A coffee bean. It’s a silly little thing, isn’t it? So small and yet so powerful. A simple coffee bean, when roasted correctly, can energize our bodies, lift our spirits and warm our hearts. Many of us celebrate coffee on a day-to-day basis. But maybe we should be celebrating the coffee bean instead. After all, that’s where the rich, creamy characteristics of coffee come from.
What type of coffee bean creates the best cup of coffee? We got the inside scoop from our Q-grader himself, Paul Massard. After hunting for beans in some of the world’s most well-known coffee countries, he knows the composition of the perfect bean.
1. High Altitude
The higher a coffee bean is grown, the denser and more flavorful and finer it will become. When grown at high altitudes, coffee beans mature slower and appear much denser and harder than when grown closer to sea level. This slow, meticulous maturation of the coffee bean produces a rich flavor we can’t help but crave. The altitude is so important to coffee growers that there has been a classification of coffee beans including hard beans, strictly hard beans, strictly soft beans, etc.
2. Soil Composition
The pH of the coffee plant’s soil is extremely important in the production of the perfect bean. pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the soil is. The lower the pH number is, the more acidic it is (on a scale of 1-14, 7 is neutral). The optimum pH for growing coffee is between 6.0 and 7.5. Higher pH levels bring out the nutrients in plants such as coffee. In other words, coffee beans are grown in extremely rich soil types. Countries such as Columbia, Brazil and Kenya produce rich, fertile soil and high altitudes for the optimum bean.
The treatment of the coffee bean is highly influenced by the farmer who’s growing it. The way in which a farmer grows, processes and dries coffee beans has a huge effect on a bean’s taste and texture. There are various different processing techniques including ferment-and-wash, machine-assisted wet processing, semi-drying and drying. Other processes include milling, in which the last layers of a bean’s dry skin are removed. Milling includes hulling, polishing, cleaning and sorting. Only then can the bean be up for the scrutiny of the grading process.
When the perfect bean is roasted correctly, sensational things can happen. However, not all beans are created equal and some do not get the roasting treatment that they deserve. Coffee roasting is another important component to concocting the perfect cup of coffee. Roasting coffee transforms the chemical and physical properties of coffee beans into the roasted coffee products we all know and love.
Here at The Roasterie, we pride ourselves on buying the best beans we can find, roasting them in the best way we know how, and delivering them as fast as humanly possible. Remember, your favorite cup of Roasterie coffee is made up of powerful little beans—beans found in high altitude locations with rich, fertile soil that have been treated with care and roasted to perfection.