Thursday, August 30, 2007

Everything about COFFEE

I do heart coffee. If you get interested to read this post, perhaps you are too! The mushrooming of café and coffee shops and the birth of enormous coffee products are living proofs of its growing market. It is now one of the most wanted drinks in all age segments. Yes, young and adults alike. Today, drinking coffee at a very young age is no longer taboo. In fact, scenes of bonding parents and kids frequent cafés. Other than that, isn't it interesting how coffee is personified in many different ways and positioned in most inviting views? Think of a warm conversation between husband and wife over a cup of coffee. Think of connecting with friends, meeting new people or doing business. All things important to us, we frequently do with coffee around. Thus far, it's no longer just a drink made more readily available, it's already a lifestyle. So, here are some of the bits and pieces behind that delightful cup of coffee...
Is there really something good in coffee? Yes, definitely! It keeps you awake, perk up your mood and boost that much needed energy. But what is well noted in many researches is it's being a major source of disease fighting antioxidants. In fact, it's known to be better than black tea.

How is coffee consumed nowadays? From plain and simple black coffee to the most complex flavor profiles, the choices are simply amazing. There's an INSTANT which, is usually in powdered form positioned as something easy to prepare. Grab a mug or cup, just add hot water, stir and it's ready to be sipped. Ready to drink (RTD) coffee, normally in liquid form packed in tin cans. Japan recently made it available also in bottles. As the product name implies, it's something ready to drink anytime, anywhere. Simply the right choice for people on the go. Brewed or machine pressed coffee is prepared at home or in coffee shops by filtering the ground coffee with hot water in coffee machines. It can also be infused by steeping in boiling water which, is the traditional way of preparing coffee. In brewed coffee you get to enjoy the coffee's fresh aroma and taste. This café kind of coffee commonly offers a lot of flavors and mostly appeals to the more adventurous market.

What are the different types of coffee beans? There are generally 4 kinds of coffee beans. Arabica, is believed to be the superior grade coffee bean that boasts of more subtle, delicate flavor and aroma. It is produced in the highlands thus, the most expensive variety as well. Robusta, is bolder than Arabica. It's caffeine content is twice as the former and the flavor is also stronger. In contrast to Arabica, it is grown in the lowlands. This kind of bean provides higher yield in farming that's why it's the preferred raw material for most instant and commercial blends. Liberica, is the most popular variety in the Philippines known by many as "Kapeng Barako". It's called as such due to the large size of berry fruit produced by the tree. It has a very strong taste and aroma especially when consumed "black" that is, no milk nor creamer added. Excelsa, is another favorite by commercial manufacturers. It exhibits similar properties with that of Robusta only it has the ditinguishing characters of smoky and earthly notes. Most coffee manufacturers blend these different types of beans to come up with more varied flavors and taste.

How is the coffee bean processed? The way coffee bean is handled greatly affects its quality. Whether the coffee will deliver better taste, sweet, caramelic and more lasting aroma, it will depend on all these. Generally, it starts with harvesting. Essentially, when this is done the fruit should be of the right maturity. Then followed by sorting where good quality ones are preferred. Afterwards the berry fruit will undergo pulping to remove the pulp and other parchment. This process can be done in two ways either wet (water washing) or dry (sun or machine drying). Water washing is believed to be better because it causes less damage to the bean than the later. For a more detailed comparison, read here. Subsequently, grading will determine the value of the bean. Last but certainly not the least, roasting. This is the most important process for this will determine the degree of taste from mildest (light roast) to strongest (dark roast). The lower the time and temperature parameters used in roasting, the milder it will be and vice versa. Most flavor oils and extracts are likewise incorporated in this stage to produce the flavored coffee bean.

Who are the world's biggest coffee producer? There's an article that says coffee growers are far more important than coffee makers. Wouldn't you agree? Although coffee originated from Ethiopia, countries that topped the list of coffee growers are Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia and Mexico. In Asia, Vietnam is an emerging big producer too. Don't you wish the Philippines be included in this list? I don't believe our most treasured "Barako" brand will fail in comparison alongside other world brands. What's more with the up and coming of Coffee Alamid? There's no better time to reinvent and develop our coffee industry than now!

2 comments:

ScroochChronicles said...

I am a Kapeng Barako fan. I love the lingering smell it leaves. Among the "instant" varieties, I like Folgers. I usually have my coffee black but I liked the way they prepared it at Kopi Roti (with condensada).

dexie said...

hi! i'm dexie!

currently i'm doing my FS, and this article about coffee gave me some useful information! thanks!