Specialty coffee, or high-quality coffee, grows well only in particular places of the world: at specific elevations in nations that are often positioned between the appropriate latitudes, or what is known as “The Belt” coffee (Bean Belt). This belt contains more than 50 coffee-growing countries; however, they produce specialty coffees. Some countries, such as Vietnam, concentrate on Robusta development, while others focus on low-quality Arabica beans meant for instant coffee and other commercial forms of coffee. Meanwhile, several countries develop specialty coffees to make significant revenues.
So, what makes the above difference? Are some regions fortunate enough to have inherited climates that allow high-quality coffee to grow? At that time, whether a potential seed source is more important than geography, soil, rainfall, altitude, etc. When all the factors that determine the price, quality, and reputation of a coffee are based on flavor potential ideas – this is where we need to define what flavor potential is?
A new idea of the quality coffee beans
First, it’s essential to know that different tools and brewing methods are designed to extract the necessary flavors in the beans. This article focuses on the factors that make coffee taste like this, from the different types of beans and where they are grown to how they are processed and roasted… Hence, the extraction process or equipment. The concoction will be placed outside the (quality) frontier – since we’re only looking at flavors, not the ability to extract them.
Second, despite its small size, the coffee bean is highly complex and is still revealing new aspects of our knowledge after centuries of consumption. And throughout the history of coffee, the art of roasting or processing has been seen as “mainstream” or “mainstream” when it comes to harnessing the potential of coffee’s flavor. On the contrary, the idea of studying the flavor potential of seeds from a geographical space associated with factors such as species, farming practices, etc., is relatively new, and there is still much to learn.
The flavor potential of seeds analysis coffee
In The Craft Coffee, sciences Christopher H. Hendon showed that the outcome of any cup of coffee depends on four key variables: The flavor potential of green (unroasted) beans; Roasting process; Water Quality, and Coffee Brewing Techniques. However, H. Hendon does not assume that each of the above variables accounts for an equal proportion of the quality function.
Accordingly, the flavor potential of green coffee beans has the most significant influence on the quality of the cup (so large that 2/3 of this article will be devoted to it) – Its impact is enormous compared to other brands. Roasted coffee beans, water quality, and preparation techniques (as shown in the chart above). On the other hand, you can approach this problem differently: there are always certain limits to a roaster, the technique of a barista, and the standard of the brew. But there has never been a limit to the quality of green coffee because this characteristic is governed by many more minor variables, which are extremely difficult to control, such as climate, soil, season, etc.
Factors affecting flavor potential coffee
From a variety of peer-reviewed scientific literature, the following seven factors have been shown to influence the impact coffee flavor potential of coffee: Genetic origin, cultivation altitude, pests and diseases, processing techniques processing, drying, sorting, and storage. It should be noted, though, that there are things we haven’t studied/can’t study, don’t seem to play a role, or don’t have enough information to conclude their effects: light levels, soil type, source of fertilizers, agrochemicals, tree age, etc. (according to The Little Coffee Know-It-All, Shawn Steiman )
To put it more simply, Britta Folmer’s The Craft and Science of Coffee has further explored the aspect of coffee bean quality before roasting to show that: The potential flavor of each coffee bean is determined by a combination of three pillars: Environmental factors, Genetic factors, and Agricultural practices; Now things seem a little more complicated. However, you don’t need to compare whether we should listen to Britta Folmer or Shawn Steiman. Because of the bean coffee volatile knowledge, it doesn’t show how to produce a good cup of coffee; instead, we know how to avoid potential spoilage. Its taste.
The division of factor groups
All of the factors mentioned above are important, but their interaction with each other is most important. It should be well understood by coffee producers who want to produce high-quality coffee that some factors can be adjusted while others cannot. Scientific knowledge and evidence have accumulated over centuries of coffee farming, but many aspects are still new.
While environmental factors such as cultivation altitude, climatic conditions, and soil fertility are almost fixed and difficult to modify, to some extent, agricultural practices can be adjusted; for example, with proper shading, irrigation and fertilization, but they will never fully compensate for unsuitable environmental conditions. But, once given the favor from the ecological conditions, coffee farmers will have to choose the variety and type of coffee with the desired flavor potential – Research has proven that all coffee varieties are not equivalent in quality, and some will never produce the best quality.
Terroir – Optimal Condition
Instead of calling it all environmental factors – The coffee industry used to have a more concise and meaningful term, “Terroir.”
Back to the problem mentioned at the beginning, coffee is present worldwide. Still, they only focus on distribution and development in a particular area – which we often call the coffee belt (The Coffee Belt). His area is about 1,000km around the equator that is limited between 23 degrees north latitude and 23 degrees south latitude. Most countries that produce commercial to specialty coffee are located in this region and are individually profiled in a coffee map.
However, the high-quality coffee cultivar in the world requires more than the correct coordinates on the map. Everything about the environment related to the growth of the coffee plant is called Terroir (a term used in the wine industry before the coffee is mentioned). We place coffee plants on mineral-rich soil, covered by a warm tropical climate with lots of rain, a moderate amount of shade, and enough altitude to prolong the development time, helping the beans accumulate—more nutrients, leading to higher flavor potential. Then, the sum of these factors can be understood as “optimal conditions” or Terroir.
Although some exceptions exist, most of the highest quality coffees are developed into a suitable Terroir. But realistically – Terroir should only be understood as the set of factors ideal for coffee growth, not each coffee from a Terroir having a distinct flavor profile, as with 26 million farmers and 87 coffee-growing countries, the number of Terroirs (if it has to be calculated) will reach 5,977 – that is to admit 5,977 types of coffee differ markedly in taste, nuance (completely impossible, and we’ll leave Terroir here for now).
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