Fun fact: coffee beans aren’t actually beans at all, they’re seeds. The world’s most beloved “bean”, consumed by over two and a half billion times a day, is the seed of a cherry-like fruit that grows best in very specific regions throughout the tropics. And, until recently, the fruit itself was widely considered to be a by-product destined for little more than being turned into fertilizer.
Enter the paper filter in 1908. Invented by a German housewife, Melitta Bentz, this new method of filtration would soon become the most popular method of all. Bentz thought up the idea as a solution to bitter taste produced by boiling coffee and using the linen filters of the day. The paper drip filtration system avoided earlier issues of over extraction and the material naturally removed diterpenes present in the coffee, making for a cleaner and less oily taste.
For many people, coffee is a tasty caffeine tonic which makes facing the day a little easier. However, a little further up the supply chain, coffee lives an entirely different existence; that of a commodity oft-traded on international stock exchanges whose global export value is in excess of $20 billion USD. In this blog post, we explore this global commercial life of coffee.
Some of the most common questions we get from our customers here at Café Altura are about coffee grinding, specifically, what grind setting to use when brewing. We’ve explored the concept of grind size distributions and the importance of a good grinder in a previous post, but today I’d like to dive a little deeper into the specifics of why using different grind sizes for different brewing methods matters.
Almost since the origins of agriculture, farmers have sought to improve the efficiency and resilience of their crops. In years with less rain, or in areas with poor soil quality, a resilient seed and plant could make the difference between a decent harvestand a non-existent one.
One of the first steps many coffee enthusiasts take when looking to improve their home-brewed coffee is to start buying whole beans and grinding them at home themselves. While this is certainly the best way to achieve the freshest and most flavorful product at home, it does mean there are some new factors to consider. Since coffee particle size and consistency are paramount to brewing a good cup of coffee, a grinder can either help or inhibit this quest.
Coffee beans are a particularly tricky crop to grow and harvest. Their need for such precise weather and soil conditions mean they can only grow at large scale in a few places throughout the world. Within the belt the climate and production differences from region to region can lead to a wide range of final products. This variety is what makes enjoying coffee from throughout the world a never ending adventure and one we’re glad to be a part of at Cafe Altura.
Every day over 27,000 tons of coffee are consumed worldwide in all manner of ways. For some it’s a way of socializing with friends, for others it’s a customary part of a meal and for many it’s a core part of their morning routine. Though rectal cleansing has been practiced since the times of the Ancient Egyptians, this specific iteration of the protocol was popularized in the early 1900’s by Dr. Max Gerson.
Roast profiling is a multifaceted and complex process, and in describing how we make use of both the properties of individual green coffees and the roasting process, I hope to give you a deeper understanding of the processes which lead to the delicious coffee in your cup.
In previous blog posts, I have spent a good amount of time explaining Café Altura’s green coffee scoring system, as well as some of the physical characteristics of a coffee we consider while evaluating it for purchase. Today, I’m going to dig a little bit deeper into these topics and give you a direct window into the way we buy green coffee at Café Altura.