Coffee beans are at the heart of our mornings but how many of us know the origins and where exactly their coffee beans come from and what different types there are?
These details can have significant effects on different types of tastes which will affect the flavour in the roasting process and thus the end taste of the coffee.
In this guide, we will be sharing everything you need to know about the nucleus of many of our mornings, the humble coffee bean.
Where do coffee beans grow?
This is a question often pondered by many, and if you ask most people they would most likely say from a coffee bean. There are many stories originating back to ancient times where “coffee forests” of Ethiopia and grew unusual looking berries.
In this old tale, the man who discovered the “coffee berry” is actually where the beans come from.
He then tried the berries. These odd-looking berries made him feel overly awake and on edge, which was a feeling he hadn’t felt before. This was due to the high levels of caffeine found in the raw cherries (containing the coffee beans) which seems obvious to us now.
Fast forward to the present day and around 70 or more countries grow coffee. The beans themselves are taken from a coffee plant and the countries these plants tend to thrive in are in the “bean belt”.
The “bean belt” is around the equator and includes Central and South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa and coffee contributes to the second most traded item around the world.
Due to the warm climates of these countries, this allows the coffee bean to thrive and grow inside the external cherry.
Top 5 Coffee Growing Countries
Types of coffee beans?
There are four main types of coffee beans which all differ in separate ways and are suited to different purposes.
This coffee bean is a distant relative of the Libera bean. It is grown in South-East Asia and is not all that common with today’s beans.
The taste is extremely distinct and in comparison with others much stronger yet fruitier.
This bean is often sought out by long-time coffee enthusiasts for its unique flavour.
Often called the “special beans” amongst coffee enthusiasts. They are termed this because they only grow well and thrive in certain climates, with limited production in comparison with other beans.
The taste and aroma are clear and fruity, floral with undertones of a “woody” richness.
This is the most common found coffee bean, and most well-known as it is much more heavily marketed in comparison with the other bean types. It may be the most common bean, however, it is by far the most sensitive bean in many ways.
They require the most attention than other species and are very susceptible to diseases.
Therefore, these things push the wholesale price up in comparison with other beans. The unique taste is often taken away with barista kinds of milk and sweetness in people’s morning coffee blend.
The taste of the Arabica bean is the sweetest out of all of the beans and is subsequently much less acidic too.
These beans are noted as the second most popular aside from Arabica and as the name suggests it is a strong and blunt form of coffee bean. Therefore, it contains the highest amount of caffeine.
Unlike other forms, it is resistant to common diseases and can ultimately be grown in a multitude of climates and altitudes. Therefore, keeping the cost price for growers much lower due to its resilience.
The taste on its own can often be interpreted as extremely woody and some consider it slightly burnt, which is why it is often mixed in with other varieties to make a more balanced taste for consumers.
When mixed in with other varieties, it will contribute by being the stronger bean whilst providing higher caffeine levels too.
How to roast coffee beans?
Coffee beans are roasted to extract certain elements of the flavour and aromas to create the perfect balance for consumers. Whether manufacturers want a light roast and sweet undertones or a much deeper roast with richer and sharper undertones, this is all layered and built in the roasting process.
The process starts by taking the raw coffee beans into a large rotating drum, this drum is heated to 240 degrees as a baseline temperature. The beans will then be roasted for 12-20 minutes depending on the roast and the depth of flavour that the manufacturers aim to create.
Once cool they are placed in a tray and checked for defected beans or debris that could affect the taste and texture of the beans. Then once the final selection is cooled, they will be weighed out and packaged ready for sale.
It’s interesting to note that cheaper ground coffee tends to be lighter in roast as the beans get smaller and smaller as they’re roasted for longer. Of course, as coffee is measured in weight, manufacturers of cheap coffee will want to roast them for as little time as possible to keep as much weight as possible.
How to store coffee beans?
It is described by the NCA that coffee beans need to be preserved to retain the added hints and undertones in the roasting process.
The best way to do this is to keep them away from light, moisture, air and heat. If you can preserve them for as long as possible it means that they will not lose much flavour or depth of taste, meaning a better-tasting coffee when it comes to brewing it.
An example of the best way to preserve your beans is in an air-tight container, which is opaque at room temperature. The best spot is somewhere cool and dark like a cupboard or cabinet but nowhere near ovens, microwaves or excess warmth or heat.
How many grams of coffee beans per cup?
If you are looking for the ultimate formula for your morning coffee, therefore you need to pay attention to the number of coffee grounds you use.
The rule of thumb to go by is for every 6 ounces of coffee you will need two tablespoons of ground coffee, which equals 10 grams of whole coffee beans.
This then works when you use 1:18 for the perfect coffee, I gram of coffee ground for every 18ml of water for the perfect coffee. However, this can be adjusted depending on your own personal tastes preferences, whether that be strong or weak.
Overall, if you want to achieve the perfect coffee, each step of this guide must be adhered to from choosing the right bean for your palette to the right roast. If these factors are taken into account then you will achieve a better taste.
By choosing better quality coffee, it is likely to have fewer additives and/or sweeteners, which also take away from the clean taste of the pure coffee bean. So, look out for this when buying your next bag, the best way to check this is by looking at the ingredients list at the back.
If it is not one that you instantly know and comes to mind, then it is likely it may not be the best variety for you and to look elsewhere.
It is also worth noting that all things considered, it is always better to look and buy quality beans. The beans from local roasters/manufacturers may cost more but will have better tastes and aromas, not to mention they will last longer if kept in the correct conditions.
We hope that this guide has opened up your understanding of the world of coffee beans. Enabling you to source better coffee beans for a better coffee that suits your palette and tastes.