Where is coffee from?

Recently, there is a question lurking in the mind of all true coffee lovers, “where does coffee come from?”. When you’re drinking coffee, this question should rightly come to mind, where you coffee is from can become a very interesting and not to mention important part of your coffee habit.

The first thing that comes to mind when trying to answer this question is, “what country or countries does coffee come from”. The first thought would probably be Columbia or Brazil, but good coffee is far more than just what country it’s from. There’s so much more to coffee than just the location, and once you actually get to understand more about coffee you will then be able to appreciate and ‘taste the difference’ (pun intended).

Plants

So we all know that coffee comes from a coffee plant, but a lot of us don’t know that there are different types of plants that coffee grow on. These are the two species in particular that stand out and these are Arabica and Robusta.

  • Arabica is regarded to be the best quality coffee, and these is because these plants grow is high altitudes and they are the most challenging to work with. This is why most speciality coffees are said to be 100% Arabica.
  • Robusta is far easier to grow and harvest. These grow on lower altitudes and can be machine harvested unlike Arabica which needs to be handpicked.

There are many varieties within the Arabica species, such as Typica, Bourbon, Gieisha, Caturra, Catuai and more. Some natural and some cultivated, there are also a few Arabica/Robusta hybrids.

Fruit of the Plant

The fruit of the plant are also known as the berries/cherries of the plant. It’s thought that we first found out of these cherries after observing the increased energy levels of animals after they consumed these fruit. This was then collected by tribes who made ‘fat balls’ – which in turn made the first energy bars.

The Seeds

All beans are seeds, but not all seeds are beans. But what most people don’t know is that coffee it’s not really a bean it’s a seed. Almost all coffee cherries contain two seeds, it’s only the Peaberry which just has one.

They look like peanuts when they are raw, but they have a slightly green tint to them which is why they are more commonly known as “greens”.

The Roasting of the Beans Seeds

The Seeds will keep for a long time, a couple of years in fact. It’s only when they are roasted that the clock starts ticking.

Instant coffee is roasted in large quantities, several tonnes at a time, and for mass market. This is known as second wave coffee, this is coffee that gets sent to large coffee chains, shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

When it comes to speciality coffee, the seeds are roasted in smaller batches, this is because speciality coffee needs to be roasted in a particular manner, it’s very much an artistic science.

Grounded Coffee

Before we can drink the bitter nectar, we need to grind the roasted beans. You can get pre ground coffee, but true flavour is found with freshly ground coffee. This is because pre-ground coffee goes stale quicker, not to mention it’s harder to control when brewing.

The moral of the story is, buy whole coffee beans and grind the coffee yourself. You will be able to control the size of the grind, which is important because different coffee machines and coffee types require different grinds, as well as giving you the fresh, true coffee flavour.

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SO, where is it actually from?

If you’re still aching to know where coffee comes from, the answer is originally Ethiopia – well for Arabica coffee anyway. In terms of where coffee was enjoyed first as a drink, then the answer is also Ethiopia and/or other parts of Africa. The brewing of coffee was recorded to be Yemen in mid 1400s.  

As for where coffee production takes place, here are a couple of coffee production countries.

Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Uganda, Ivory Coast, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, and soo many more!

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