So as we said before Christmas, coffee is not (as the name suggests) a
bean. Coffee fruit is similar to a cherry and grows on a plant (more
of a bush), and the coffee ‘bean’ is actually the seed of the fruit.
Sometimes you will see ‘cascara tea’ for sale in speciality coffee
shops, which is tea made simply by steeping the dried coffee fruit
flesh in hot water.
So where does coffee come from?
Coffee originated in Ethiopia as a wide variety of wild growing
plants. The Dutch were the first to commercially spread coffee around
the world and the variety they used was ‘Typica’. Typica is the original
commercial variety all other commercial coffees have descended from
this through mutation or genetic selection.
A great way to think about coffee is that it is similar to apples.
Everyone knows that there are many variety of apple from Granny Smith
to Braeburn to Golden Delicious – they are all very recognisable types
of apple, and share many of the same flavours and characteristics but
they are also very different; coffee is the same.
Looking back at our current Jailbreak blend from Has Bean, it currently
contains two popular varieties: Bourbon and Caturra.
Bourbon is a naturally occurring mutation of Typica from the island of
Réunion, named Bourbon at the time. Bourbon is a higher yielding
variety than Typica, in that it grows more fruit, and is also believed to be
sweeter, making it a desirable coffee.
Caturra is a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil in 1937. Again
it is high yielding and has generally high cup quality.
Next time we are going to be talking about how coffee is processed to
produce coffee beans that we recognise.