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COFFEE 101: Everything you need to know about coffee!

COFFEE 101: Everything you need to know about coffee!

About 66% of Americans drink coffee daily, but how many actually know what they are drinking?  How many know where it comes from, how it's processed, or if it has artificial flavors or natural tasting notes, most don’t know.  And to be fair, that's a lot of attention to detail, but we have gone out of our way to do the research.  On a personal level we were interested in making sure we are putting healthy and good quality foods into our bodies, and that included our coffee.  Of course when we decided to start this company (along with several other reasons) we then got into the finer details, but we find it important and helpful to understand what we put into our bodies.  

There are two benefits for understanding the coffee process; First is to know why certain coffee tastes the way it does and two, why certain coffee is of better quality than others.  Starting with the Coffea trees, coffee beans are found on the cherries of these shrubs, and what is grown around these Coffea tree fields will change the flavor of the coffee beans.  There is a large variety of different flavors that can change in the coffee beans, such as different combinations of nuts and berries being tasted, hints of fruits or even with winey tastes are found, it all depends on where the coffee is being grown.  

What differs in quality of coffee is how it is harvested.  The Coffea cherries are either hand picked, or machine harvested.  When hand picked, the workers can select which cherries are ripe and ready.  When harvested by machine the trees are stripped of all cherries.  Most large coffee suppliers buy machine harvested beans, as it is a much faster and cheaper process with much greater volume, but most beans are not fully ripe because of this quick process.  While it may be more expensive, the more tedious and time consuming process of hand picking is how you get the best quality of beans.

The next step in the harvesting process is getting the beans out of the cherry, through the natural or washed process.  Washed beans are usually preferred by mass production, as strips the pulp of the cherry away from the bean by using water.  Through this process most of the flavors from the cherry are not very strong in these beans, and they tend to be more acidic.  The natural method is a longer, more patient process, where the cherries are set in the sun to dry out the pulp from off the bean, falling off naturally.  This allows the flavors of the nuts, berries or fruits to soak into the bean for as long as possible, creating a very strong mixture of tasting notes and flavors to the beans.  

Once beans are shipped to the roasters, the beans are then roasted by either a drum or air roaster.  This affects the taste of the beans, as the drum roaster rotates the beans in a metal drum over a heat source.  This takes specific attention to detail in order to evenly roast the beans, let alone make sure the entire batch is roasted evenly.  All beans must be evenly rotated with the same amount of time over the heat source in the drum, and no matter what the drum roast will always be heavier than the air roast.  Each individual has their preference on their preference of tastes, and how the coffee is roasted is a factor.  The Air roast, which is more modern, easier, and time efficient, has a lighter, more consistent flavor.  

In the air roaster the beans are roasted in a process similar to popcorn.  Put in this metal roaster, the beans are set over hot air, with a thermometer attached to the machine, this is much more precise, as each bean is roasted evenly floating in the hot air, and the exact temperature is monitored so that a specific taste can be attained every time when desired.  For example, a light roast might be 10-15 degrees cooler than the medium roast.  If the medium roast tastes better at 13 degrees rather than 15 degrees warmer, the roaster can choose to roast at 13 degrees every time, and it will be exact each time unlike the drum roaster.  Different coffee beans from different locations may be different sizes, some more like a pea size, rather than a pinto bean shape.  This means different temperatures or longer times may be needed to get the same results from each batch.  Your Light, medium, and Dark roasts can still have the same effect throughout all kinds of beans roasted.  There is more freedom and efficiency in this process, and at Tornado Jonez Coffee, we use the Air roaster because of it.

After the coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and roasted, when these coffee beans finally get into your hands, there is one crucial step left, the coffee grinding.  You can buy coffee already ground, but for the most flavor and the freshest option, waiting to grind your coffee until you are ready to use it is the best way to have the most flavorful taste, instead of letting it sit ground on the shelf, letting it oxidize and slowly losing its flavor.  What is important to understand is if the beans are ground too fine, your drink will almost certainly be bitter, ashy, and almost muddy to drink with grounds in your coffee.  Grind it too coarse and you will not have much flavor, and will taste watered down.  Having a good grinder that is consistent that you like, and fits your particular taste, and you will have the best coffee at your disposal.  You can easily have the best cup of coffee at your house if you take the correct steps, and it’s all about preference and finding your favorite flavors and tastes!  We want to share what we know as we are fellow coffee lovers, but it’s up to you to find what suits you best, and by having your own coffee grinder, you will get the most out of your purchase of good coffee beans. 

When looking for the best quality of coffee beans, the hand picked, dried coffee beans are of the best quality, with the strongest flavors as they are ripe, with the most time and effort put into them.  This makes them more expensive and of lesser quantity compared to the machine harvested and processed beans that are shipped off in high quantities to large coffee companies all across the world.  While Tornado Jonez Coffee is a smaller business, our prices reflect the higher quality beans and keep our supply stock as close in correlation to our demand in order to have the freshest and highest quality coffee available.  

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