Great question! And one that has been speculated for generations! “Where did coffee originate?” Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi saw some of his goats eating the cherries of the coffee plant and noticed that they were very hyper and energetic. He tried the berry for himself and gave him the same experience. He felt energized and jittery. Word spread of this and led to coffee becoming one of the most consumed drinks around the globe! There are other origin stories but I like this one the best!
So, let’s talk about coffee beans. They are not beans. They are seeds of the “cherry’ fruit of the coffee plant. The plant can live up to 80 years and, in the wild, can grow to up to 30 feet. When the cherries ripen, they are picked, the outer layers are removed and what remains (the seed/bean) is roasted. One of the most interesting facts about roasting is the darker the roast, the less caffeine the bean contains. Lighter roasts are higher in caffeine. Many people assume the opposite to be true.
Another interesting question is where coffee is grown? The answer is referred to as the “Bean Belt”. This is the area close to the equator between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This is where the vast majority of coffee is grown and harvested. Of the 70 plus Countries, Brazil is the largest producer of coffee, with over 5 billion pounds produced every year.
Finally, there are 2 types of coffee plants. The Arabica and the Robusta. The Arabica is considered the superior plant with the better flavored coffee, with a sweet and complex flavor and aroma. It is the one that is most harvested and consumed and originated in Ethiopia. The Robusta plant has a more bitter flavor, is easier to grow and is usually used in lower grade products like instant coffee.
Now that you have a better understanding of where coffee comes from, you can enjoy the flavor of the seed (bean) and impress your friends with these interesting facts. Happy drinking!!