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History | Types | Processing | Storage | Grinding | Brewing | Ratings/Reviews | Links:

Coffee is is more complicated complicate than you think, different varieties, how to store, how to grind, .... This is a place where I list a few subtopics I have looked into. See links below for more information.

Brewing coffee was probably started in Ethopia and southern Arabia around the 15th century.
The Dutch East India Company (Netherlands 1602-1800) was the first to import coffee on a large scale.
  In 1956 the modern generation of coffeehouses take hold in places like San Francisco's North Beach and in New York's Greenwich Village, the poets and intellectuals, known as Beatniks hangout.

In 1966 Alfred Peet, a Dutch-American, whose father ran a small roastery in Holland opens Peet's Coffee in Berkeley, California. He later is credited as the "grandfather" of the specialty coffee industry.

In 1971 Jerry Baldwin and two other friends of Alfred Peet open the first Starbucks in Seattle.

In 1972 the first automatic drip home coffee maker (Mr. Coffee) was introduced by Vincent Marotta in Cleveland, Ohio. The drip coffee maker dripped water at 200° F thru coffee grounds replacing the percolator which used boiling (212°) water.

In 1982 Howard Schultz, a drip coffee maker salesman, joins Starbucks as Director of Marketing. He sets off to Milan, Italy and sees cafes on practically every block where one can have an outstanding espresso. These cafes also serve as meeting places and are a big part of the societal fabric. There are 200,000 of them in Italy.
Schultz advises the company, they should sell coffee and espresso drinks, as well as the beans. The owners Jerry, Zev, and Gordon rejected this idea.

In 1984 Starbucks buys Peet's four Bay Area locations.
In 1985 Schultz starts his own successful coffee chain.
In 1987 The owners sell the 9 Starbucks stores to Howard Schultz for $3.8 million to focus on Peet's. They enter into a no-compete agreement in the Bay Area.
The rest you know about.
As of 2007 they had averaged 2 new stores per day.

See Coffee History | GoCoffeeGo

Coffee is cultivated across the world in a belt generally bounded by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
In 2010 Brazil was the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia.
Specialty coffee accounts for 40% of all coffee sold in the United States.
Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body, and acidity.


  • The cherries (berries) are picked by hand.
  • Remove bad fruit, those which float when put in water.
  • There are two processes from here. The Dry proces is most common.
    • "DRY" process, producing so-called "Natural" coffees; this is adopted mostly in Brazil and Western Africa. Desiccation takes place via sun exposure on lands reserved for that purpose, and the berries are continuously stirred to expose them evenly to the sun's rays for a period of 15 to 20 days. Alternatively, after two or three days, coffee can be put in drying rooms, where it is dried by the heat of a burner at 45-60 degrees C.
      All the outer layers of the dried cherry are removed in one step by the hulling machine.
    • "WET" process, which is more demanding and difficult (and expensive). From this process are obtained the so-called "Washed" or "Mild" coffees. This method is adopted in Central America, Mexico, Colombia, Kenya and Tanzania. The processing stages are: berry cleaning, maceration, removal of pulp, fermentation, desiccation (extreme drying), and peeling; and final operations designed to remove any residual impurities, and to give glossiness to the beans.
  • Milling and hulling to remove the last layers of dry skin and remaining fruit residue leaving the seeds/beans ready for roasting.
  • Aging - Although it is still widely debated, certain types of green coffee are believed to improve with age. The aging process produces a less acidic taste with a more well-balanced flavor.
  • Roasting - Usually happens much closer to the place where the coffee will be consumed. Starbucks has 5 roasting plants in, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington, USA, and the Netherlands.
Coffee naturally: growing, harvesting and roasting coffee in Townsville, North Queensland - YouTube

All coffees consist of arabica or robusta beans, or a combination. Arabica beans are more expensive and tend to make better coffee.

  • Arabica is descended from the original Ethiopian coffee trees. The coffee made from this variety is mild and aromatic. It's the king of coffee and accounts for about 70 percent of the world's coffee production.
  • Robusta coffee trees represent about 30 percent of the world's market. The bean is smaller and rounder than an arabica bean. Robusta is a heartier plant and can withstand warmer temperatures, up to 85° F. It can also thrive at lower altitudes than arabica. Robusta beans produce a bitter-tasting coffee with about 50 percent more caffeine than arabica. You'll find robusta coffee trees in Southeast Asia and Brazil.
See "How Coffee Works" | HowStuffWorks
and List of coffee varieties - Wikipedia


  • Light Roasts - Light brown in color. This roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties.
  • Medium Roasts - Medium brown in color with a stronger flavor, and a non-oily surface. This roast is often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.
  • Medium--Dark Roasts - Rich, dark color with some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste
  • Dark Roasts - Shiny black beans with a oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred and the names are often used interchangeably which can be very confusing.
When specialty or fancy coffee first took off starting in the 1970's through the 1990's, it was dominated by darker roasted coffees pioneered by Alfred Peet.

By the late 1990's, however, the roast-style pendulum had slowly started to swing back toward the light side. This happened at both ends of the market: at the high end with pioneers of the medium-roasted style like Terroir Coffee, and at the mass end of the market with the expanding popularity of the Dunkin' Donuts blend and the successful debut of the upgraded McDonald's premium drip blend.
See McCafè and Starbucks instant | Consumer Reports

See Coffee Basics - varieties, roasts, and storage. | About.com
Coffee roasting - Wikipedia

There are a thousand and one recommendations on how to store ground coffee.
Coffee's biggest enemies: moisture, heat, air and light.

At home, coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Although some people advocate keeping coffee beans in either the refrigerator or freezer, this can present issues with exposure to circulating air, excess humidity, and absorption of rogue flavors.

Coffee Home Direct says, "As soon as you remove your coffee from the freezer, you should never put it back in." Condensation can form and adversely affect taste, as the frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean, which deplete the flavorful oils. Temperature fluctuation is not good either.
The best way to combat this is to divvy up your grounds or beans into small, air-tight packages so you can use just one at a time and preserve the integrity of the rest of your coffee."

Although I couldn't find it on a web page, it seems to me if you refrigerate or freeze your beans you should leave them sealed in the container until they reach room temperature, otherwise condensation on the cold beans will add moisture.
I actually ruined my grinder with frozen beans, because the damp grounds clogged up the exit tube causing the motor to overheat.

Other comments:

  • Never keep coffee in a freezer or fridge, it dries it out too much. Just store in an air tight container in the cupboard, away from heat.
  • It's ok to freeze beans, but not ground coffee.
  • Use freshly roasted coffee within about 14 days of roasting. After that flavor goes downhill especially if it's not in a valve bag.
  • Whole Coffee Beans - Should be stored in an air-tight canister in a dry dark, place at room temperature. they will be at their best for about a month after they are roasted (most fine coffees are roasted just before they are sold).
  • Ground Beans - Ground beans don's stay fresh as long as whole beans because more surface area is exposed. Keep ground beans in an air-tight canister in a a dry dark, place at room temperature for approximately two weeks.

See Storing Ground Coffee | Coffee Home Direct,
Freezer or fridge, canister or Ziploc? 4 tips to store coffee | ROASTe.com
and Storing Coffee Beans, Coffee Beans | WhatsCookingAmerica.net

Grinding see Grind Coarseness in Coffee grinders

Use a full coffee measure (two tablespoons) of coffee per six fluid ounces of water.
If you prefer a milder cup, brew to full strength, and then dilute with hot water. Brewing with too little coffee will result in over-extraction, and that means bitterness.
- Use freshly ground coffee
- Use a clean brewer - A simple scrub with a vinegar and water solution will do the trick.

In "Don't Be Afraid of Strong Coffee!" - The Atlantic - 2009 Jerry Baldwin, co-founder of Starbucks in Seattle, says:
  Most people say they don't want it "too strong," but no one really wants it weak. When we introduced Peet's coffee to travelers at San Francisco International Airport, we feared that those unfamiliar with our very hefty brewed coffee would be put off by its strength. So we offered two versions, regular and mild. Very, very few people wanted anything but "strong coffee."
  On first sip, people who haven't tasted Peet's before say, "This is strong." By the third or fourth sip, they say, "This is good."
  If you can see through the coffee to the bottom of the cup, you're in trouble.

Coffee Review : The World's Leading Coffee Buying Guide 2014
Origin of top rated coffees (rating 93-96): Ethopia-19, Keyna-8, Columbia-5, Rawanda-5, Sumatra-4, El Salvador-3, Panama-3, Brazil-2, Guatamala-1, Honduras-1, Equador-1

JBC Coffee Roasters - Gelgelu Adame Ethiopia Yirgacheffe 96
                      Organic Natural Process
latch Coffee - Kenya Makwa AB 96
Simon Hsieh's Aroma Roast Coffees - Ethiopia Washed Yirgacheffe "Mini-Me" 2014 96
Temple Coffee and Tea - Panama Los Lajones Bambu Geisha 96
Klatch Coffee - Kenya Makwa AB 96
Barrington Coffee Roasting Co. - Panama Gesha Perci Red 96
Tony's Coffees & Teas - Colombia Cerro Azul Geisha 95
ChacolaTAY - Kenya Nyeri Tambaya AA  95
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters - Guji Zone Ethiopia 95
Equator Coffees & Teas - Colombia Cerro Azul Enano 94
Sightglass Coffee - Colombia Finca Monte Verde  94
Temple Coffee and Tea - El Salvador Santa Elena Honey Pacamara 94
Revel Coffee - Ethiopia Gedeo Yirgacheffe 94
ChacolaTAY - Ethiopia Moplaco Yirgacheffe 94
CQ Coffee Roasters - Rwanda Karongi Gitesi 94
Four Barrel Coffee  Rwanda Cotecaga Bourbon  93
Papa Lin's Coffee Roasting Rwanda Karongi Gitesi 93
Victrola Coffee Roasters - Honduras Santa Barbara Beneficio
               San Vicente Caracolillo    93
CQ Coffee Roasters - Sumatra Lintong Dolok Sanggul 93

Top rated in Consumer Reports with scores of 51-54.
Starbucks House Blend
Green Mountain Coffee Signature Nantucket Blend Medium Roast
Dunkin' Donuts Dunkin' Dark Roast 
Starbucks Decaf House Blend
Allegro Coffee Allegro Blend Light Roast (Whole Foods)
Archer Farms Breakfast Blend (Target)
Peet's Coffee Decaf House
Peet's Coffee House Blend
Sam's Choice House Blend Medium Roast (Walmart)
Starbucks vs McDonald's at Coffee Review , 2009:
It appears that at this front of the war you get what you pay for, particularly when it comes to drinks that include syrups and whipped cream.

Although we preferred the more intense Starbucks cappuccino to the milkier McDonald's version, many consumers understandably may prefer the McDonald's. The difference in caffè lattes was subtle, perhaps not worth fussing over for most palates, although we found the Starbucks version livelier and more nuanced.

However, the superiority of the Starbucks versions of caffè mocha and caramel latte was dramatic, and significant, given consumer preference for espresso beverages involving added syrups. From what we could tell, Starbucks simply used considerably better quality syrups and whipped cream and added them with a subtler, more controlled hand.

Finally, it appeared to us that the darker roasted, sharper and more pungent Starbucks espresso blend, although much derided by coffee insiders ("Charbucks"), nevertheless contributed a livelier and more complex coffee flavor to the milk and flavorings than did the apparently rather woody and flat McDonald's blend.

Coffee Basics - varieties, roasts, and storage. | About.com
Coffee - Wikipedia
Coffee grinders and grind types
National Coffee Association
Coffee Home Direct
Coffee Forum
CoffeeGeek - CoffeeGeek Discussions
K Cup Coffee
Coffee History | GoCoffeeGo

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last updated 22 Oct 2012