11.2 – Processing The Coffee Bean

There are different methods and techniques that are involved in coffee production. I will just describe the basic way the beans are made into our lovely coffee drink.

Natural Process: Also called dry processing, this is the oldest method. The coffee beans, which are sometimes called coffee berries, are left in the sun to ferment, and then the fruity pulp is removed. The beans absorb sugars from the fruit during the process, so naturally processed coffees are often sweeter. This is also the most challenging method to control because the cherries can rot in the sun if not maintained and look after carefully.

Washed Process: With the wet method or wet processing, the fruit is removed from the beans before fermentation. The coffee is much more consistent and has a cleaner taste.

Roasting: The next step in the production of coffee is roasting the bean, turning it from Green to Brown Coffee Bean that we know and love. Roasting the coffee gives it the rich brown colour you recognize from the local cafe. Roasting makes the coffee more soluble, so you can extract all its complex flavours when it’s ground and brewed.

The flavour of a roast depends on the length of time and temperature at the time of roasting. Light roasted beans still taste mainly like the original, with fruity flavour. Medium roast coffees take on some flavours of caramelization from the longer roasting process. The last process is called the dark roast coffees and it gets much of its characteristics from the long roasting time.

Brewing Coffee: There are many ways and methods of brewing coffee. Plus, the new ones that are popping all the time! But at their core, they all do the same thing by grinding the roasted beans before extracting the coffee liquid. The finer the ground coffee beans, the faster you can extract the coffee liquid. That’s why you need finely ground coffee to get quick shot of espresso into your cup.

Instant Coffee: is made by taking regular brewed coffee and dehydrating it to a powder, which you can do through freeze-drying or other methods. It can be chemically treated to dissolve quickly in the cup. Instant coffee is not designed for reading the cup as it is made to dissolve completely and leave no residue in the cup.

Other Ingredients: Other raw materials such as frothing or cold milk and sugar can also be used in preparing the coffee. From the humble home kitchen coffee percolator to the baristas and expensive coffee machines and infusers in the cafes and restaurants, coffee drinks can be made many ways.