8.21.2014

5 Things You Didn't Know About Coffee

Things you didn't know about coffee
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. 

Don Juan Coffee Plantation Tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica
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.

Coffee beans: light to dark roast

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!

unripe coffee bean plants
4. THE BEAN ONLY MAKES UP 20% OF THE COFFEE CHERRY. So what happens to the rest of the cherry? It is used as compost to grow more coffee plants! Being a sustainability freak, I was pretty excited to hear this!

Unroasted coffee beans look like peanuts
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.

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25 comments :

  1. This is SO cool, and you're right, I didn't know these things. Now I can tell everyone I actually learned something today. lol. :) Time to start buying the light roasts!

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  2. Hahaha right?! And hello brewed coffee! Although I do love my Americanos!

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  3. I literally knew none of these.

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  4. Wow, thank you for sharing. Yup, I didn't know any of that haha

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  5. I hope it helps you enjoy your coffee even more now!

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  6. This is super cool! I am a huge coffee drinking and did not know any of this! I think its so neat they are not the dark color before roasting!! Wow!

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  7. I know!! I was totally fascinated!

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  8. Cool! As a fellow coffee addict, this was really fun to read!

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  9. Glad you enjoyed it Beka! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  10. Oh man, I wish I drank coffee!! Very interesting!

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  11. How do you not drink coffee?! That's crazy to me haha

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  12. This is so interesting! I don't drink coffee but husband is obsesses with the stuff! I think he would be really interested in doing a tour like this.

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  13. Nope! Never have. And I don't really drink soda either...so I live mostly caffeine free.

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  14. such a fun post! I'm a hugeeee coffee girl--so I'm loving this!!

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  15. Wow! Impressive! I don't drink soda... Unless it's mixed with alcohol haha

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  16. I'm sure you would love a tour even if you aren't a coffee drinker! :)

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  17. I go to go on a coffee tour in Venezuela..super fascinating!! Glad you had such a great time.:)

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  18. Well this was fun to read!!! So interesting!! :) HA! I didn't know that adding milk lessened the strength of the caffeine!

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  19. Glad you enjoyed! And isn't that an odd fact?! Who knew!

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  20. So interesting. Starbucks told me once about how the lighter roast has more caffeine. I still like my dark roast coffee. I like the strong flavor. I would love to go on a coffee tour, this is so interesting!!

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  21. I prefer darker roasts too, but now I know what to go with if I need a caffeine kick! Glad you enjoyed it

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  22. A shot of espresso has about 75 mg of caffeine where as a 16 oz cup of coffee is around 300. So at Starbucks our grande lattes have half the amount of caffeine!

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