Coffee beans

The most famous coffee bean, the arabica, comes in various flavors, such as Santos, Columbia,Mokka, Kenya Peaberry, Kilimanjaro or Java – to name a few.

The coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee berry. Most types of coffee plants produce berries with two seeds in each berry – but the Kenya Peaberry for example, has just one bean in each berry.

When the berries are ripe they are harvested. But before getting to the coffee beans, the skin, berry pulp, a protective parchment and finally a silver skin need to be removed. A lot of work before the small green coffee beans are ready for roasting and served in gourmet restaurants around the world.

There are two ways to remove the pulp berry – and this needs to be done as soon as possible after harvesting the berries, to prevent the pulp from fermenting.

Dry processing, sometimes called natural processing, involves leaving the cherries outside for 2 to 3 weeks.  After the cherries are dried out, the pulp and parchment is removed by machine or by hand. The berries are turned over periodically to prevent mildew amongst others.

Wet, or washed processing involves using a lot of water. One advantage is that unripe berries floats up whereas good ripe berries will sink. The berries are cleansed of the pulp and after some time only the parchment and silver skin remain. The berries must be dried out before those can be removed.

Before the beans are roasted, they are sorted, where the quality can depend on a mix of bean-density, size and color.