The coffee bean that you buy in the store and that most people are familiar with is in its roasted form, with colors ranging from a light, milk chocolatey brown to a charcoal black (depending on the degree of roast). This ‘bean’ comes from the coffee plant, which is a small evergreen shrub/tree. There are three main Coffea species – Robusta, Arabica, and the lesser known Liberica. Arabica beans are known for their excellent cup quality, while Robusta beans are typically a little more harsh, less flavorful/complex, and have a higher caffeine content. However, Robusta beans are still grown to a great extent (most prominently in Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia), as they tend to be more resistant to certain diseases and poor weather conditions, making it a cheaper bean to produce. Liberica beans contribute a very small percent to world production, and as we have never tried any, we won’t speak on them any further. At Element Roasting Co, we only use Arabica beans.
The fruit of the coffee plant is a drupe, and is generally referred to as a berry or a cherry. These cherries are green in color, and when ripe, turn anywhere from yellow to orange to red. Inside of the cherries is a fleshy skin and a mucilage layer, inside of which lay two seeds. The ‘wet processed’ and other processing methods you may have seen refer to the removal of the cherry layers to get to the two seeds, which are the coffee bean (this is a highly simplified explanation, and another post is needed to detail the steps of processing).
A whole lot more happens at this stage – Milling to hull, polish, sort, clean and grade the coffee, storage into some sort of bulk container, and shipping to a warehouse, coffee importer, bean wholesaler, or coffee roasting facility. And thats where Element Roasting Co comes in!
We source our green bean from a trusted importer, and then roast a small amount of bean to a certain roast degree. To be continued…