M and I are BIG coffee drinkers so it only made sense that we would visit a coffee plantation while honeymooning in Costa Rica. As part of a group tour in the Monteverde region of the country, we visited the Don Juan Coffee Plantation. We had the most amazing tour guide, Alex, who taught us about the whole coffee-making process.
During the tour, I realized there were a ton of things I did not know about coffee. And most of the things I thought I knew were wrong. I figure I'm not the only one, so today I am sharing five things you probably didn't know about coffee.
1. COFFEE BEANS MUST BE HAND PICKED. You heard right. Hand picking is seriously an art. Machines cannot be used to pick the ripe red cherries because not all of the berries on the plant ripen at the same time. There is a very small window of picking once the cherries ripen because they start to ferment quickly. Sadly, pickers make very little money for how laborious the job is. Alex told us that it is very hard to find pickers because all of the plantations in the area need them around the same time and it is not a very desirable job.
2. LIGHTER ROASTS HAVE MORE CAFFEINE. The longer the beans are roasted, the less caffeine they have. For some reason I always assumed that darker roasts had more caffeine.Update: I have been informed by someone in the industry that the caffeine content in coffee actually remains pretty stable throughout the roasting process, so lighter and darker roasts have the same amount of caffeine. The difference comes when you use weight to measure out the amount of coffee you use to brew. A lighter roaster coffee bean is heavier than a darker roaster bean, as it's water content is higher (less water has been roasted out of the bean).
3. BREWED COFFEE HAS MORE CAFFEINE THAN ESPRESSO. SAY WHAT?! Turns out that the water added in brewed coffee interacts with the caffeine, which makes it stronger. Also, adding milk to your coffee decreases the amount of caffeine it has, BLACK COFFEE EVERYDAY!!! The plantation had a really great caffeine comparison chart that I wish I had to share with you all!
5. COFFEE BEANS HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF PEANUTS BEFORE ROASTING. The beans do not even smell like coffee yet at this point because that is what the roasting accomplishes.
I would highly recommend going on a coffee tour if you are ever in a region known for coffee. It was such a great experience and the staff were incredibly knowledgeable.