This is the story of how the humble coffee becomes a world celebrity. It's not about the Labrador named Coffee Beans attached to the Sheriff's Department sniffing drugs and bombs. It's about "the" coffee beans we are familiar with. It's about the fragrant aroma that stimulates our senses in the morning. The tingling sensation we get when we take the first sip in the morning. How we manage to get an extra boost of energy whenever we feel tired and sleepy. Let us take some time to ponder the processes the coffee beans have to go through before it can be marketed.
Processing The Coffee Beans After the coffee berries have been harvested, it needs to undergo a process where the flesh of the coffee berries is removed. The coffee berries are placed in special machines separating the flesh from the seed. This coffee seed is commonly called "coffee beans". The coffee beans will now undergo a fermentation process for a period of time. This process is done in order to remove the slimy mucilage coating the coffee beans.After the coffee beans have undergone the mandatory fermentation, they are thoroughly flushed with clean water. This process is to remove the foul smelling residue due to the fermentation process and the waste water is a main cause of pollutant. The coffee beans are then dried under the sun or by machines, until the moisture level is about 10% before they can be packed for storage.Another method of getting to the coffee beans without undergoing the fermentation process is to dry the whole berry in the sun. It normally takes about 10 to 14 days to complete the process with constant raking of the coffee beans to prevent mildew from forming. This method is popular and widely used by coffee producers where water is scarce. The dried flesh is then physically removed leaving only the coffee beans.The dried coffee beans is then sorted and graded before they can be stored or shipped to buyers. At this stage, the coffee bean is called green coffee beans.Sometimes the coffee beans will undergo an additional aging process. The reason for this is because when coffee was first introduced into Europe, the coffee beans have undergone a journey of about six months. Europeans have already developed a preference for this taste and therefore to simulate the taste, the coffee beans are further aged.Roasting The Coffee BeansRoasting is the final process the coffee beans have to undergo before they are commercially marketed. It is also possible to purchase un-roasted coffee beans that you can personally roast them yourself.When the coffee beans are subjected to heat, there's a chemical reaction happening within the coffee beans where the sugar and acid will begin to react releasing its aroma. The coffee beans will turn darker due to caramelized sucrose. When this happens, the coffee beans are quickly cooled to prevent damage to the coffee beans.When roasting the green coffee beans, a lot of carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. The carbon dioxide helps to "seal" the coffee beans from loosing its flavor and aroma. Depending on how the coffee beans are stored, it may take some time before the optimum peak flavor. After reaching its peak, it will start loosing its flavor again.If you are trying to roast your own coffee beans at home, be aware that you may not be successful during the first few times. You might over-burn your coffee beans during your first few tries. Never be discouraged, but try until you get the taste and flavor that appeals to you. Remember to process in small amounts to maintain freshness of your coffee.Back in the mid-80s (yikes, was it really 20 years ago?), I was a young teacher working in New Orleans. To earn extra money, I worked part time across the street from my Magazine Street apartment, at PJ's Coffee and Tea. Having grown up on instant Maxwell House, I was not the most coffee-savvy drinker in the world.In the days before Starbucks, before coffee houses became trendy and common, I learned the basics about roasting coffee beans and serving coffee from experts. I learned about coffee's origins, roasting methods, and how to prepare the ultimate cup. In my opinion, the best cup of coffee can only be made with a French press, a glass carafe in which you mix ground coffee, boiling water, and use a simple plunger-press device to push the grounds to the bottom when you want to serve the coffee. This is the best way to make coffee because you don't "cook" the coffee as you would in a drip machine. Cooking coffee releases its acidity and makes it bitter. I was so in love with my French press, I used to bring it on camping trips. There's nothing quite like rolling out of your tent in the woods at dawn, wrapping your cold hands around a warm cup (not a paper cup, perish the thought!) and sipping slowly as you tend the fire for your morning breakfast.I might also argue that the cold drip method is up there with the French press. This method produces a coffee concentrate that you can keep in your fridge, but it's slow and I believe best suited for iced coffee, which is how I learned it at PJs.Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-drip or anti-percolator. Heavens, no! For large scale convenience, there's nothing like machinery. I own a drip coffee maker and a Krups cappucino/espresso maker and use them frequently. When I'm bolting out the door in the morning, I fill my metal thermal mug (never plastic, ick!) with a dark, rich French roast. If it's a particularly good roast, I drink it black so as not to sully the flavor. If it's mediocre or I'm just in the mood for light coffee, I use Half-and-Half. No sugar in my coffee, thank you. My husband uses skim milk which upsets me to no end because it produces a grayish colored murky coffee I find unappealling. But hey, he likes it and as long as he knows never to use skim milk in MY coffee, we're cool.Now about those flavored coffees...I often take flack for this, but let me say I am vehemently opposed to flavored coffee. Coffee IS a flavor, so adding additional flavor to it is like adding ice cubes and club soda to a pricey bottle of merlot. How would you possibly appreciate the personality of a bottle of wine if you added extra stuff to it? You'd change the entire personality of something elegant and simple and make it complicated and confusing. With coffee, as with many foods and drinks, simplicity is elegant.Back in my coffee house days, we did not serve flavored coffees. We offered a dark roast, a medium roast, and a water-processed decaf to our customers along with an assortment of fresh baked goods, made from scratch by local bakers. We believed flavored coffees were just wrong because they covered up the true essence and beauty of the bean. Plus they weren't popular then. I know they are popular now. The rows of syrupy flavors in bottles lined up in some coffee bars are testimony to the popularity of flavored coffee. I'll pass, thank you.To eat or not to eat with coffee? Again, keep it simple. Toast or an English muffin and a steaming cup of java comprise the ultimate breakfast. A medium roast in the afternoon with fresh biscotti is heaven. A demi-tasse of dark espresso with the tiniest slice of lemon rubbed around the edge of the cup allows me to linger and enjoy the afterglow of a perfect meal.Ahhh, did I mention shortbread and coffee? Always appreciated, always appropriate, a wedge of Vermont Shortbread with your coffee is the ultimate in luxury and pampering. It's probably not something you'd eat every day, but for those times when you want to practice extra self-care, why not enjoy your coffee with the most elegant and simple of all cookies, shortbread?When food and drink are pure, simple, and flavorful without being contrived, you will want to savor them slowly and purposefully. You will want to sit quietly with your steaming cup and your snack with your eyes gently closed and allow flavors, aroma, and warmth to dance their slow, sensual dance of comfort and nurturing. And guess what? The world feels a whole lot friendlier when you take the time to enjoy the simple beauty in your bean...or in whatever you're eating and drinking.Ann Zuccardy, creative entrepreneur, food lover and owner of the Vermont Shortbread Company, invites you to sample a taste of her buttery-rich, authentic Vermont Shortbread. Place your online order for shortbread boxed fresh from the oven and shipped right to your doorstep at Shortbread.comWe are aware of scores of different anti-aging formulae. To add to the extensive list comes our friend, the green coffee bean extract. But what is green coffee bean extract? The usual coffee powder that we find is the coffee powder prepared after roasting green coffee beans. The extract is extracted from green coffee bean at 70° C for 2 hours using 70% ethanol. The green coffee bean extract is a light to dark yellowish brown hygroscopic powder, rich in several polyphenols called hydroxycinnamic acids, of which the two prominent acids are chlorogenic and caffeic acids. Green coffee bean extract is touted for its anti-oxidant, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity properties. Let's have a look at the different ways in which this green coffee extract benefits the human body.Anti-aging Benefits The chlorogenic acids present in the green coffee bean is an antioxidant, which means it destroys the free radicals formed in the body, as a result of metabolism. These free radicals if left as they are, destroy cell membranes and conduce to symptoms of aging. By destroying these harmful free radicals, green coffee bean extract actually slows down the onset of aging. Test results also show that green coffee extract has double the rate of oxygen radicals absorbing capacity, as compared to grape seed or green tea extract. Read more on antioxidants in coffee. Reduce Blood Pressure Animal research reveals that chlorogenic acids present in the extract also help alleviate high blood pressure levels. Based on this finding, further research was conducted on humans. The one month experiment done on people with mild hypertension showed that consumption of green coffee extract supplements were seen to have their high blood pressure levels lowered. When taken at a dose of 185 mg, the extract was most effective in treating hypertension. Thus, this extract is helpful in treating hypertension.Promotes Weight Loss Scientist Hiroshi Shimoda and his team from Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical Company (Japan) in their research on green coffee bean extract found that green coffee bean extract promotes weight loss. This weight loss is due to two chemical compounds naturally present in the green coffee beans. Because these coffee beans are unroasted, they have not lost their natural chemicals, which are otherwise lost after roasting. These natural chemicals are caffeine and chlorogenic acid, which together conduce to weight loss. The caffeine from the coffee releases fatty acids from stored body fat, while the chlorogenic acid assists the liver in processing the fatty acids more efficiently, thereby resulting in weight loss. Shimoda continues to state that; "If a human consumes one kilogram per day of food (2.2 pounds) containing 10 grams (.35 ounce) of green coffee bean extract for 14 days, the increase in body weight may be suppressed by 35 percent." Boosts Metabolism The green coffee bean extract boosts metabolism by altering the way in which glucose is absorbed in the body. The caffeic acids act as stimulants and boost the energy levels. Then again, since this green bean has not been boiled, it lacks cafestol, which is a diterpene, which would have otherwise increased levels of bad cholesterol or LDL. This green coffee bean extract is safe and till today, there have been no reports of any adverse reactions to this extract. However, to be on the safer side, pregnant and breastfeeding women, young children and people with kidney and liver issues should refrain from taking this green coffee extract.