A Mugful of Coffee Facts
If you are a Gaviña customer, great coffee may be something you take for granted every day. But there’s a lot more to the humble coffee bean than meets the eye. Here are some things you might not know about coffee.
Coffee Quality (Arabica vs. Robusta)
Not all types of coffee plants are created equal. Arabica trees are high maintenance - they require high-altitude, fertile soil (they like volcanoes a lot!), some sunlight, some shade, plenty of water, and tropical temperatures. These high-quality coffees are decadently complex in flavor and are grown in many countries between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Robusta trees, on the other hand, are a hardy variety of coffee that will grow just about anywhere. Their flavor is a lot less complex than their distant cousin, the Arabica plant. For the best taste in each cup, select 100% Arabicas every time. We certainly do.
Coffee Roasting Process
Coffee roasting occurs in six phases:
- Drying Cycle: This is the first phase of the roasting process, when the temperature of the beans rises to 100 degrees centigrade. During this phase, the beans change from a bright green color to a pale yellow.
- First Crack: When the beans reach 160 degrees centigrade, complex chemical reactions begin to occur, causing a cracking sound.
- Roast Initiation: The beans swell to 140-160 percent of their initial size. Sugars within the beans begin to caramelize, giving the beans their brown color.
- Pause: In this phase, the audible cracking ceases, but the reactions continue. The time of this silence will depend on the amount of heat applied by the roaster.
- Second Crack: The progressive dehydration of the beans has made them brittle. As a result, more cracking can be heard. It is at this stage that elements in the bean begin to carbonize, producing the burnt characteristics of extremely dark roasts.
- Stopping the Roast: Once the optimal amount of roasting time has elapsed, the beans must be cooled quickly. This is usually accomplished by introducing large amounts of cool air or water.
Roasting is a craft and a small difference in roast timing can have a profound effect on how the coffee will taste. Roast too quickly at too high a temperature, and you'll scorch the exterior of the bean. Roast too slowly at too low a temperature, and you'll sap the bean of its flavor. Our roast master is highly skilled at roasting each type of coffee to just the right point.
Improper storage will ruin even the finest coffee. Prolonged exposure to oxygen causes whole bean and coffee grounds to go stale quickly giving you a less flavorful, bitter, and dull tasting cup. For best results, store coffee in an airtight container in a freezer or refrigerator to reduce exposure to oxygen. With proper storage, your coffee will always be fresh. At Gaviña, we make it simple for you to order and receive your freshly roasted coffee beans promptly so you never run out.
Caffeine and Coffee
Interestingly, the strength of a coffee's taste has little or nothing to do with how much caffeine it contains. The types of coffee used in the blends and the strength of the brew are the determining factors.
- Robusta beans contain about twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans.
- Caffeine content of a 5 fluid ounce cup of regular coffee will range from 60mg to 180mg.
- Caffeine content of a 1 ½ ounce cup of espresso coffee will range from 90 to 120mg.
- Caffeine is altered very little by the roasting process. It is readily water soluble at temperatures above 170 degrees F and is fully released into the finished beverage during brewing.
Making Decaffeinated Coffee
Decaffeination is a bit of a mystery to the average person. How is it possible to take the “kick” out of a cup of coffee?
First, here are some basic coffee facts and FDA requirements:
- Coffee must have 97 percent of its caffeine removed to qualify as decaffeinated coffee.
- Coffee is decaffeinated before it’s roasted.
- The decaffeinated process was first developed just before World War I
There are four decaffeination methods:
- Methylene Chloride
- Ethyl Acetate
- Water Process (Charcoal or Carbon)
- Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
In general, these processes use chemical and/or mechanical methods to soak or steam a batch of green coffee beans, drawing out the caffeine (along with some of the natural flavors and oils). The caffeine is absorbed from the watery mixture by a filtering substance or by a chemical additive. If a chemical is used, it is evaporated or otherwise thoroughly removed from the water to ensure the beans are not contaminated. Then, the water (which contains the oils and flavors) is reintroduced to the coffee beans. The decaffeinated coffee beans are then roasted. At Gaviña, we use the methylene chloride method to preserve as much flavor as possible and ensure a delicious cup of decaf coffee for our customers.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Many studies have been conducted by leading medical research institutes on the health benefits of coffee. You will be surprised to see how beneficial coffee is to your body and overall health.
- Enhance your exercise routine and sports performance
- Stay mentally alert with small, frequent amounts of caffeine
- Reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Lower the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson’s, and asthma
- Lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Boost your antioxidant intake (coffee has more antioxidants than tea)
Visit www.coffeescience.org to learn more about how coffee can play a role in helping you enjoy a vital, vibrant life.