Some words are close to our heart, while some foods are close to our soul. Whenever we taste them, smell them or think about them we travel to a far-far world. One such beverage or drink is coffee, we cannot live without coffee, we cannot think without coffee, and whenever we need a perfect brewed coffee there is only a single place. The landscapes of southern India where trees of coffee beans stand, the smell of freshly roasted coffee just enters your nostrils and leaves you awestruck. For those of you who think that they understand coffee very well, no my friend to truly understand that drink you have to travel back in time. So, are you ready for a journey to coffee land and through the process of How Is Coffee Made.
History of Coffee | How Is Coffee Made
Coffea arabica originated in Ethiopia. The coffee plantation is done at latitudes 1300 to 2000m. There is another coffee plant coffea canephora (Robusta Coffee) which is widely dispersed in African tropical environment which is grown at latitudes below 1000m. A hot summer day in seventeenth century when coffee was first brought to Europe. With the entry of coffee in Europe a era of drinking ended. People instead of taking beer breaks started taking coffee breaks and soon with more and more research in coffee it became as one of the most popular drinks.
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The coffee was discovered in Ethiopia. And the Arabs were the first one to identify this delicacy and use it. Once upon a time an Arab trader saw that his goats were happy after eating a red bean, he took those beans and ate them. These beans helped him to stay awake for a longer period of time. Then he took these beans to a monastery and the monks used these beans to stay awake during the prayers.
In 1600’s the first European coffee house was opened which was just the beginning and was followed by numerous coffee houses in England (1652), Paris (1672), Vienna (1675), Berlin (1721). Till the time coffee got popular people have started refining it, filtering out the grounds, sweetening it, and adding a dash of milk.
Coffee is the only beverage created a mark in the history with the Bostin Tea Party which makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America. After that the first decaffeinated coffee was invented in Germany. Today coffee is a widely consumed beverage all over the world and can be made just in few seconds. There have been huge technological advancements in coffee vending machines.
Types of Coffee
- Boiled Coffee: It was an early preparation method. In this coffee plus, water mixture is boiled for 10 minutes. And it is then poured in the cup, the grounds settle down and the coffee can be consumed.
- Filter Coffee: Hot boiling water is poured into a filter containing coffee. The grounds remain in the filter, and the coffee is obtained as filtrate.
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- Espresso: It is prepared by a specialised machine. The extraction of a shot of espresso is obtained at a high pressure for a short time and a layer of cream is obtained on the top.
- Moka (Mocha)
Coffee Processing | How Is Coffee Made
Coffee is a simple product, its production from the bean to cup is a complex task involving many steps. There has been quite a research going in this field to achieve the desired quality, taste, flavour, and physical properties of the final product.
Cultivation and Harvesting
The processing of coffee starts with the cultivation of coffee beans. The seeds of coffee or beans are carried by a fruit which is called cherry. The common methods to separate the seeds with cherries are known as dry processing, semidry processing, and wet processing. One of the major concerns is the amount of pesticides in the coffee beans. Although, several standards have been set for the pesticides level but in various regions they have proves insignificant.
To minimize the formation of mycotoxins such as ochratoxin A, mold growth should be controlled throughout the coffee production and processing.
Blending is one of the very important steps in the coffee production. It influences the chemical composition of the final product. Robusta beans tend to contain higher levels of caffeine and chlorogenic acids than the Arabica beans; however, within each species there is considerable variation. Hence, this is used to make blends which have more caffeine content or less caffeine content etc.
Altogether there have been steps to genetically modify trees to produce beans with less caffeine content.
Roasting is considered the magic step of coffee production. It is this stage which gives coffee its aroma, texture and other significant chemical changes. The major reaction happening during coffee roasting is Malliard reaction and oxidative polymerization or degradation of phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds in coffee include chlorogenic acids, which exert broad physiologic actions including anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.
Trigonelline, is the second most important alkaloid of coffee after caffeine is partially degraded during roasting. Animal trials have shown that it degrades producing other bioactive compounds such niacin and N-methylpyridinium. This compound N-methylpyridinium activated endogenous antioxidant defence system.
Niacin which is also a degradation product in roasting of coffee is almost 1 mg to 3 mg in an average cup of coffee which varies from light to dark roast beans. According to report by EFSA there are several physiologic benefits of niacin. It helps in reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
In addition, there are several unavoidable compounds formed during roasting. One such compound is acrylamide which is formed in the starting of the roasting but is partially broken down later. Acrylamide is considered genotoxic and carcinogenic. Another such compound is Furan, which is also formed during roasting. This is primarily a cytotoxic compound which targets liver.
Grinding is not done immediately after roasting. First the coffee beans are allowed to cool down. During grinding there is loss of volatile aroma compounds including furan. Smaller the grinding sizes more the furan losses.
Packaging and Storage: Packaging and storage is the last stage of process which causes very little effect on the bioactive compounds of coffee. However, the acrylamide content decreases during storage.
Decaffeinated coffee is produced by extracting caffeine from the coffee, so that it does not create that stimulating effect in the body of the consumer. This type of coffee is preferred by the people who have coffee in the afternoon and do not want that agitated or nervous feeling. Pregnancy or certain diseases and health conditions are other reasons that decaffeinated coffee may be preferred. The main methods of extraction are:
- Organic Solvent (dichloromethane or methyl acetate)
- Super critical Carbon Dioxide
According to the European regulations the dry matter that is the extract should not contain more than 3g/kg caffeine. And after roasting the caffeine should not be more than 1g/kg.
How Is Coffee Made