Information About Brewing Coffee, Coffee Urns, Percolator Coffee Makers, and Drip Coffee Machines
Some Commonly Asked Questions Are Answered Here For You:
Q. Where does coffee grow?
A. Coffee grows in tropical and subtropical climates, from sea level up to 6,000 ft. It is found mainly in volcanic soil types, predominately between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Coffee trees can grow to a height exceeding 25 ft. and will produce their best fruit yield for approximately 26 years. The coffee tree is self-pollinating, with Jasmine-scented blossoms. The trees produce a fruit called "cherries." Many companies today use what is known as the “king of coffee,” Arabica beans which make up 75% of all commercial coffees sold. Arabica beans require very special care and must grow on hillsides above 3,000 ft., with best results at about the 6,000 ft. level. Fertile soil with an adequate supply of essential mineral elements, temperature, moisture, friability, pH, drainage and degree and orientation of slope are important. Volcanic soils are favorable for coffee. With frost the trees will die, but they cannot take extremes of heat either. Ideally, rainfall should be between 60 - 100 inches of water per year, with a peak wet season, moderate wind and high humidity. Arabica beans prefers well drained volcanic soil, two hours of sunshine a day and shade, whether by cloud cover (as in Hawaii), by trellises (as in Brazil), or by naturally larger trees (as in Ethiopia). Guatemala, Colombia, Kenya, Costa Rica and Brazil are countries that grow Arabica beans for some companies.
There are a variety of methods to remove caffeine:
Water Process: Unroasted coffee beans are immersed in heated water for several hours to remove the water-soluble caffeine present in the beans, as well as those coffee components that easily dissolve in water. The water is then drained from the beans and filtered or processed to remove the caffeine from the water. This decaffeinated water is then reintroduced to the coffee beans, allowing the flavor and aroma components to be absorbed by the coffee. Finally, the coffee is dried and ready for roasting.
Carbon Dioxide Processing: At specific temperatures and pressure, carbon dioxide becomes a liquid, which has been used to remove essential oils from plants and the flavorings from hops. The coffee and tea industries also use this process. In the carbon dioxide method, unroasted coffee beans are immersed in heated water then placed in a pressurized tank, where carbon dioxide is introduced. The carbon draws the caffeine out of the coffee when it is circulated with the heated coffee beans. As in the Water Process, the coffee beans are then dried, preparing them for roasting.
Etthyl Aceitate Coffee Decaffeination: Although it may sound like a chemical, etthyl aceitate occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, including coffee. The substance itself is a colorless liquid with a fruit-like odor.
Unroasted coffee beans are soaked in ethyl acetate to remove the caffeine, and the ethyl acetate and caffeine are then separated by evaporation. The decaffeinated ethyl acetate which retains its coffee flavorings is reintroduced to the coffee. The ethyl acetate is once again evaporated from the coffee and removed to be used again in the next decaffeination process, before you use it in your coffee machine.
Q. What is the recommended measurement for coffee?
A. To brew most of todays extra fine grind premium coffees, start by using two level teaspoons for each 6 ounces of fresh water. Most coffee scoops help you measure your coffee perfectly for your coffee maker.
Of course, depending on your personal preference in coffee strength and flavor, you may want to revise the measurements to suit your taste. See "Why is grind so important?" for more information about brewing the perfect cup of coffee.
Q. Why is grind so important?
A. Coffee should be ground to match the brewing process and the coffeemaker or the coffee urn you are using. For example, slower brewing devices (urn, French press and percolator) need coarsely ground coffee, as the longer brewing process requires a slower extraction. If the coffee is ground incorrectly, you’ll get either very strong, thick coffee or very weak, thin coffee out of your coffee machine.
Coffee for your coffee machine and coffee urn can be purchased already ground, or, if whole bean coffee is your choice, you'll use a mill or grinder to achieve the right grind. If you use a cone brewer, you should use an extra fine grind coffee such as regular or decaffeinated. Most of today's extra fine grinds allows you to use less coffee to extract more flavor. While we highly recommend the cone coffee making system for your coffee maker, if you have a basket coffeemaker or use a percolator, you should use medium or coarse grind, respectively possible in your coffee urn. The rule of thumb is the finer the grind, the more flavor you extract, using less coffee.
Q. What is the correct way to store coffee?
A. Always store your coffee in an airtight container away from direct light and heat. Most companies recommend that you buy your coffee weekly or bimonthly to make sure you always have freshest coffee available, as ground coffee will begin to stale 24 hours after the package is opened. The airtight container keeps out odors and protects the internal moisture of the coffee bean. Direct light and heat will begin to cook the coffee oils, and will affect the flavor and aroma properties. Coffee can be stored in the refrigerator, with all precautions taken. Do not store coffee in the freezer at all. Freezing will coagulate the natural oils and crystallize the moisture. Ice particles will adversely affect the flavor and aroma qualities. Since refrigerators and freezers have automatic dehumidifiers to remove any moisture from the machine, airtight containers are crucial.
Q. Do any coffees contain chicory, gluten or artificial flavors?
A. Many coffee products are 100% coffee with no additives. Many companies do produce and sell flavored coffees that contain natural and artificial flavorings.
Q. How are coffee beans generally graded?
A. Coffee beans are graded based on bean size, and total number of defects found in a sample. The standards for grading coffee are universal, and are used by producers, processors and roasters, and by the coffee commodity exchange. Other tests for the coffee include raw color, raw aroma, roasted aroma, roasted taste, moisture and density. Coffee maker experts generally analyze the grade and quality of each delivery of coffee. After a full compliment of tests are performed, they make a decision regarding the overall quality of the coffee delivery. If the coffee is not consistent with their strict standards, the coffee is not used.
Q. What is caffeine?
A. Caffeine is a bitter, odorless white powder that occurs naturally in many plants commonly used in foods and beverages, including tea leaves, cocoa beans, cola nuts and coffee beans. Caffeine levels differ depending on the species of the specific coffee bean.
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