Coffee and coffee beans, almost every household has it. One has a super deluxe cup machine, the other a percolator and some swear by a cup of old-fashioned filter coffee or even instant coffee. Something for everyone; there are very many different flavors and roasts.
What is coffee?
Coffee is a drink that is usually hot, and is prepared on the basis of water and dried and roasted seeds of the coffee plant (Coffea) that are called coffee beans because of their shape. Coffee is drunk in many cultures. In terms of taste, the drink is bitter and slightly sour. Coffee is also used as a seasoning in cakes, pies and ice cream. Coffee contains the stimulant and addictive caffeine. Most species in the genus Coffea occur naturally in tropical Africa and on the islands in the Indian Ocean. They originate in Ethiopia, Yemen and Sudan. The coffee bean is an important export product from countries around the equator, such as Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Coffee plants are mainly cultivated on plantations in tropical countries, for export to countries with a temperate climate. Together with knowledge of the drink, the plant spread from tropical Africa to North Africa, the Middle East and Europe from the 15th century. Since the 19th century, the major producers and exporters of coffee beans have been located in the tropical regions of South and Central America, Africa and Asia. The most commonly grown species are Coffea arabica (arabica) and C. canephora (robusta).
How does the coffee bean become coffee?
Coffee is made from the peeled, dried, roasted and ground seeds of the coffee plant. These seeds are called coffee beans but botanically this is not correct. The fruit of the coffee plant is a stone fruit. That is a fruit with a thick hard kernel and a thin layer of flesh. However, this kernel (or seed) strongly resembles a bean and is therefore called coffee bean. The seeds need about eight months before they are ripe enough to be picked. They change color from green to red in those eight months.
The following is a step called the wet process. The seeds are put in a basin with water. The unripe seeds float and the ripe ones sink. When the immature seeds are scooped out, the flesh must be removed from the ripe seeds. This is done by pressing the seeds under water through a grid. The remaining flesh is then allowed to ferment, which takes one to two days. The seeds are then brushed by machine until they are clean from flesh.
This is followed by the dry process. The released coffee beans are dried in the sun, on a floor or on a table. The beans must be stirred every few hours. This is a delicate process, since the beans should not dry too well either. Sometimes special ovens are used to dry the beans. Originally the wet process was skipped and the beans were pulped and dried; this still happens sometimes. When the beans are dried, they are brushed again to remove the last unwanted layers. They are then sorted according to different quality criteria and then “mixed”. By mixing different selections one tries to get a taste that is constant over the years.
This proces is followed by coffee roasting. The beans are roasted in a special oven with a little oil until they get the right scent. About seven hundred different chemicals are produced during roasting. Part of the roasted beans is ground, vacuum-packed, and delivered to stores. Another part is sold unground. A special way to process coffee is to expose the still-roasted beans to sea air; this is called the monsooned coffee. The tropical sea air makes the beans less acidic. When coffee was introduced in Europe, this was a fixed part of the process. After all, the coffee had to be transported from Yemen all the way around Africa. When the Suez Canal was opened, this process disappeared. However, certain types of coffee are still exposed to sea air in open warehouses on the coast.
Caffeine free coffee
Some people prefer decaffeinated coffee to experience the taste of coffee but not the effects of caffeine. Caffeine can be extracted from coffee beans in various ways. For example, through the application of carbon dioxide properties at a certain temperature and pressure (hypercritical fluid extraction). With the chemical method, steam is added to the coffee, making the coffee more porous. Then dichloromethane or ethyl acetate is passed along the coffee. The caffeine then flushes away with the extractant. The coffee beans are then rinsed with water, which removes the chemical from the coffee. Finally, the coffee beans are dried. An analysis must then be made as to whether the levels of extractant and caffeine in the coffee bean meet the relevant maximum limits. Strictly speaking, caffeine-poor coffee must be mentioned, because it is not possible to actually extract all caffeine from the bean; a minimal amount always remains. The residual caffeine content in decaffeinated coffee may not exceed 0.1% by law, calculated as a percentage of the dry matter. This amounts to a maximum of 1 milligram of caffeine per gram of used (dry) coffee.
Nowadays, if you feel like a cup of coffee, you won’t get away with saying that you want a cup of coffee. The standard question is what kind of coffee? You can order so many different types of coffee. Think of a black coffee, an espresso, a double espresso, an americano, a cappuccino, a coffee latte, a flat white, a latte macchiato, an espresso macchiato and so on. If you have just ordered the coffee of your choice, the following questions will appear; do you want that with fullfat milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk …. choices choices choices. Very nice because you really get a customized coffee and so you can also change during the day so that you always have something else.
There are a lot of real coffee makers, barristas. They can make the most beautiful creations from a cup of coffee. There are even world wide competitions organized who can make the most beautiful latte art. Now we have attended a latte art workshop with the BitterSweetz crew, which was the end of the internship of Francina and Noah. In particular, we were able to copy the art there during the workshop and tried to venture into a heart in the foam. Let me put it this way, we made Art. Whether it was a heart remains to be seen, but it certainly was art! We are therefore not focused on making the most beautiful works of art on your cup of coffee. Or rather, we do not do this at all. We make nice coffee, Bacchi coffee, and that’s it.
Great beans, nice and spicy and still silky. Just as I always wanted the coffee myself. I selected this brand just for that. I came across this brand when I was still working for the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht. After making a fair train journey every morning, I was always looking for a really nice cup of coffee. Our office was directly above the Douwe Egberts store, but I really didn’t like their coffee. So I walked around and so I came across a very nice place around the corner: the Koekfabriek. They served Bacchi coffee and I immediately enjoyed that. I asked the manager for the brand and contact details and I called them for an appointment. After a visit to their company in Amersfoort it was settled. I started serving their coffee in BitterSweetz. At that time, it was still the first coffee shop in the Hague. To this day I am very happy with this choice. And people like to walk a block to drink the coffee, even without the Latte Art.