The Coffee

COFFEE CHARACTERISTICS AND DETAILS

COFFEE CHARACTERISTICS AND DETAILS

The coffee beans are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant, from the Rubiaceae family, which boasts over 6 thousand species. There are at least 25 significant species, originated from Africa and from the Indian Ocean islands; however, only 2 of them are economically important and they differ in the number of genes. Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora are the two most cultivated species worldwide.

Arabica makes higher quality coffee, finer and more sophisticated, with intense aroma and varied tastes, with innumerable variations of body and acidity. It comes from East Africa and it is typically cultivated in latitudes between 400 and 1,000 meters.

Robusta comes from Central Africa. It is easier to cultivate and may be grown at sea level. Its taste is not as varied or sophisticated as Arabica´s. Its acidity is low and it is commonly used for instant coffee blends. Robusta´s caffeine levels are twice as high as Arabica´s.

Coffee shrubs belong to the same family as gardenias and cinchonas. They need warm, humid weather to develop, as well as volcanic or clay silicon soil. The shrub can reach up to 12 meters, but it is usually kept at 2 to 3 meters so as to optimize harvesting.

The coffee yields its first crop 5 years after being planted. It yields about 2.5 kg of berries per year, which will yield about 0.5 kg of green coffee, which in turn yields approximately 0.4 kg of roasted coffee. Flowering periods vary with climate and altitude. After flowering, which can happen up to three times a year, every flower becomes a reddish, egg-shaped fruit which is approximately 10 to 15 mm in diameter and 17 to 18 mm in height. Inside this fruit there are two attached coffee beans.

Coffee beans are greenish in color; this color varies according to the place where they are planted, the way they are processed and how long they are dried after harvest.

The most frequent process, which is a rule for quality coffee, is to hand-pick mature dark red berries.

A series of steps must be taken in order to properly prepare export coffee. Leaves, green berries, rocks and other material must be eliminated through rinsing or sieving the coffee.

COFFEE CHARACTERISTICS AND DETAILS

A FLAVOR FOR EVERY MARKET

EXPORT QUALITIES ARE DIVIDED IN THREE LARGE GROUPS:

Group I Coffee, Arabica type

Originated mostly from the regions of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná. It has a particularly sweet, delicate flavor. Main markets: the United States, Europe and Japan.

Group II Coffee, Arabica type

Grown mainly in the Zona da Mata (Minas Gerais) area and in Espírito Santo. It is particularly phenolic flavored. Main markets: the Middle East.

Robusta (Brazilian Conillon)

Grown mainly in low altitudes (under 400m) in the states of Espírito Santo, Rondônia and the South of Bahia. It has a peculiar taste. This coffee is used in most countries worldwide due to its neutrality and also to its affordability. It is mostly used for instant coffee blends.

CLASSIFICATION TABLE

Official Coffee Classification Table (300 gram sample).

Defects
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 15
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 22
  • 23
  • 25
  • 26
  • 28
  • 30
  • 32
  • 34
  • 36
  • 38
  • 40
  • 42
  • 44
Types
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
Grade
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
Points
  • 100
  • 95
  • 90
  • 85
  • 80
  • 75
  • 70
  • 65
  • 60
  • 55
  • 50
  • 45
  • 40
  • 35
  • 30
  • 25
  • 20
  • 15
  • 10
  • 5
  • BASE
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
Defects
  • 46
  • 49
  • 53
  • 57
  • 61
  • 64
  • 68
  • 71
  • 75
  • 79
  • 86
  • 93
  • 100
  • 108
  • 115
  • 123
  • 130
  • 138
  • 145
  • 153
  • 160
  • 180
  • 200
  • 220
  • 240
  • 260
  • 280
  • 300
  • 320
  • 340
  • 360
Types
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 8
Grade
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
  • -
  • -5
  • -10
  • -15
  • -20
  • -25
  • -30
  • -35
  • -40
  • -45
  • -
Points
  • -50
  • -55
  • -60
  • -65
  • -70
  • -75
  • -80
  • -85
  • -90
  • -95
  • -100
  • -105
  • -110
  • -115
  • -120
  • -125
  • -130
  • -135
  • -140
  • -145
  • -150
  • -155
  • -160
  • -165
  • -170
  • -175
  • -180
  • -185
  • -190
  • -195
  • -200