You Should Care About How Your Coffee Is Grown
There is a lot of work that goes into making sure the steamy, rich cup of coffee you enjoy every day is the best.
You already know that coffee that is roasted by someone who has experience, knowledge, and passion (like Master Roaster Charles at Aladdin!) tastes better.
But did you also know that how your coffee is grown affects the taste?
The Type of Tree Matters
The coffee bean is actually the seed of a fruit called a coffee cherry. These grow on coffee trees, which are distantly related to evergreens. Of all the varieties of coffee trees, the most commonly known are Arabica and Robusta, which can grow up to 20-30 feet tall!
Arabica trees grow best at high altitudes. Cooler temperatures, maximum sunlight, and plenty of water extend the growing season so the coffee ripens slowly. These growing conditions produce a lower yield, but the coffee tends to be of a higher-quality.
Robusta trees do best in warm, dry conditions at lower altitudes. The regions that grow Robusta varieties have shorter growing seasons. The plants can produce four to five pounds of coffee (a much higher yield than their Arabica counterparts!), but the quality and taste suffer.
Growing Conditions Affect Taste
Almost all coffee comes from one of three major coffee growing regions:
Central & South America
The differences in location affect how the coffee from each region tastes. In order to produce a good harvest of coffee, the trees need consistently warm temperatures, lots of sunlight, water, and rich soil.
Weather conditions, the mineral content of the soil, and how the coffee cherries are processed will influence the bean’s characteristics.
How Coffee Is Harvested Changes The Quality
Arabica trees often flower many times during the growing season. This means that each branch will have ripe and unripe cherries present at the same time. If the plantation uses a mechanical method of harvesting, this means that unripe coffee cherries will end up mixed in with the ripe coffee cherries - meaning that the quality of the coffee is compromised.
The best-quality coffee is harvested by hand. It’s a labour-intensive process, with the average worker picking 125 to 200 pounds of cherries a day! After processing, this equates to around 20 to 30 pounds of green coffee beans.
Fair Trade Organic Is A Win-Win
Purchasing fair trade organic coffee means you are supporting coffee plantations that treat their workers well and get a fair price for their coffee. In turn, they can continue producing the high quality coffee you deserve.