Did You Know...Coffee

Species of coffee

There are two main species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Arabic coffees grow best at altitudes above 3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. These beans are also known as high-grown or hard - beans. Arabica is considered a higher quality bean which is more aromatic, heavier in body, has a more pronounced acidity and more flavorful brew than your lower-grown coffee. Robusta coffees grow at lower altitudes, usually below 2,000 feet above sea level. Robusta is less flavorful and aromatic than higher grown coffee. These beans are less expensive and usually used as filler in canned coffee, or made into instant coffee. All of the coffees used at Sarasota Coffee & Tea are made of the top ten percent quality of Arabica beans.

The coffee tree

A coffee tree can grow up to 15 feet (usually maintained at 8 feet) and it takes nearly four years for a tree to mature. These trees are aromatic and produce white flowers. The flowers produce a coffee cherry that resemble a cranberry. Coffee cherries are harvested when they become nice and ripe. The cherries are shaken loose or hand picked (for better quality) and transported to a processing plant. Overripe cherries and green ones are removed after sorting. Each coffee cherry produces two green beans. Coffee beans are the seeds contained inside the red coffee cherry which is also known as the coffee fruit. The best beans are screened for size, density and discoloration.

Approximately 2000 coffee cherries make up a pound of coffee and since there are two beans in a cherry that's 4000 or about 50 beans per cup

The coffee bean

The coffee beans’ aroma and many characteristics of taste are affected by: country, region, temperature, altitude, rainfall, soil , proper growth and ripeness of the bean when picked , and bean quality (grade, size and appearance). The age of the (green) coffee beans can even make a difference. The type of roasting and the length of time of roast also affect the taste. The roaster’s goal is to become accurate enough to bring out each coffee’s unique flavor. The grind (coarse, perk, drip, auto drip, fine, espresso and Turkish) is also very important. Cleaning your equipment occasionally will help a great deal, as well as using quality filtered water.

Coffee beans contain moisture. Roasting, on average, can cause a 20% loss of bean weight. Moisture is forced out to the surface, giving dark roasts their oily appearance. The roasting process causes the bean to double in size.

Sarasota Coffee and Tea Company is a "Small Specialty Coffee Roaster". We slow roast our coffee in small batches everyday in our store. Slow roasting takes about 15 - 20 minutes per roast. This will bring out the unique flavor characteristics of each coffee. Roasting in small batches is the best way to get great tasting freshly roasted coffee. To meet productivity and price point, commercial roasters will often compromise the flavor and quality of the coffee in three minute roasters.

Coffee does not require refrigeration, in fact it's not a good idea to store your coffee in the refrigerator because coffee absorbs flavors and aromas from other food products. To keep your coffee fresh we recommend storing it in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. If you're not going to use your supply of coffee within a month then you can store it in the freezer. If freezing is necessary, make sure to use an airtight container or zip-lock bag. ( Do not store dark roasted coffee in the freezer)

A high percentage of coffee is consumed stale (even purchased stale) due to improper handling. Proper storage can help coffee beans stay reasonably fresher. Roasted coffee is a highly perishable product and starts to lose a small amount of flavor within weeks. Refrigerate or freeze them? If not consumed in more than four weeks, I say freeze them. This slows down the chemical reaction that causes the beans to stale. Do not freeze dark roasted beans, as that have an oily surface. These oils on beans will jell, and destroy the flavor. Even when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator the pores of the bean absorb small amounts of odors. Brewed coffee will lose its flavor in 30 minutes or less.

Grinding Coffee at home: There are two types of grinders:

Blade Grinders: Blade Grinders are most commonly used at home and are also known as spice grinders. Blade Grinders have a tendency to heat and burn the beans and destroy the flavor, giving your coffee that not so pleasant burnt taste. To help prevent this: grind for a short period, stop and wait a few seconds, then grind again, and do this until you have the desired grind. There is no precise way to adjust a blade grinder. Coffee should not be stored in the grinder, and the grinder must be cleaned regularly. 

Burr Grinder: Burr Grinders flake or crush the beans apart, and the grind can be adjusted. Not all store burr grinders are set exactly the same. Sometimes the grinder also must be adjusted for proper setting and must be cleaned regularly. If you get your coffee ground at your local coffee shop, be sure that they have at least two grinders: one for your single origin coffees, and another one for flavored coffee. That way you do not get your chocolate mixed in with your Costa Rican, for example.

Making a cup of coffee

Grind enough for each pot or cup. It is important to grind properly for each brewing method. The finer the grind is, the more flavorful and stronger the cup of coffee will be.

Use fresh cold water (filtered if possible) and 2 level tablespoons of coffee per 8 oz of water or, a full 3/4 cup scoop for a 64 oz. coffee pot.

If your coffee tastes too strong or bitter, adjust the grind or amount of water used. Grind coarser for milder flavor. Use 45 oz of water to a 1/2 cup of ground coffee. When you use less coffee and more water the coffee is over-extracted, which will result in bad tasting coffee.

Other Facts

Coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds.

Coffee is one of the top ten most recognizable odors.

Antioxidants in Coffee

Antioxidants are found in coffee and its immediate aroma after brewing. During the brewing process, the antioxidants released are just as potent as vitamins C and E. A scientific report from the University of California found the antioxidant level in a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as in three oranges.

Studies have shown that the antioxidants found in coffee and its aroma could help prevent cancer and heart diseases, diabetes and cataracts. Want the most benefits from coffee? Drink it as soon as possible.

Caffeine in a cup of coffee

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in seeds, fruit or leaves in more than 60 species of plants, such as coffee, tea , cola nuts, and cocoa beans. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee may vary due to serving size, brewing method, variety of plant, brand, etc. There are about 100- 200 milligrams of caffeine in a regular drip 8 oz.cup of coffee.

Decaf. has about 2-4 mg. Espresso has 75-100 milligrams of caffeine in one serving (1.5-2 oz). An 8 oz. cup of tea can contain any where from 25-110 milligrams of caffeine.

Instant tea has about 20-30 mgs

Caffeine stimulates the heart and respiratory systems, the central nervous system, cardiac muscles, and is also a diuretic. As a stimulant, coffee has a very fast reaction time. Coffee increases mental alertness and activity, which can improve reaction time such as while driving. Coffee was originally used as a medicine to treat asthma, hay fever and depression. Coffee helps relax the bronchial muscles which help to relieve asthma attacks. Caffeine increases the potency of medicines such as aspirin. It is used in treating migraines by constricting the dilated blood vessels and thereby reducing the pain.

Does Espresso have less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee? Yes and no.

A cup of Espresso (approx. 1 ½ oz.) has about as much caffeine as an 8 oz. cup of coffee.

Caffeine in espresso per milliliter is higher than a regular cup of drip coffee.

Be aware that Espresso is prepared by using twice as much coffee per cup, resulting in a much higher content of caffeine. Darker roasted coffee tends to have less caffeine and less acid than lighter roasted beans. During the roasting process some of the caffeine and the acids are burned off. Caffeine stimulates the body much quicker when taken in a concentrated dosage, such as a cup of espresso.

Yes, of course coffee can affect your sleeping pattern and may even prevent you from falling asleep. But, drinking coffee before going to sleep can also cause intense dreams and give us the ability to remember them in better detail.

Coffee Costs?

A pound a coffee will yield about 50-60 cups. If your coffee is $10 to $12 per pound, each cup would be about 15-20 cents per cup of coffee. You’ve got to admit, that’s a relatively affordable beverage—and a wonderful bargain when you consider the quality, enjoyment and benefits.