Over the years, coffee has become a staple that seems indispensable in many people’s daily lives. Or what would you say about the rich, dark liquid that hinders many people’s everyday proper functionality when not taken? But then, how does coffee come into being? Where do coffee beans come from? Is coffee bean a real bean?
If you are worried about the answers to these questions on the beans in your brew, then you are in the right place. This article would be answering your questions and will guide you on all there is to know about coffee beans. So, enjoy this ride to learn more about your coffee.
What is a Coffee Bean?
Coffee beans are seeds of coffee plants that are used in producing coffee. They are found in grown coffee fruits, usually about the size of a grape, and they also grow in bunches on the coffee plant.
While they are still in raw form, the colour is naturally green but transforms into a reddish-purple and sometimes yellowish-red colour after ripening.
In each coffee cherry that grows on a coffee plant, two seeds are found inside it. Each of these seeds is what is called a single coffee bean.
Other names people call coffee beans are coffee cherry or coffee berry.
Where are Coffee Beans Grown?
The area where coffee beans are grown goes a long way in the quality and taste. Some factors like climate, soil type and elevation affect coffee beans’ taste.
Some locations are considered the coffee capitals because they are known to have the perfect condition for the growth of coffee beans. These coffee capitals of the world are Ethiopia, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Types of Coffee Beans
Coffee beans come in varieties. They vary in size, taste and, consequently, price. There are four primary types of coffee beans which we shall be discussing in this article.
1. Arabica Coffee Bean
Otherwise known as Coffee Arabica or Arabian coffee, the Arabica coffee bean is believed to be the first cultivated coffee species from Ethiopia’s highlands. This most popular type of bean is established to make up about 60% of the world’s coffee.
They are known for their distinct taste, far from other coffees’ bitterness. Its popularity in ancient Arabia makes up for the coined name “Arabica”. Arabica beans are sensitive and so need extra care than other types. This seems to be another of its downsides aside from the price.
Unlike other coffee beans that grow in an area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, in 50 countries around the world, Arabica coffee beans are harder to grow, as they need more extra water and shade and also need a higher altitude of at least 2000 feet for proper growth. An alteration of these special needs puts them at risk of plant diseases.
2. Robusta Coffee Beans
Robusta coffee beans are the second most popular coffee in the caffeine world. It is a less expensive coffee bean that is made from the seeds of the Coffea canephora plant.
It was first discovered in western and central Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, it is mainly grown in the eastern hemisphere in Indonesia and Africa. The current largest producer is Vietnam.
Robusta coffee plants are more significant than other types of coffee plants. They grow at lower altitudes and have strong resistance to plant diseases. The beans have an earthy, bitter grain-like taste, a strong smell with a peanutty aftertaste. It also contains more caffeine than Arabica beans.
3. Liberica Coffee Beans
Also known as coffee Liberica, the Liberian coffee is famous in central and western Africa- specifically Liberia. It is mainly produced in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Liberica coffee beans have a similar size and appearance as Robusta but are irregular in shape. They grow well at low altitudes and have a high tolerance for hot and humid climates.
Even though the rarity of the beans often fetches a higher price, their low yield makes them less attractive.
4. Excelsa Coffee Beans
The fourth primary coffee bean type is the Excelsa coffee beans or coffee excels. This variant grows mainly in Southeast Asia and is hard to find outside Asia. It is quite tolerant and can grow at medium altitude.
It has a unique taste that balances light and dark roasts. It has less caffeine and a lighter aroma. It is also the largest of the types discussed, reaching about 17 meters tall.
Why Coffee Beans are Not Real Beans
From what coffee beans look like, many people have already concluded they are “beans” in the real sense.
A bean is a seed from a legume plant, and legumes are plants where fruits are in a pod. Examples are; peas, peanuts etc. However, the coffee cherries from coffee plants are not in a pod and cannot be in the legumes family. And if it is not in the legumes family, it can never be beans.
Coffee beans are the only seeds that produce coffee plants.
Tips on How to Preserve Coffee Beans
Proper storage of coffee beans can prolong its life span and ensure you always get fresh brews.
To safely preserve your coffee beans, you should ;
1. Use Airtight Container
Coffee beans that are exposed to oxygen get stale quickly. When you store your coffee beans in an airtight container, you protect their flavour, aroma, and life span.
2. Leave as a Whole
Don’t rush to grind all your beans. Leave them as a whole because once you grind them, it accelerates the oxidation process, affecting the flavour. So, always grind the amount you need for a short period.
3. Keep in a Dark Environment.
When you keep coffee beans in the dark environment, it also helps preserve them well. If it comes in transparent packaging, keep it in a drawer or cabinet.
4. Do Not Refrigerate
When coffee beans are stored in a refrigerator, they absorb unnecessary moisture, making them lose their original flavour within a couple of days.
Why Do People Think Coffee Beans are Real Beans?
Call a spade a spade, they say. It is only reasonable to believe coffee beans are actual beans. Everyone is familiar with and has been using that for many years.
Why are Coffee Beans Not Beans?
Coffee beans are merely seeds and not from the legume family
What Kind of Bean is a Coffee Bean?
It is only a coffee bean by name, not an actual bean.
Where are Coffee Beans Grown?
Coffee beans are primarily grown in regions like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America, which are regarded as the bean belt.
Which Country Produces The Most Coffee Beans?
Brazil is known to be the largest coffee producer in the world. For more than 150years now, Brazil has only 27,000 square km they used to grow coffee beans.
A bean is a kind of seed. Beans are seeds, but seeds are not always beans. The fact that coffee plant seeds are called coffee beans does not mean they are beans in the real sense. Take this away as a coffee lover who knows more about their daily dose of caffeine!