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From Coffee Beans to Coffee.

A coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant. It is found in the pit inside the red or purple fruits that grow on the plant. The fruits known as coffee cherries or berries contain two stones with their flat sides together. Coffee beans contain caffeine which is why the plants are cultivated.

The coffee berry differs from plant to plant. Generally the coffee berry is red when ripe, however, some are yellow, and yet, others are brown. The picked berries are sorted. This is typically done by hand, but machines are also used to do the job. The berries are sorted by color, size, and looks. Unripe or imperfect beans are removed. Actually it is when the beans are ripe and the pulp is soft that the bean gets easily extracted.

After the coffee bean is extracted it is put through a machine to remove the parchment and the mucilage. The bean is washed again and dried. It is then re-sorted. The over-fermented, scraped, cracked, hollow, black and the rotten beans are removed. But these beans are seldom discarded. They are used for lower grade local commodity coffee.

The major difference between Arabica and Robusta coffees is the caffeine amount. Arabica generally has caffeine percentages of 1.1 to 1.7 percent and Robusta has between 2 to 4.5 percent. Robusta coffee tastes more bitter and is sharper than Arabica.

It takes about 5 pounds of berries to yield 1 pound of green coffee beans. On the average, a single tree will produce about 1 to 2 pounds of green beans. The coffee crops are constantly harvested all the time. A worker can pick about 25 to 35 pounds of green beans a day in coffee berries if they pick only the ripe berries from the plant at any given time.

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