Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Coffee Beans Facts That May Surprise You

You may know about which coffee beans taste best and maybe even about roasting and grinding beans, but here are ten coffee beans facts, some of which you may have never heard before!

Colossal Coffee Beans - The largest coffee bean is the Nicaragua Maragogipe, a variety of the Arabica species.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait - With just the right amount of shade, sun, rain, and the right climate, coffee plants will begin producing coffee berries containing the "beans."

Coffee Bean Not a Native of Costa Rica - The Spanish traveller, Navarro, introduced Cuban coffee to Costa Rica in 1779.

Not Really "Beans" - Believe it or not, coffee beans are not really beans at all. They are not in the legume family, but rather they are the pits found inside of the coffee berries.

Making the Grade - Coffee beans are graded in various ways. Columbian beans are graded from highest to lowest as: "Supremo" "Excelso", "Extra" and "Pasilla". Kenyan beans are graded with letter grades AA, AB, PB, C, E, TT, and T and the grades simply refer to the size, shape, and density of the coffee bean. For coffee beans, size does matter because larger coffee beans contain more of the oil that makes coffee so tasty. Costa Rican coffee beans are graded as Strictly Hard Bean, Good Hard Bean, Hard Bean, Medium Hard Bean, High Grown Atlantic, Medium Grown Atlantic, and Low Grown Atlantic, from highest to lowest, respectively, and these grades refer to the heights at which the beans were grown - Strictly Hard Bean, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the Costa Rica coffee crop is the top grade grown above 3,900 feet.

Hand-Picked - Even to this day, most coffee is still picked by hand, and a coffee worker can pick from 100 to 200 pounds of coffee berries a day!

An Acre of Coffee - How much coffee would you guess to get out of an acre of coffee plants? One acre typically yields about 10,000 pounds of coffee fruits or coffee cherries - which comes to around 2,000 pounds of coffee beans.

Imported Coffee - As much as Americans adore coffee, no coffee is grown in the Continental U.S.; the only American places that produce coffee are Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The Most Expensive Coffee - The most expensive coffee in the world is Kopi Luwak, selling for between $100 and $600 USD per pound (2009)

Also the Most Unusual Coffee - The most expensive coffee is also quite possibly the most unusual coffee in the world - since the coffee berries go through the digestive tract of the Kopi Luwak (a small cat-sized Indonesian animal), are then harvested from the animal's waste, and then the beans removed, cleaned (hopefully!), roasted, and sold.

That's right, believe it or not, it takes 3-5 years for a coffee plant to produce coffee, and only if the conditions are perfect; coffee beans aren't really beans at all; and the most expensive coffee comes from digested coffee gathered from animal feces!

Jennifer Hall enjoys spending her days in coffee shops writing articles and trying out different blends and offers tips and information on coffee beans for Coffee Beans 101 - the premier coffee bean site on the web!

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