As we might have a mentioned, we’re proud to be based in Georgia (which is why we’re named for the Brown Thrasher, our state bird). In any event, our friends at Atlanta Eater were kind enough to share some interesting facts about our favorite beverage.
1. Coffee “beans” are actually the seeds or pits of the coffee cherry, not beans. Prior to being roasted, they’re yellowish-green, hard, and half their roasted size. In the roasting process, moisture inside the seeds causes them to almost double in size, and the sugars inside the seeds are pulled out from within, caramelizing on the surface. This caramelization gives them that nice golden brown color most folks are used to.
2. Coffee is primarily grown between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn in three primary growing regions. Those regions are Central and Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia/Pacific Rim.
3. After the coffee seeds are pulped away from the skin, the skin has several uses. First, the coffee cherry skins are used for fertilizing naturally and organically around the farm. Many farms grow organically because it’s less expensive, so they compost the skins with manure and other things from around the farm to create an organic fertilizer. The second use is for cascara, which is where the skins are dried and brewed as a tea. The smell of the dried cherries most closely compares to sweet pipe tobacco, and the tea has a nice, sweet, clean taste that is very high in caffeine. A third use, which is being experimented with in countries like Uganda and the Netherlands, is for creating energy. The husks are burned to create energy, and a study from the Netherlands showed a CO2 reduction of 90% at a Dutch power station.
4. Coffee is a natural product and should be treated as such. As soon as it’s roasted, it starts breaking itself down and going stale, because it’s been exposed to oxygen. The three things that cause coffee to go stale even faster are oxygen, sunlight, and moisture. Keeping your coffee away from these won’t stop the coffee from going stale but will slow the process. Coffee tastes best when consumed within a few weeks of being roasted. Coffee that you buy should have a roast date on the bag— If it doesn’t, chances are there’s a reason they don’t want you to know.
(And by the way, ours does! That’s also why we don’t roast until you order.)
5. Coffee should always be sweet. There’s nothing in coffee that should make it bitter. The seeds are loaded with sugar, and roasting pulls those sugars out. If your coffee is bitter, it’s either stale or it was roasted improperly.