The ‘story of coffee’ began in the 12th Century. One legend has it that coffee originated from the Garden of Eden; and the Mufti (or ruler) of Eden was said to be the first person on earth who had the great opportunity of drinking coffee. Another legend tells of how Kaldai, an Ethiopian shepherd boy, who noticed that his goats were becoming refreshed, jumping about and never wanting to sleep after eating some red seeds from a ‘coffee’ tree. Kaldai tasted these red seeds, and also found that he felt vigorous and wide awake. The popularity of coffee spread across the continents - from Africa to India and along the Mediterranean countries – on the routes traveled by Muslim pilgrims and Mid-Eastern sea merchants.
In the late 17th century, Dutch merchants planted coffee trees they had brought over from the Mocha Village on their island colony of Indonesia. Later on, the French tried to plant coffee trees in Brazil, and were successful. As a result, since then Brazil has become the largest coffee producing country in the world to this day.
Coffee spread into Thailand in the 18th century. Several campaigns were then launched to promote the planting of coffee trees, instead of growing opium, in the Northern region of Thailand.
There are various types and varieties of coffee seeds. The most popular coffee seeds are Arabica and Robusta.
As a result of this outstanding character and great taste, Arabica is the most widely-planted and popular type of coffee consumed in the world, especially since Arabica coffee contains about half the amount of caffeine compared to Robusta coffee.
However, Arabica coffee can be planted only in limited regions or areas around the world, and cannot withstand diseases or weather changes. Arabica coffee is widely-planted in the Northern region of Thailand. While Robusta coffee has the ability to withstand diseases, it also gives an abundance coffee bean output and has a very strong taste - but with little bitterness. Also, Robusta is not expensive and widely used to produce instant coffee as well as ready-to –drink coffee sold in cans, markets for which have a very high global value.
Therefore, there has been continuous growing and production of Robusta coffee in the world markets; and Robusta coffee is mostly-planted in the Southern region of Thailand.
Coffee trees are medium-height shrubs at approximately 3-4 meters tall. After 2-3 years, the coffee trees will bear flowers and small red-green berries, which can be then harvested. The ripe red coffee berries are called "Coffee Cherries" - containing the inner raw round shaped coffee bean that can be split in 2 halves.
Harvesting coffee berries has 3 periods. The first period is when the coffee berries are 70% ripe; the second period is 2-3 weeks after the first harvest, and the third period is 2-3 weeks after the second harvest.
The production process of coffee beans is as follows.
1. Dry process: is a method of drying the coffee cherries in the sun and the outer layers of the dried cherries are then removed by a hulling process. An advantage of this ‘dry process’ is that it is low cost; but the disadvantage is that the moisture from the outer layers of the cherries result in the coffee beans having a bad smell and an unpleasant taste.
2. Wet process: is a method of sorting out defective coffee cherries though a hulling process to separate the outer layers. After that, the coffee cherries are immersed in water to ferment them for approximately 24 to 36 hours; and the skins of the coffee cherries are then removed. The remaining raw coffee beans are washed thoroughly, dried in the sun, and hulled again to remove any remaining thin inner parchment skins. Finally, the raw inner coffee beans become green and blue.
The key benefit of this ‘wet process’ is that it produces high quality raw coffee beans without them absorbing any surrounding bad smells. It is widely used with the production of Arabica coffee. However, the main disadvantage is that it involves many processes, consumes a huge amount of water, has high production costs, and requires many various types of equipments in its production process.
Arabica coffee beans and Robusta coffee beans
1. Arabica coffee has an oval shaped and a long hard small size raw coffee bean. It is very aromatic and has a smooth taste. It is most popular among experienced coffee drinkers, because its taste is not too strong – with Arabica coffee containing only 0.8-1.4% caffeine.
2. Robusta coffee has a circular and bent shaped bean - similar to a tortoise’s back. Robusta coffee beans are bigger than Arabica coffee beans and its taste is strong with a little bitterness. Robusta coffee contains 1.7 - 4.0% caffeine.
Black Canyon selects premium Grade A Arabica coffee beans to be served in each and every cup of its high quality specialty coffee drinks.
Coffee beans must be stored in a well-ventilated building. Black Canyon uses modern roasting machinery to produce its own signature Arabica coffee beans - which changes colors from green and blue to yellow and light brown similar to the color of cinnamon. Then, it gradually becomes darker and finally turns a dark brown color. The coffee beans roasting process produces both light-roasted coffee beans as well as dark-roasted coffee beans.
Grinding coffee beans involves several processes. The more finely it is ground, the stronger the taste will become, since finely ground coffee beans will react to oxygen and water much quicker, and this results in a much stronger coffee taste.
Black Canyon ensures the consistent quality standard of its coffee brewing process by using imported Espresso Machines, which applies a constant steam pressure to ground coffee beans contained in a ‘Portafilter’. As a result, it gives such a strong coffee drink known as an ‘Espresso’ shot.
Key steps in brewing high quality Espresso or a ‘Perfect Shot’ are as follows:
1. Use fresh Arabica coffee beans which have been medium or dark roasted.
2. Appropriately-grind the coffee beans.
3. Use of 7- 9 gram of ground coffee per one Expresso shot.
4. Use 30 pounds (or 16 kilograms) of pressure on the coffee ‘Portafiller’.
5. Use hot water, at a pressure of between 9-10 Bar, for the extraction of the coffee essence.
6. The entire process of extracting the coffee essence is between 23 and 28 seconds.
7. The end result is an ‘Expresso coffee shot’ of between 1 and 1.25 ounces (or 30-38 milliliters).
8. There should also be a golden brown ‘crema layer’ of approximately 0.4 millimeters, on the top of the Expresso coffee shot, which will last for about 1 minute.
Coffee brewing is both a science and an art, requiring experienced experts to brew the best coffee. Drinking coffee increases aesthetic appreciation. Also drinking aromatic and luscious coffee can inspire, enhance and sustain one’s imagination.
The journey of the coffee bean is such an incredible story; starting from the olden time of history and continuing to the present day. It has travelled from one side of the world to another; and has become your favorite cup of coffee. It is not only the premium coffee that you drink; but it also includes a good story that you get from your favorite cup.
Similarly, Black Canyon coffee has had a long journey through time - from a dream of a group of coffee lovers to becoming a proud Thai legend.