and aroma of coffee seed from the same family but grown on different grounds might have different notes.

Every year the quality of harvest differs in terms of exclusiveness, just like wine. This fluctuation is caused by the weather, i.e., the temperature of the year.

Arabica – the Arabica coffee plant family is known to produce quality grade beans with sweet fruity notes ingrained naturally. Majority of the coffee lovers worldwide enjoy this coffee because of its naturally sweet flavor and enchanting aroma.

Arabica is more time and labor extensive to produce.

Robusta – this family is known to have a rich taste accented with earthy bitter notes. Note that the caffeine content in these beans is much higher.

The beans from this family are vastly used to produce instant coffee for commercial purposes.

Robusta coffee plants are easier to cultivate and takes less time to produce yield.

How Long Does It Take For A Coffee Plant To Mature?

How Long Does It Take For A Coffee Plant To Mature

Coffee plants grow from beans to plant and mature around 3-4 years. They bear fruits known as coffee cherries. These cherries are harvested when they’re ripe and ready. Also know that, it depends on the type of coffee plant as well. Some require more time and some require less.

Coffee Beans Come From Which Country?

Coffee beans are vastly produced in Africa, Central/ South America, and Indonesia. They are mainly grown in countries under the coffee belt.

The Coffee Bean Belt

Bean Belt Coffee: What Is The Coffee Bean Belt?

You can only get quality graded coffee beans when you nurture them in their prime location. The bean belt is considered the sweet spot for culturing quality grade beans.

The area between Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn is considered a prime location to grow a quality coffee bean plant. The lush tropic environment is a great facilitator for one of the top-quality coffee beans.

The coffee plantation has spread from Africa to the greater east and western parts of the world.

The climate, land, temperature, and even the humidity of a certain place plays a significant role behind a good harvest.

Where Do Most Coffee Beans Come From? (Top 5 Country)

Brazil produces 40 percent of the total coffee bean production worldwide. Then comes Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and many more.

These are some of the largest providing sources of coffee beans ensuring quality with quantity.

Although coffee production traditionally started in the African hub, overtime, this has spread in other countries situated in the bean belt favoring good yield factors.

What Are The Top 5 Coffee Bean Brands?

1. Lavazza

2. Stumptown coffee

3. Death wish coffee

4. Seattle’s best coffee

5. La Colombe Corsica

If you’re looking to try out the top brands, then these are quite popular and reliable according to our two cents.

Most Expensive Coffee Beans

Kopi Luwak

Another interesting coffee bean is Kopi Luwak coffee native to Indonesia. ‘Kopi’ stands for coffee and ‘Luwak’ is the Asian Palm Civet; a small feline-sized animal.

The “civet coffee” or Kopi Luwak is made from the feces of the animal, i.e., digested cherry beans.

It is reportedly expensive because the animal eats only the best ripe coffee fruit and the fermentation process in its stomach helps improve the flavor of the coffee bean.

They’re processed thoroughly for safe consumption.

Coffee Beans: From Plant To Home (The Full Process)

Coffee Beans: From Plant To Home (The Full Process)

Coffee Plantation

After being planted, the coffee bean takes roughly 3-4 years before bearing any fruits. High grounds with regulated draining in the tropics are the best suitable place for growing coffee.

Coffee Plantation

The moist ground is best for the roots of the coffee plant to latch on quickly. Direct sunlight is best avoided for these plants; a little sunlight is enough for the photosynthesis process of the coffee bean tree.

These can grow to be 20 feet tall and even more, but they’re pruned to be 8-10 feet for ease in harvesting.

After maturing, coffee trees can yield a healthy production of cherries for 50-60 years.

Annual Harvesting

When the coffee cherries are ripe, they’re ready to be harvested. Usually, these cherries turn a bright red color when they’re ripe, but there are variations of bright yellow to pink cherries.

Coffee Harvesting

The major harvest of these cherries typically rolls around once a year, the methods applied to harvesting differs depending on the size of the plantation.

Some coffee tree farms have invested in machines to harvest the beans, while other farms use the traditional selective cherry-picking method

Processing The Coffee Beans

After completing harvest, the cherries are quickly sorted through, washed, and cleaned thoroughly for further processes.

This is done as fast as possible to prevent rotting.

Two methods are used to get the seed – the dry method, and the wet method.

For the dry method, the cherries are spread out in the sun on a flat surface to dry out, they’re routinely raked and turned through and covered at night to protect from rain. This continues till the cherries dry up.

Coffee Beans Dry Processing
Coffee Beans Dry Processing

Farms that have insufficient water resources usually use the dry method.

For the wet method, the skin and pulp of the cherry are removed, leaving the seed with a thin slimy parchment layer.

The seeds are passed through water channels, where the heavy ripe seeds sink and the lighter beans float to the top.

The next phase is rotating drums where the seeds get separated based on their sizes.

Coffee Beans Wet Processing
Coffee Beans Wet Processing

The seeds still have a slimy film on them which is then removed by keeping them in a water-filled tank for 12 to 48 hours depending on the intensity it requires ferment.

When they’re done fermenting, the mucilage layer dissolves, leaving the seed rough to the touch. They’re then thoroughly washed and ready for the drying process.

Let’s Watch a Video Review: How to Wet Process Coffee

Quality Control

The coffee beans are batched for testing in terms of flavors, richness and looks.

Preparing To Sell

After drying the coffee seeds, the next step is to prepare them for the market. They’re husked, polished, and sorted for packaging.

Roasting

Coffee Roasting

The next step is to roast the coffee beans according to coffee roast levels to your liking. A lot of the flavor body depends on the roasting. Roasting helps develop flavor and body to the coffee that was naturally there.

Apparently, the more you roast, the less caffeine you get. If you are interested to learn, check out our writing on what is caffeine?

They roast their beans commercially but you can roast your beans yourself at home, if you have a own best home coffee roaster.

Grinding

Coffee Grinding Guide
Coffee Grinding Guide

The grind size facilitates proper extraction when you’re brewing a cup of coffee. Uniform grind size makes your extraction process consistent so that you get a balanced flavor palate.

Different styles of brew adhere to different grind sizes. From fine grind to rough coarse grind, the variation is endless.

Invest in a good coffee grinder to get a quality cup of coffee. You can read our best coffee grinders suggestions- best coffee grinder for French press or best burr coffee grinders.

If you invest in a burr coffee grinder, better you also learn how to clean a burr grinder. Also, check out our writing on how to grind coffee beans without a grinder?

Brewing

Brewing

Different styles of coffee require different attributes for proper extraction. For example, the French press requires around four minutes for extraction, the espresso needs through steamed water pressure, there are many more styles of brewing.

Based on different styles of brewing methods various companies made their brands and own reputations by innovating different styles and techniques of coffee machines.

We have reviewed some of those machines, check out our writing on best automatic pour over coffee makers review, best single serve coffee maker reviews, best coffee maker with grinder (grind & brew) reviews, best super automatic espresso machine reviews, and best commercial espresso machine reviews.

Well, now you know how to make coffee. Try out different styles of brewing, you’ll surely fall in love with one or maybe more than one. The choice is yours.

Coffee Beans Used In Coffee Shops

Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts pops into our head first when we think about coffee places, all these places use a 100 percent blend of arabica coffee beans.

These famous coffee places have their personalized arabica blend sourced from their distributors, helping them maintain their consistency in terms of service and quality.

On the other hand, the commercial coffee or the ready made coffee that you get from your nearest store uses robusta beans mainly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where Is The Birthplace Of Coffee?

Coffee was first discovered in Kaffa, a hilly region in Ethiopia. The conditions provided in Ethiopian hill tracts are best to cultivate quality grade coffee.

Only the environment for coffee is great but the workers who’re working in those conditions are enduring worse to harvest coffee cherries.

Can You Eat Raw Coffee Cherries?

Coffee cherries from the coffee bean tree are sweet fruits when ripe but it is not very meaty. The cherry has thick rough skin on top

So, conventionally this cherry is not harvested for the pulp; only the seeds hold commercial worth.

Can You Eat Coffee Grounds For Caffeine?

Yes, you can eat coffee grounds, but traditionally that is not the way to consume coffee for the caffeine.

Caffeine in the coffee grounds is rich incontent before brewing; after brewing, the caffeine concentration is diluted in the coffee grounds.

Can You Chew On Coffee Beans?

Chewing on a raw coffee bean might not be a good idea, although it’s not deemed unhealthy. The beans are very dense in texture and don’t emit any flavor when they’re raw.

Chewing on a roasted bean might leave one with a gritty texture and bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

Roasted beans extract a mouthwatering cup of coffee. The rich aroma and robust flavor can enchant a true aficionado.

What Is The Best Coffee Beans Brand?

As of 2021, Lavazza is considered one of the best coffee beans brand but not exactly “THE BEST.” The rivals on the same level include – Stumptown coffee, Death wish coffee, Seattle’s best coffee, and La Colombe Corsica.

On A Closing Note

The coffee bean is the seed of the coffee fruit, and this seed is what gets furnished to become a beautiful cup of coffee, boosting our sensory motors to be more aware and active. Now that ‘where do coffee beans come from’ is answered we’ll talk about the multiple benefits of drinking coffee.

This simple fruit seed holds so much goodness, filled with antioxidants; this plays a significant role in boosting your mood. Coffee beans have essential nutrients which fight off the risk factors of many illness and diseases.

Some coffee fanatics even go as far as growing coffee plants and keeping them as a house plant.

If you fancy the idea as well but can’t seem to get your coffee bean plant right then opt for a pseudo version. The Kentucky coffee tree would make a great pseudo coffee plant.

The goodness of coffee has enchanted the world and now you know why it’s so good and how it has modernized with time.

We hope now you’ll be able to fully enjoy your cup of coffee and understand the magic of the coffee beans from a completely new aspect with this article.

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