Coffee – From Nature to Your CupThere are two main types of coffee plants, although variations even among these, the Robusta and the Arabica. Robusta is used more often in blends and has a less refined taste, and higher caffeine content. The Arabica, more sought after, is the basis of specialty coffees. Coffee plants can grow as high as 33 feet but are usually pruned to heights that allow for easier harvesting. The Arabica species is self-pollinating while the Robusta relies on cross-pollination. The coffee tree flowers twice a year, and a quarter of the flowers turn into coffee cherries.
Coffee ProcessingAs the coffee cherries turn red, harvesting begins. On large plantations, strip picking by machinery is often used picking all the beans, even if they are not fully ripe. At Java Planet we source our beans from small family farms that handpick the cherries as they ripen, resulting in a better product.
Freshly picked, ripe coffeeAfter it is picked the coffee seed has to be extracted from the cherry by the wet method, semi-washed or dry (natural) method. Each method lends its own flavor to the coffee. The dry method involves laying the cherries out to be dried under the sun. The beans are turned every few hours to ensure even drying. This is done over several weeks. Once the fruit begins to dry and fall off, the rest of the job is done by mulching machinery. This system produces a green bean that is heavy in body, sweet and smooth. The wet processing method skips the sunbath, and goes straight to the mulching machine, pulp washed away, and then the bean sits in water for 24 to 48 hours to ferment. Any remaining pulp is washed off and the beans are either laid out to dry or put in a drying machine. This results in coffee that has a brighter, fruitier flavor. A hybrid process “semi-washed”, "honey" or “Giling Basah” in Indonesian. In this method, the outer skin is removed using locally built pulping machines. Still coated with some of the inner fruit, it is stored for up to 24 hours. The remaining fruit is washed off and the beans are laid in the sun to partially dry, leaving 30% to 35% moisture.
Roasting CoffeeRoasting turns the green coffee beans we import from small organic certified farms into the aromatic brown beans we ship to you. The degree of roasting varies, due to both the type of bean, and one's preference for the taste found in the brewed cup. Below are some of the names used to designate the degree of roast: Light roast: half city, cinnamon, New England and light
Medium roast: American, medium/high, breakfast and regular
Full medium: light French, Viennese, city, full city
Dark/High Roast: New Orleans, European, French, after dinner