Saturday, March 1, 2008

coffee glossary

this will grow as the blog grows. remember this is an unprofessional study - so expect simple unprofessional definitions.

cherry. the coffee fruit when it is ripe. depending upon the variety the fruit will be bright red or deep to pale yellow. the taste is similar to a cherry - but less complex - more like a simple burst of sugar and sweet flesh. the bean inside the fruit is what gets thrown in the roaster. each cherry includes two regular beans or one peaberry.

washed coffee. coffee that is run through a wet mill, removing the fruit and leaving just the bean and a thin skin of parchment. washed coffees generally sell for more money - and offer up cleaner sometimes less interesting flavors - however the wet process generally increases desired acidity.

natural coffee. the traditional method - no wet mill - the fruit is left on the tree until it dries around the bean - the result is a black orb the size of a plump raisin - these coffees take longer to dry - and often yield more exotic flavors, but if processed incorrectly can lead to harsh off-tastes. 

drying porch. an expanse of cement or dirt or... where both natural and washed coffees are dried. the beans need to be constantly raked to ensure proper drying.

the process. simple but also complex. coffee is picked - wet processed or dry processed (natural) - both types of coffee then require 1 -4 days of porch or mechanical drying - beans are then milled once again removing the parchment that surrounds the bean - the coffee is then sorted and graded - then exported (or distributed in country) - and finally roasted, ground and consumed.

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