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  • Writer's pictureFemme Café

The facts of coffee beans

Hello! I am Kobayashi, a second- year student of the Faculty of Japan studies in TUFS.

Before getting down to the main subject, I guess you may be tired for this currently situation. I feel loneliness because I cannot meet my friends directly while all things shift to digitalization. But there are some moments that I can still feel happy in such an abnormal time. One of those is the moment to drink coffee. I am a coffee beginner, but I love the time to enjoy coffee at my home. I think that most of you reading our blog understand me.

Therefore, I am going to write about “COFFEE” in this time. Yes, coffee. You may think that it is not strange that I write about coffee because this is a blog of Femme café, or you would rather think I should do it. I think so too. Anyway, I intended to write about cultivation of coffee at first, but I just remembered that I had some questions about coffee beans, so I am going to write “the reason why coffee is beans”, “the growing areas of coffee” and “the ways how coffee beans are changed into a cup of coffee and supplied for customers.”

So, why coffee is bean? I researched and found out some facts. First, I looked up in the encyclopedia. According to that, “bean” is “a genetic term of edible seeds of Leguminosae or young fruits” or “small and round things such as coffee beans.” Due to this definition, it found out that coffee beans are not “beans” in the natural meaning. That is because coffee beans are seeds of coffee tree that is “Rubiaceae”. Moreover, the coffee beans that we usually see are roasted. Coffee beans are dried at the beginning and roasted next.

Next, we are going to focus on growing areas of coffee beans.

When you asked about country famous for its production of coffee beans, which country do you come up with? It might be Ethiopia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Colombia or perhaps Rwanda(!). As Yosui Inoue sings “southern passionate aroma” in “Coffee Rumba”, coffee beans are grown in countries with a warm climate. More specifically, the area which lies between latitude 25°north and south latitude, and whose annual rainfall is 1600mm~1800mm, average temperature is 18~25℃ is the ideal environment in making coffee beans. Those areas are called “the coffee belt.” I actually did not know these specific conditions, and also it is said that those conditions could varies from the types of coffee beans. There is still a lot to know! ;)

Lastly, we are going to look at how coffee beans are changed into a cup of coffee and supplied for customers. The process differs from the region, but today we will talk about the popular one called “washed”.

Step 1: Coffee tree blooms and bears red fruit. (the photo down below)

You might think it looks like cherry. That’s right. The fruit of coffee tree is also called “coffee cherry” for it is similar to cherries in its shape and color. Coffee cherry is originally green, but it becomes red in almost 8 months. It is quite difficult to imagine this red cute cherry from raw or roasted beans that we usually see, right?

(I talked about fruit of coffee tree pretty too much though...)

and then,

Step 2: Ripen coffee cherry is picked one by one through human hands. After the pulp of coffee cherry is removed, coffee cherry is changed into “parchment coffee”.

Step 3: Soak and ferment parchment coffee in the water. After it is dried and threshed, finally raw coffee beans are made. However, it is not the end.

Step 4: Next, those raw beans are going to be checked by the eyes of both human and machine. Defective products cannot pass this stage. In addition, each coffee farm test its taste or flavor. Through those severe check, only beans that passed all the process are shipped and transported to many countries around the world, including Japan.

This is the process of making coffee beans. You might notice that just one cup of coffee we drink has a background of many work and costs. From now on, I think I need to be thankful for people at coffee farms and coffee itself.

It is the end of today’s blog. Thank you for reading, and take care!

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