Do you drink one or more cups of coffee in the morning to ‘get going’? If so, you are like millions of Americans, including yours truly. There are a number of things that people usually don’t think about when they have their coffee, about their coffee. At the very least they are interesting and can increase the appreciation of that steamy cup of brew.
The coffee process
There is more to coffee than just pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. For one thing, coffee beans aren’t beans. They are seeds that grow inside the fruits of coffee trees. For another, coffee trees aren’t trees, they’re bushes, though they can sometimes grow tall.
The fruits, which are actually berries, are harvested when ripe (when they turn from green to red), with the best coffee coming from selectively picking only the ripest fruits. Naturally, hand-picking the fruit can be very labor intensive, but it is the best way to insure that only the ripe fruits are picked. The fruit is then processed to remove the pulp. In some cases, the fruit is fermented and washed to get rid of the pulp. In other cases, the fruit is dried and then milled to remove the dried pulp. In either case, the seed pods are opened and the coffee beans are removed.
They must then be dried and usually roasted. This is tricky because the drying must be done rapidly, in a low humidity environment. If not, molds, mildew, and bacteria can ruin the crop. If they are over dried the crop can also be ruined.
The process takes time and it should also be understood that most coffee-producing countries only get one crop of coffee beans per year, normally all harvested within about three days. Once the coffee beans have been processed, they can be ground for use or put in cans for later use. The longer they sit exposed to the air, especially in the case of ground coffee, the poorer the quality of coffee that will result from brewing them. This is why ground coffee purchased in cans is usually vacuum-packed.
The freshest ground coffee beans yield the best premium coffee. It also explains why coffee is relatively expensive, with all the time, labor, and strict adherence to processing guidelines to produce the best coffee beans or ground coffee.
Did you know that so much effort went into your cup of coffee?
Coffee production and consumption
Coffee is grown in a number of different countries, but the country that easily out-produces any other in coffee is Brazil. About a third of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil. Knowing this, it isn’t surprising that Brazilians are among the top 10 coffee consumers in the world. According to World Atlas, on average, every person in Brazil drinks 1.32 cups of coffee per day. Naturally, since children don’t normally drink coffee, the amount of coffee per day for every adult is much higher than this.
It might surprise people to learn that the US isn’t even in the top 10 coffee consumers, though. World Atlas lists the following as the top 10 in terms of consumption (and in reverse order):
10. Brazil 1.32 cups per person per day
9. Belgium 1.35 cups per person
8. Germany 1.43 cups per person
7. Denmark 1.46 cups per person
6. Serbia 1.49 cups per person
5. Austria 1.51 cups per person
4. Slovenia 1.68 cups per person
3. Netherlands 1.84 cups per person
2. Norway 1.98 cups per person
1. Finland 2.64 cups per person
Remember that these are averages and include the entire population of the country when the numbers were figured. That includes children, even though children typically don’t drink coffee. It should also be noted that in many countries, the coffee is served very strong, much more so than the way it is usually consumed in the US. In comparison, what we drink is more like a coffee tea.
Still, coffee is popular in the US, with some statistics saying that the average consumption of coffee, only counting people over the age of 18, is 3.1 cups per day.
Coffee and health
For a long time, people were told that drinking coffee was bad for their health. However, the Mayo Clinic cites several recent studies that show that drinking coffee is good for preventing or combatting liver disease, liver cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and is good for cognitive processes (thinking). Drinking coffee isn’t good in all cases, though, and like any food, some people are also allergic to coffee.
All of this is something to think about while you have your morning cup of coffee. I am one of those who drinks a lot of coffee. In fact, I literally drink it by the quart. My coffee cup holds one quart and I usually have two or three of these full every day. Come to think of it, it’s time for me to go get another ‘cup’ of coffee.