Some Coffee Facts for you !!!!!
There are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are more flavorful and cost more than Robusta beans. Sturbridge Coffee Roasters ONLY use Arabica beans in our coffee blends.
Robusta beans have more caffeine and are cheaper than Arabica beans, but don’t taste as good. Many roasting companies blend Robusta and Arabica beans together to make cheaper coffee.
Dark roasted coffee actually has less caffeine than light or medium roasted coffee since much of the caffeine is burned off during roasting. So, a 16 oz cup of medium roast coffee might have about 400 milligrams of caffeine while a 16 oz cappuccino might only have 40 milligrams of caffeine. (Do you know what a milligram is?)
Coffee beans are grown all over the world, usually in areas near the Equator. Coffee takes on the flavor of the soil and other plants that it grows near. For instance: Guatemalan coffee may have an earthy taste of volcanic ash since Guatemala has many volcanoes and Mexican coffee may have a cocoa taste since it grows near so many cocoa plants.
It takes three years for a coffee plant to begin producing coffee beans. One coffee plant will produce enough coffee beans to make 2 or 3 pounds of coffee per year. The coffee beans grow inside of a fruit like skin called a “cherry.” And the cherry is, well, red, like a cherry. Each cherry must be picked by hand as they may grow in clusters and some may be ripe while others need to wait on the plant to ripen more. It takes the farmers a lot of time to pick their crop.
The cherries are washed and put in a big tank to ferment. Then the meat of the cherry is washed away and fed to pigs and other farm animals that might live on the coffee grower’s farm. The beans are now ready to dry. They are spread out on large cement slabs in the sun and constantly raked while the sun dries them. Raking prevents mold and mildew and insects from attacking the beans. When the beans are dried, they are called “green beans” (even though they’re pretty gray in color). They are placed in burlap bags and shipped all over the world. The burlap bags weigh between 100 and 170 pounds.
At the Sturbridge Coffee Roasters, we roast our beans in a large roaster. Basically, the roaster is like a very hot clothes dryer. The beans go into a rotating barrel that cooks the beans at 400 to 500 degrees for about 15 minutes. During this cooking time, the beans pop or “crack”. It’s like popcorn popping, but the beans don’t explode, they just get bigger from the pressure of a little bit of steaming sugar in the middle of the bean.
Once the beans are cooked or “roasted”. They are cooled quickly. They are left overnight to let any extra gases escape from the beans then they are ground, bagged and brewed into delicious, fresh coffee.
Things to do:
about places where coffee grows like
With an adult, place half a cup of green coffee beans in an old air-popcorn-popper. (Your fundraising coordinator can arrange to get green coffee beans for you from the Sturbridge Coffee Roasters.) Place the popper outside or in a garage and plug it in. After about 15 minutes you should hear the beans start to crack. Little pieces of bean covering (or chaff) will begin to fly out of the popper. Immediately, stop the popper and dump the beans onto a baking tray and fan them to cool. Don’t touch the beans until they are completely cool or they will burn you!
Talk to friends and family that drink coffee and ask why they prefer certain coffee blends or coffee from a certain country. Often they will tell you it’s because they visited that place so they have a nice memory of that kind of coffee; sometimes they will buy a certain coffee because that’s what they’ve always had in the past.
Coffee Roasting Tour
Green Beans Arrive in Burlap bags averaging 150 pounds each.
The green beans arrive
Dropping the Beans into the Roaster
Checking the Roast
Dropping the Beans into the cooling bin
Cooling the Beans