All About Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans are simply beans that have not been roasted, they are the beans in the purest and rawest form. These raw beans are used to make the green coffee extract.

There are many coffee producing countries in the world, with most located along the equator. Since the climate is ideal for growing coffee trees, these equatorial countries are the largest producers of coffee beans.

The trees themselves resemble a tall bush, and the coffee beans they produce are in fact the seeds, which known as the coffee ‘cherry’ fruit.

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PERFECT CLIMATE FOR COFFEE TREES TO GROW

Countries in Africa, South Asia, Central and Southern America are large producers of coffee beans. The climates in these regions are hot but enjoy plentiful rainfall – two essential climatic conditions for the coffee tree to thrive in. Coffee trees grow best in temperatures of around 70 degrees and they need a 90 percent humidity factor as well as a pretty high altitude, hence countries along the equator have the perfect conditions for the coffee tree to thrive.

A typical coffee tree can survive for up to 60 years, although some trees live for 100 years. Coffee trees do not normally produce any fruit (cherries) during the first five years after planting, as they need this time to establish themselves. Coffee trees do not tolerate frosts or dramatic changes in the environment, so if there is a severe temperature change it can affect the crop dramatically.

THE COFFEE ‘CHERRY’ FRUIT EXPLAINED

The coffee ‘cherry’, which is the fruit of the tree, usually contains two beans. Sometimes there will only be one bean in the cherry and such beans are called ‘peaberry’. These are often discarded, although they can also be sold to a different coffee market.

Many coffee producers handpick the cherries from the trees and have been growing coffee for thousands of years. These coffee producers contribute to their country’s economy because exports of the green coffee bean is a huge business. Globally, coffee consumption has increased significantly over the last few decades, making it a commodity that is much in demand.

GREEN COFFEE BEANS CONTAINS CHLOROGENIC ACID

The coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant and is found in the plant’s red or purple fruit. Although they are seeds, they are called beans because they are bean-like in appearance. The fruit, which is often called coffee cherries or coffee berries, usually contains two seeds, with their flat sides against each other. 

The two most common coffee plants are Arabica and Robusta. 75-80% of all coffee produced is Arabica and 20% is Robusta. The coffee plant grows in a belt, "the bean belt" or "coffee belt" between the tropics of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. South America is the largest exporter of coffee and accounts for about 45% of all exports. Most coffee comes from Brazil. 

The plants grow to be about 5-10 meters high, and the older they get, the less they branch, and the more leaves and fruit they have. The trees are planted in rows, with plenty of space between each plant. Some farmers plant fruit trees around the plant or plant coffee trees on slopes, as they require very specific conditions to thrive. For Arabica coffee, a temperature between 15-24°C is ideal, and for Robusta 24-30°C, and they must receive between 15-30cm of rain per year. Heavy rain is needed especially in the beginning of the season when the fruit develops, and as the fruit matures, less rain is required. 

When the fruit has ripened, it is almost always picked by hand, through the so-called selective harvesting where only the ripe fruit is picked, or "strip-picking" in which all the fruit on a stalk is picked in one go. There are two different methods for processing fruit. One is a wet process, where the pulp is separated from the seeds, which are then fermented by soaking in water for about two days. This dissolves any pulp or sticky residue that may still remain on the seeds. The second process is a dry process in which branches and other foreign objects are separated from the fruit, which is then spread out in the sun for 2-3 weeks to dry.

Coffee beans are green in color before they are roasted and become dark brown. These green beans are rich in chlorogenic acid.


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