The Coffee Bean

coffee image by Moyan_Brenn

coffee image by Moyan_Brenn


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© 2013 Shanna Lea

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages today and is prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant.  Whether it’s served hot or iced, with sugar and cream, it continues to be a favorite drink with a different flavor to suit everyone.

Coffee beans contain pleasing mid-altering chemicals to humans, although these same chemicals are toxic in large doses to many animals in the wild.

A coffee bean, grown in 2 different areas, will have a distinctive characteristic such as flavor ( such as citrus-like or earthy), body (or mouth-feel), caffeine content, and acidity.  These characteristics are dependent on the local environment the coffee plants are grown in, the method they were processed with and the genetic subspecies or variety.

Well Known Arabica Coffee Beans:

  • Columbian—a heavy bodied, and intensely aromatic coffee that has bright acidity when roasted, and was first introduced in Columbia in the early 1800’s.
  • Columbian Milds—includes coffees from Columbia, Tanzania and Kenya.  All are washed arabicas.
  • Costa Rican Tarrazu—from the Tarrazu Valley in the highlands outside of San Jose, archetypal estate coffee is La Minita.
  • Guatemala Huehuetenango—Grown in one of the most remote growing regions of Guatemala at over 5,000 feet.
  • Ethiopian Harar o’  from the region of Harar, Ethiopia
  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe o’ from the are of the town of Yirga Cheffe in the Sidamo (now Oromia) region of Ethiopia.
  • Hawaiian Kona o’ grown on the slopes of Hualalai in the Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain o’ from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica.  Because of its popularity, it brings a high price in the market.
  • Java o’ from the island of Java, in Indonesia.  The word “java” became a slang word for coffee because it was so heavily traded.

Some coffee bean varieties are far more expensive than others because of high demand.  Jamaican, Blue Mountain and Hawaiian Kona are the most prominent coffees in the world.  They are blended with other less expensive coffee beans and the word “blend” will be added to the name, such as “Blue Mountain blend” or “Kona blend”, even though they only contain a tiny amount of the more expensive bean.

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