Coffee has become an integral part of our daily lives. Even in 2015, Indonesia became the third largest coffee producing country in the world. Unfortunately, Indonesia’s understanding of coffee is far from enough. Many of us do not understand yet, what is coffee? Coffee is actually a shrub that can only grow in the tropics with an altitude of 700-1600. The average coffee tree grows between 2-6 meters and begins to bear fruit at the age of 3-5 years. Coffee tree flowers smell nice and takes 9 months until the fruit is cooked and ready to pick. A healthy coffee tree can be 50-60 years old, even some coffee trees are still productive at the age of 100 years!
There are over 120 species of coffee that have been successfully recorded, mostly by the Royal Botanic Gardens in England. Of the 120 species, only coffea arabica (arabica coffee) and Coffea canephora (robusta coffee) are widely grown for commercial purposes. Arabica is widely grown because of its delicious and high price. While robusta planted because of strong pest attacks.
The grapes are shaped like grapes, but with thinner flesh and larger seeds. When cooked, the coffee fruit is red and tastes very sweet because the sugar content reaches its maximum point. In theory, the more sugar in the coffee, the more tasty the coffee tastes. But many coffee producers are mixing the maturity level of the coffee fruit to get a more complex flavor. As long as not too ripe or rotten, coffee fruit has its own distinctive flavor.
Coffee is dicoty plant, which means there are 2 pieces of seed in 1 coffee. When the coffee is still young, both seeds are equally round. The older, as it shares the available space, the shape of the coffee beans turns to sprawl. Sometimes, there is a “greedy” seed that takes its twin share. Commonly known as pea berry, the single seed remains round and is believed to have a richer taste because it absorbs more gene. With a percentage of about 3-5% of the final harvest, no wonder pea berry prices are much more expensive than normal seed prices.
Once harvested, the coffee fruit passes through the next stage of stripping. Peeling aims to remove all four layers of coffee beans to get clean coffee beans ready for further processing. In general, there are 3 methods of stripping coffee that is the process of peel dry (natural), the process of wet (full washed), and semi-wet process with various variations derived (honey process, wet rollers, natural pulped, etc.). Peel process also determines the final taste of a cup of coffee.
Coffee beans that have been peeled and rested then ready for roasting. Different types of coffee, different roasted levels are used. Some types of coffee emit a sense of maximum when roasted with medium to dark levels. But there are also many good coffee beans with roasted light to medium level. Understanding and roaster experience greatly determines the quality of roasted coffee
After roasted, then coffee can be ground and finally brewed. How to brew also varied, ranging from tubruk, pour over, to espresso. At this stage, the selection of beans, roasting profiles, and brewing tools used must have an effect on taste. Do not let coffee that has passed long stages starting from planting, harvesting, stripping, and roasting can not produce maximum results due to unfavorable brewing methods.
If calculated, it takes at least 6 months since the coffee is harvested until it is ready to be served as a cup of delicious coffee. Unlike common understanding, not just baristas are involved in the coffee presentation process. Starting from farmers, roasters, even Q graders come to deliver coffee to our table. So it would not be ethical if we too quickly give bad value just because the coffee presented is not as expected.