Where do I get green beans from?
Pour a handful of green beans into a pan and roast them until dark brown, stirring constantly.
Well, that makes sense to me, but where do I get the raw beans from?
The specialty roasters sell their beans even if they are raw, too. For practice, prices from 20 Francs or higher a kilo are clearly too much for me. On the other hand, there are just 60 kilo sacks from wholesalers available.
What would I do with 60 kilos of coffee? Our monthly consumption of coffee is about 500 grams? Do the math; I'm sitting on a coffee supply for an incredible 10 years! And if I'm not able to roast a reasonably enjoyable coffee, then, yes, everything ends up in the compost.
Finally Blaser Café (a big player in the coffee business in Switzerland) takes pity on me. They take five kilos each from a standard Brazil and a standard Sumatra coffee. Thanks a lot!
This is how my coffee roasting career begins!
Did you know that Switzerland is one of the big player in the international green coffee trade? Although not a single shrub grows here, 70% of the global coffee trade is handled in Switzerland! Personally, I have not been aware of this until recently.
The Coffee Bean
Botanically speaking, the coffee bean is not a bean but the seed of the coffee plant. The fruits are red, similar to a cherry. This is why it is also called the coffee cherry.
However, in a coffee cherry are usually 2 stone seeds. These stones, or seeds, are the coffee beans we are familiar with. They lie with their flattened sides facing each other. Rather rarely it has only one kernel, this phenomenon is also called a pearl or pea bean.
Although there are around 60 different varieties of coffee plants, only Arabica and Robusta beans are important for the global coffee trade.
What we are offered in the supermarkets are mostly blends of the somewhat finer Arabica beans with the harsher Robustas, which contain twice as much caffeine.