Coffee production

Coffee. One of the few products that almost everyone in the world knows. The only psychoactive product that is not illegal in any country or religion. The easiest way of pumping a big amount of antioxidants into your blood. Worldwide the second biggest trade product (only oil is being more traded) and most importantly: my all-time favorite drink!

Let’s talk about the magic beans. You might know that there are two kinds of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica beans are the most common, about 70% of the worldwide coffee production is of this variety. They are quite creamy, soft and have rich, sweet tones. They are mostly produced in South and Central America at an altitude between 1000 and 2000 metres. Robusta mostly grows in Africa and Asia and has a stronger flavour. Because of that it’s perfect for making instant coffee, but that’s also why most people prefer Arabica beans. In (cheaper) filter coffee, it is common to have a mixture of the two. You can check your own package for the ingredients!

I got to visit a traditional farm in Providencia in Costa Rica, which is known as one of the areas with the best coffee in the world! And this is what the process looks like:

The cherry-like berries are hand-picked and then dried. The best way to do that is to let them dry by the warmth of the sun for a few weeks, but a cheaper and faster way is to industrially heat them. After this, the peels are removed and the beans are toasted. This part of the process is crucial for the quality. Because of the heat, the sugar caramelizes and the darker (longer toasting) the beans get, the more intense the coffee flavor is.

Once the beans are pulverized, its surface is way bigger. And because of that, it easily oxidizes. This is a disaster for the taste, you really don’t want that to happen! Luckily for you, you read this blog and know that you should always keep your coffee air-tight, under a stable humidity and – if you grind the beans yourself – only mill as much as you need for that serving.

The process and harvesting are labor-intensive and mostly in the hands of only a few big companies. Fortunately, more and more small initiatives have emerged in recent years. Therefore the farmers get a fair price and the product is handled with even more care.

A big thank you to Edventure Travel Costa Rica, a Dutch travel agency, specialized in authentic and rural destinations. They gave me the opportunity to visit the farm and learn more about this precious product.

Well, I’m going to make myself a nice ‘bakkie pleur’. What is your favorite kind of coffee?

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Article written by Marieke Schouten

Photography and videography: Marieke Schouten Media

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