How Coffee is Made

All coffee making starts with the green coffee bean. When the beans are picked they go through a screening process to eliminate those that are not quite ripe or large enough. Machines remove the flesh from the berries to reveal the seeds. Then the seeds go through a fermenting process to remove any material that may still be on them. After this they are washed with liberal amounts of water to remove any remaining residue. Finally, they are dried, sorted and labeled as green coffee beans.

The next stage in making coffee is to roast the beans. This is an important part of the process because it influences how the final product will taste. As the beans are roasted they become smaller due to the loss of moisture. The starting temperature should be about 200ºC. During the roasting, the beans begin to caramelize as the heat starts to break down the starches. The oils and acids in the beans start to weaken, which affects the taste. At the same time, other oils start to develop. One of these is caffeol, which is what gives coffee its taste and aroma.

After roasting, beans are classified according to their color – light, medium and dark and variants in between. Light roasted beans contain the most caffeine, have a more bitter taste and have a stronger flavor. Dark roasted beans have a more aromatic flavour, have less fiber content and have a sweeter taste. There will still be some chaff among the beans at this stage but air movement over the beans helps to remove most of this. Some of the beans may undergo a decaffination process to produce decaffeinated coffee.

The coffee beans are then stored in air tight cool compartments to preserve their taste and sold. They must be ground before being used to brew coffee, and this can be done in a roastery, in a supermarket or even at home. The coffee you usually buy at the supermarket has already been ground by machine. The roasteries buy the roasted beans, grind them them and repackage them under different brand names to be sold in stores.