by Eduardo Matos
Let’s remember that coffee is member of the Rubiaceae family of plants, which has 500 genders, and 8.000 species, the most known species are arabica, canephora, excelsa and liberica, being the first two mentioned the 95% of worldwide production. It is important pointing out that there are differences among the quality, caffeine concentration and taste of cup made from arabica and canephora, one is grown for the quality and the other for the quality of the yield. Daniel Sudar, having a lot of expertise as chef is aware that coffee is one little but important joy of living, for that reason, his brand offers products 100% Arabica beans, offering to the costumers a pleasant aroma and taste, with the particular touch of different regions around the world.
Coffee Origin and short historical review
Once upon a time, Kaldi, a shepherd from the former kingdom of Kaffa (Ethiopia), was wondering about why some of his goat were acting with more energy than usually while pastoring in specific areas, because he was curious and had free time, he followed the goats and found they were eating the red fruits from some bushes that nobody paid ever attention. Then he ate the fruits and started to feel the same effects that he saw in the goats and shared his experience with the people of the village. This is one of the more known legends that try to describe how the coffee and its effects over the mind were discovered. By sure, we know that the people from the Abisinian region in the current Ethiopia were the “Oromos” were the first population in that consumed coffee Leaves and beans as part of their daily costumes by toasting and grinding them and adding salt, sugar or animal fat into the dark liquid;, then the Arabs populations in Yemen established the first commercial plantations, introducing it in the Arab world in XIV century, as the French researcher A. Chevalier mentions in 1929 in his book: “Les cafeiers du globe”.
Around 500 years, the Arabs monopolized the coffee economy, even boiling the seeds before sell then to other places to avoid the possibility of somebody growing coffee somewhere else through “the silk route”, a route that was used for trading between the north of Africa, Europe and Asia.
Naturally, coffee spreads to more countries over the years, leading to the appearance of the first “Coffee shop” in 1475 in Constantinople, called Kiva Han. Historically, this sort of places would become points for debate and discussion of social and religious topics, naturally this would also one of the reasons why coffee shops and coffee consumption were subject to restrictions from religious and political authorities many times across the periods. By the XVIII century, all the major European cities had a coffee shop.
Coffee crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1650; the major documented coffee shop in the States was opened in Boston in 1689, roasting coffee mostly from the West Indians Company, from their plantations in India and Africa. Meanwhile, in central and South America, coffee arrived around 1720-1730, by the hand of merchant, slaves and religious groups, slowly replacing cocoa as the major economic crop in the region. Back in the States, coffee was gaining relatively good acceptance among the population of the colony, but it was after the events of the “Tea Party” of Boston in 1773, the starting of the independence movements, that coffee consumption increased dramatically, even being a symbol of protest against England. Since then, around the world coffee was turning into a huge economic force, even passing to form part of the stock market in Wall Street, along the gold, the cupper, and later the oil.
Coffee grows in humid and tropical weather conditions worldwide, being a highly value source of profit for people from developing countries. Over the time, while growing and producing the coffee, traditions were created and passed through generations, lets now to learn more about the steps related to plant production:
First, we must to pick the fruits of healthy plants from the middle area of the plants and the middle part of the branches, collecting mature fruits with normal shape and size. Later, the pulp must to be removed gently by hand of soft mechanical process to get the beans and wash them with clear water to get rid of the sugars compounds. Put the seeds to dry in a shady are for a couple days or less. Once cleaned and moisture-free, the beans can be store in a cloth back for some weeks.
We need to build a germinator, a place where we induce the germination process protected from direct rain and sunlight. We need to build a wooden frame (also bamboo or block works) of 1 m2 and 25 cm depth filled with a layer of 25 cm depth of river sand, for each kilogram of seeds, using palms or other material to build a roof.
After 40 days (in warm regions) the seeds germinate and start to grow; once they reach 4-5 cm high match shaped status, they are gently removed from the sand, using water to avoid the braking of the young roots. Then the seedlings are planted into 24 cm high black nursery bags filled with a mixture of dirt and organic matter, where receiving regular maintenance for 4-5 months. Meanwhile, the plantation density in the field must be decided and the holes must being already made before move the plants to the field, to avoid having the plants in the bags more time than they should, causing root problems. Traditionally, farmers grow 3.500 plants per hectare but actually, this number can be as high as 5.000 and 7.000.
Make soil analysis are always a good idea, this gives us the information about the nutritional status of the soil to make the reasonable fertilizer applications before the arrival of the plants. Depending of the climate and the varieties used, the plants requires almost two years reaching maturity and producing the first yield. The harvesting, especially in Arabica species is made by hand, picking the mature fruits, due that they have the desirable composition to prepare a good quality cup with good flavor, the green ones have high concentrations of “chlorogenic acids” and other substances related to bitter and unpleasant flavor, so be careful if you are going to pick fruit for your own brand.
The process before roasting
The picked coffee cherries can be subjected to the following process, the dry and the wet one. The first consist in put the cherries in a dry and clean surface to be exposed to the direct sunlight to eliminated moisture in the pulp, then the cherries pass through a machine that mechanically removes the pulp and then the beans must to being washed and let them dry, this process is normally used to prepare the roasted coffee beans that are grinded in the coffee shops.
The second process requires the immersion of the cherries in containers with running water for 8 – 12 hours, to allow a short fermentation process, making easier for the machinery to remove the pulp in the next step. Then, the beans are washed and dried before being packed. This process is normally used for coffee sold to the industry. In both process, once the beans are dried they the protecting layer of the seed must be removed mechanically before being roasted.