The Composition of Coffee

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Coffee cherries are produced by a small evergreen tree.  These berries turn from green to bright yellow to crimson red (in most cases).  When they are ripe, they are picked and processed in several different ways.  The cherry is broken down into several different layers in the diagram on the far right.  The first layer is the pulp, fruit, or mucilage.  This is a sticky, honey-like layer that is sweet and somewhat piney in flavor.  After this layer is dried or washed off, the bean’s next layer is exposed.  This next layer is called the parchment, which is similar to the hull of a popcorn kernel.  The silver skin is exposed after the parchment is removed. This layer has to be polished off the bean, as it is sticks very close to the bean.  The skin that is not removed will fall off during the roasting process and is referred to as chaff.  After all the layers are cleaned off, the green coffee bean is all that remains.

Filed in: Coffee