During one of my recent trips to Coorg, I got a chance to go through a complete and detailed Coffee Plantation tour and also through a briefing of coffee making titled “Blossoms to Brew”
Coffee, is known to have descended from the original coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia. The very mention of the word coffee instantly ignites the urge to have a cup of hot steaming beverage. The urge is instant just like the instant or the soluble muddy version of coffee.
But how can anyone, once having tasted a freshly roasted, delicately brewed cup of brown nectar, ever drink a re-hydrated inferior concoction? Unfortunately till now I was also drinking this coffee made from a mixture of discarded byproduct from the bean processing process and a powder of Chicory roots. Okay, Okay, I also used to drink this but now having tasted the lovely tasting fresh filter coffee I dont think I can go back to drinking this long shelf life granulated sludge.
Friends, fresh coffee, namely the Robusta and Arabica cofffee are more flavorsome. Also, properly brewed coffee, whether Robusta or Arabica, is stronger, more intense, fuller bodied and tastes noticeably fresher!
During my stay at The Tamara, Coorg, I went through a Coffee plantation tour that culminated at the heritage building, The Verendah. Here we were taken through the entire journey of a Coffee plantation. Various aspects of the plantations, beans, drying the beans, roasting and grinding of the beans were all discussed and then practically demonstrated and from the final product – Tasting was done. I learned that —
The most commonly used coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta, grown in the hills of Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and Hassan), Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District, Yercaud and Kodaikanal), Kerala (Malabar region) and Andhra Pradesh (Araku Valley)..Coffea arabica, known as Arabica coffee, accounts for 75-80 percent of the world’s production. Coffea canephora, known as Robusta coffee, accounts for about 20 percent and differs from the Arabica coffees in terms of taste. Robusta coffee beans are more robust than the Arabica plants, but produces an inferior tasting beverage with a higher caffeine content.
The trees produce edible red or purple fruits called “cherries” that look like drupes. The cherries contain two seeds, the so-called “coffee beans”, which—despite their name—are not true beans. In about 5-10% of any crop of coffee cherries, only a single bean, rather than the usual two, is found.
On the world market, Arabica coffees bring the highest prices.Robusta is primarily used in blends and for instant coffees. The Robusta bean itself tends to be slightly rounder and smaller than an Arabica bean. The coffee bean follows an amazing process to reach your mug.
Once the coffee has been picked, it is processed by either The Dry Method or the The Wet Method. The beans so separated are then sent for Grading and Sorting, which is done by size and weight, and beans are also reviewed for color flaws or other imperfections.Beans are sized by being passed through a series of screens and are then classified according to the size into P, AA, A, B and C beans. AA beans are the top most quality and attract the best prices.
Defective beans are removed and sent for use in making of instant coffee. Good quality beans are then roasted. Roasting transforms green coffee into the aromatic brown beans that we purchase in our favorite stores or cafés. The beans are kept moving throughout the entire process to keep them from burning. When they reach an internal temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they begin to turn brown and the caffeol, a fragrant oil locked inside the beans, begins to emerge. This process called pyrolysis is at the heart of roasting — it produces the flavor and aroma of the coffee we drink.
After roasting, the beans are immediately cooled either by air or water. And then the roasted beans are sent for grinding. The objective of a proper grind is to get the most flavor in a cup of coffee. The fresh aroma during the grinding we did – made each of us go insane and immediately we went in for the brewing and tasting of our own made and trade marked fresh coffee.
The final cup of Espresso coffee I sipped for the next half an hour – believe me friends was the best one I have had in my entire life till now. Coffee is my weak point and after this tour and coffee making session – fresh brewed coffee is my weakness now. And I am sure it is yours too – so what are you waiting for – go out buy a packet of fine quality roasted beans, grind them and brew your own flavour of fresh coffee and yes – Invite me too over a cup of this sweet bitter drink.
You see, a lot can happen over a cup of coffee – may be we also become pals…..