The myths tell of an Arabic herdsman named Kaldi who discovered the strange properties of the coffee tree. He noticed that his goats were unable to fall quiet at night when they had eaten the red berries off the plant. In about 1,000 AD, the Arabs figured out that it was possible to roast the seeds contained in the coffee berries and then grind and pour boiling water over them. This made a stimulating and delicious beverage which they called “qahva”. The Arabs turned coffee into a commodity which they guarded fiercely until, in 1690, a Dutchman successfully managed to steal a coffee plant in Africa. Today, all South American coffee production stems from this one plant. The name of the plant is Coffea Arabica and it is this oldest and best coffee type which is responsible for approx. 75 per cent of the world’s coffee. Coffea Robusta – another type which as the name suggests is fairly hardy – accounts for much of the rest.
The various coffee types taste so different because there are so many factors influencing the coffee bean. First and foremost is the geographic location of the coffee tree, whether the coffee was grown in the mountains or in low-lying countryside, and the type of soil in which it was grown. The climate is another significant factor.
Coffee production takes places in warm climates around the Equator. The coffee tree, which for practical reasons is pruned to bush height, blossoms for only a few days with white flowers which give off a jasmine-like fragrance, after which the plant begins to develop berries. When the berries are red and ripe they are harvested and the coffee beans, which lie protected within the berry, are then separated from the flesh of the fruit. This is done either by drying or washing.
Usually, there are two coffee beans in each berry. Occasionally there is only one bean, and it is know as a peaberry. After the beans have been cleaned and sorted, the raw coffee beans are bagged in sacks and sent for roasting all over the world.
Roasting is a combination of art and science. During roasting, the coffee bean is transformed and it is here where the distinct characteristics and flavors are released. The beans are roasted to a final temperature of between 420 and 460°F. During this process, CO2 is released in the cells of the coffee bean, increasing its size by up to 50 per cent. When the desired degree of roast has been achieved, the beans are quickly cooled.
Drinking coffee is an important part of many cultures around the world and in selecting and roasting our coffees, we have consulted numerous leading coffee experts to ensure that our product lives up to very high expectations. We hope that you will enjoy every cup of Tico’s Coffee!