Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Power Behind Your Morning Coffee.

January 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Health, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comOften in life, some of the most complex things you have are the ones which are most taken for granted. Cars are an incredible feat of engineering, enabling ordinary people to move around almost entirely freely, but no one will bat an eyelid when they see one go by. This sort of attitude extends to all parts of life, right the way down to the warm cup of caffeine-filled goodness you enjoy each morning. So, what exactly goes into your daily coffee? You may have just enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee made from a robot coffee maker or made in front of you by a barista. But the whole process behind how the coffee was made will interest you.

  • The Grow

Coffee can only be grown in certain parts of the world, thanks to climates and the fragile nature of plantlife. Alongside this, it will take three to four years for a tree to reach maturity, and around eight days are required between picks. During the times when these plants aren’t producing beans, they also aren’t making money, and this can make growing them very expensive. To make this process easier, a lot of farms are moving to automated routes, as this limits the need for employees.

  • The Picking & Processing

Having to pick the cherries from these trees every eight days will also take a lot of work. In the past, humans would do this job, using their eyes to choose only the best of the bunch. Nowadays, though, this process is much more reliant on machines, and a simple shake of a tree can often be enough to dislodge all of the beans which are ready for consumption.

  • The Packing & Shipping

As these beans can only grow in certain parts of the world, coffee will often spend the first part of its life moving around the world. To make this happen, trucks, trains, and boats will all play their part in moving the coffee, and clever systems will be used to make sure that it gets where it needs to go. Before you can ship something, though, it has to be packed, and this will mean using an array of different machines. Most commonly, coffee will come in a simple foil-lined bag, making it easy for businesses to outsource this part of the job.

  • The Grinding

Before any coffee can be made with the beans which have come to the shop, they first have to be ground into a fine powder. There is a very strict science to this part of the process, and a lot of baristas will spend a long time calibrating their grinder to get the best results. These machines don’t come cheap, either, making it important for companies to choose the right one. It’s amazing how much the consistency of the coffee can impact the finished result.

  • The Coffee Machine Itself

Arguably, the machine used to make the coffee you drink is one of the most important parts of the process. Ignoring the skills of the barista serving you, this component of the process will make a huge difference, and a even those new to coffee will be able to tell the difference. Below, you can find an example of each stage in the production of a flat white or latte, along with the machinery needed to do it.

The first part of this process involves pushing high-pressure water through the ground coffee, producing espresso. Getting the pressure right in this process often necessitates the use of a complex componentry which resembles miniature plumbing. Along with this, though, the water also has to be hot, and this will mean a complex array of probes and elements to make sure the right temperature is achieved.

While the espresso is being prepared, most baristas will begin to work on their milk. A steam wand is used for this process, warming the milk while also making it thick and foamy, but this isn’t easy. Moving a gas with a pump isn’t as simple as moving a liquid. Instead, a special tool called a rotary vane pump has to be used, relying on a process of compression to force gases in the right direction. This can make these machines incredibly expensive to repair.

Most people don’t realise how much goes into the coffee the drink each day. While this drink has been popular for a very long time, there isn’t a simple way to make it properly, and this leaves baristas with a difficult job. Nevertheless, though, a lot of people get to enjoy this magical bean, even if they don’t know where it has come from. Next time you drink a warm brew, have a think about the work that has gone into it and the journey your coffee has made along the way.

Staff Writer; Terry Love


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