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Coffee - Where Does That Most Popular Beverage Come From ?

Updated on April 15, 2017
Phyllis Doyle profile image

Food and Beverage is a subject Phyllis loves to explore and write on. She likes to write on the history and origins of foods and beverages.

Cafe Bombon

Cafe Bombon -  espresso served with sweetened condensed milk.
Cafe Bombon - espresso served with sweetened condensed milk. | Source

Coffee Plantations

Where does that most popular beverage called coffee come from? It starts on a coffee plantation.

Coffee production is a major agricultural industry with plantations in many countries around the world. Each country and each plantation will produce a coffee bean with its own distinct flavor.

A Coffee Plantation

A Costa Rica coffee plantation.
A Costa Rica coffee plantation. | Source

Top 5 green coffee producers of 2011 came from plantations in Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, and Ethiopia.

BAGS x 1000
Top 5 producers

Other Coffee Plantations

Other coffee plantations (in order of most produced) are in the countries of Peru, India, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Uganda, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador, Cambodia, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.

For the year 2011, the total production of coffee in the world was 7,875,180 tons.

Coffee Beans

Coffee is made from beans which grow on the coffee plant (coffea). Actually the 'beans' are seeds of the coffee berry, or cherry, which are the fruit produced by the coffee plant. The seed looks like a bean, thus they are called beans.

The two most commonly grown plants are arabica and robusta. Coffea arabica is the most highly regarded. Robusta is a stronger, hardier plant but the taste of the beans is more bitter than the arabica.

Coffee Berries

Coffee berries or cherries.
Coffee berries or cherries. | Source

Dried and Roasted

After the beans are picked and washed they are spread out on concrete slabs out in the sun to dry. Then they are roasted to provide that wonderful flavor coffee lovers crave.

Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans can be purchased for home roasting.
Green coffee beans can be purchased for home roasting. | Source

Roasted Coffee Beans

When the berries turn red they are harvested. The skin and pulp is removed and the seeds (beans) are dried by machine or in the sun. This is quite a process from harvest to this step, for there is a lot involved to get to the seed.

After the green beans are dried, they are roasted to bring out their distinctive flavor. Most coffee beans are roasted in commercial roasting machines. There are two types of roasters that are basic. The drum method tumbles the beans with the heat source under the drum. The hot-air method, with heat forced up through a screen, lifts the beans and keeps them is constant motion till the right roast is achieved.

Judging by eye is the most popular method of determining if the right degree of roast has been reached. It is not as accurate though as listening to the beans. When the beans reach a temperature of about 385 degrees F. they make a cracking sound. This is called "first crack" and the beans enter into a light roast. At about 435 F. the beans hit "second crack" and that sound is when they enter into dark roast. This is when the coffee structure starts to collapse. If roasted too much longer at this point, they will combust.

Roast Your own

If you are wanting to roast your own beans at home, take up the challenge and become a connoisseur of coffee taste. It will be time-consuming and may seem like a lot of trouble, but once you have the equipment you need and the right beans this will become a great and enjoyable hobby. You may find that an organized coffee cubby will become your pride and joy and a delight to show off to guests.

If you have a large kitchen, a special china cabinet to store your equipment in the drawers and your coffee mugs above in the hutch will make an attractive display for your new hobby.

Following are some helpful tips for buying green coffee beans:

  • Research well to find the best deals. Remember that coffee beans pick up distinctive flavor undertones according to where they were grown. Coffee beans grown in Mexico tend to have a hazelnut flavor. Chocolate undertones may be detected in beans from Guatemala.
  • When choosing green coffee beans look for consistency in color, shapes and size - they should all be the same. If the colors differ it indicates a possible problem during the drying process. Different shapes may be because different strains of bean have been mixed in. Look for beans that are the same size so they will roast more evenly.
  • If beans are white around the edges it is indicative of insufficient drying methods. Exposure to polluted water will be detected by pale and discolored beans. Don't buy beans that are black, broken, malformed, or have signs of insect damage.
  • Use your sense of smell to detect any smoke damage or any sign of fermenting.
  • Green coffee beans should feel firm and dry. If they are flexible that shows they were not properly dried and could be susceptible to mold. If the beans are brittle they were dried too long or the temperature was too high.
  • Find out how the beans were stored by the producer. They should be stored separately by strain and their geographic origin so as to retain their distinctive qualities.
  • The processing of green coffee beans should be done immediately after the harvest or they start fermenting right away. overripe or underdeveloped beans should have been removed from the harvest.
  • Buy in bulk to save money. Most plantations will sell in bags of 5 pound increments. Retailers will sell in smaller quantities.

Home Roasting Supplies

What do you need to roast coffee beans at home? For great roasted beans, invest in good quality equipment. It does not have to be really expensive, just be choosey and watch for sales. Here are some suggestions:

  • Coffee grinder
  • Stainless steel dry measuring cup for beans
  • Stainless steel measuring spoons for ground beans
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Wood spatula
  • Stainless steel colander
  • Coffee pot

Keep all these items just for your coffee and store them in a special place. Except for the coffee pot, you will not need to wash any of these items, just wipe them out with paper towels and place them in their own spot in the cubby. The cast iron skillet can be wiped out with paper towels while still quite warm. Make sure you season that skillet when you first buy it.

You can purchase coffee roasters, but they are expensive. An electric wok can work well if it has good temperature controls. A mortar and long-handled pestle can be used for grinding your roasted beans.

This is your new hobby, so make it as simple or grand as you like.

Home Roasting Instructions

This will take some practice till you find the right temperature and timing to roast those beans.

It is necessary to constantly stir the beans as they are roasting and to have good ventilation - roasting coffee beans will produce some smoking. You can roast on the stove top if you have a good overhead fan and open a window if necessary. Or you can roast the beans in your skillet outside on a hibachi, but it will be harder to maintain the right and constant temperature. A gas grill may work well.

Let's use the cast iron skillet to get started on roasting. Place pan on burner and turn the heat to medium. You will learn the exact right temperature as you become more familiar with the roasting process. When pan is hot add the green coffee beans. Stir constantly with your wooden spatula till the beans are evenly browned for a light roast or dark roast. That is it - very simple.

Now grind those beans and brew your coffee.

Roast Your Coffee Beans in a fry pan.

Light Roasted Coffee Beans

Light roasted beans.
Light roasted beans. | Source

Dark Roasted Coffee Beans

Dark roasted beans.
Dark roasted beans. | Source

© 2015 Phyllis Doyle Burns


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    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Rochelle. Thank you for that information. I appreciate it.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      4 years ago from California Gold Country

      Kona coffee comes from Hawaii-- a US state.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Blessings to you, too, dear friend. Me too on loving my coffee. You know, I do not recall if there are coffee growers in the U.S. I will have to check that out - I did do heavy research, just right now cannot remember.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting Phyllis, I love my coffee, and have at least 10 cups a day.

      You did a lot of research on this. I thought maybe there is somewhere in the U.S. coffee is grown.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      You are most welcome, Superfood-guru.

    • Superfood-guru profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank You for spelling out what we were all thinking. "Where does coffee come from"? Very informative hub that leaves me wanting to try new kinds of coffee and even roast my own. Inspiring hub

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi kj. Yes, I have heard of the civet coffee. Isn't that the coffee the Jack Nicholson character in 'Bucket List' loved so much till Morgan Freeman told him where the coffee comes from?

      Thanks for reading and commenting, kj. I appreciate it.

    • kj force profile image


      5 years ago from Florida

      Phyllis...Just a little " disgusting" trivia...

      Kopi luwak (Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈkopi ˈlu.aʔ]), or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).[1] The name is also used for marketing brewed coffee made from the This is a trend of the wealthy and costs $100/ for me love the smell of fresh brew, BUT prefer Green Tea..great job on your article, very informative research...

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Dave and thank you very much for reading and commenting on my coffee hub. I like coffee every day, too. I may try at least once to get some green coffee beans to roast, just for the fun of it. Thanks again, Dave - I appreciate it.

    • DaveOnline profile image

      David Edward Lynch 

      5 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      Thanks for this Hub about where Coffee comes from Phylis; I don't think I'll be roasting my own coffee beans just yet but I certainly like having a few cups of good coffee a day.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Chitrangada and thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures and reading the hub. How fortunate you are to be near the cultivation of coffee.

      Enjoy your coffee and have a great week.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      .This is so informative as well as interesting hub about Coffee!

      Coffee is a unanimous choice when all family sits together at my home. I know about its cultivation etc. but you enlightened me much more about Coffee.

      Coffee is cultivated in Southern India as well. The aroma is just awesome. While reading through your hub and seeing the beautiful pictures, I could just smell it--Such nice presentation!

      Time for a cup of Coffee I suppose!

      Thank you!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Nell. That is too bad coffee disagrees with you. Can you drink decaf? I had an interesting time researching coffee - there is a lot I did not know about the process it goes through.

      Thanks, Nell, for the visit, voting and comment. Take care.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hiy Phyllis, interesting read, I do love coffee but for some reason I can't drink it because it disagrees with me! lol! such a pain as I love the stuff. I knew it was made in quite a number of different countries but thats all, so I learned something new! great hub, voted up, nell

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Peachy. They are rather odd looking. The beans are actually two seeds stuck together. Thanks for the visit and vote - I appreciate it.

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      never expect the actual looks of coffee beans, voted up

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thank you, Manatita.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      I'll let you know. It is film and will perhaps be at a film festival. Have a great Sunday.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hello dear Frank. Hope all is well with you. Yep, coffee is a big industry. There is some concern about global weather changes and the possibility of this endangering the Mountain Coffee plants (Arabica) and their survival. I sure hope that never happens. Arabica beans are the best and highly valued.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Frank - for reading and commenting I thank you. Bless you, my friend.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      this is indeed a very interesting hub.. I knew coffee is cultivated in over 70 countries, but that's all i knew until now, thak you for the share my friend bless you

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Randy. How wonderful to hear from you. You always have some great information about something interesting. I will have to try Blue Mountain coffee. That must be from arabica seeds - Mountain Coffee is another name for Arabica coffee plants. I hope I can find that out here.

      I would love to read your history of coffee. It sure sounds interesting. "The fruit of knowledge", how intriguing is that?

      Thanks so very much for reading and commenting, Randy. I so appreciate this.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Great hub, Phyllis! My favorite coffee is from Jamaica. Blue Mountain coffee is served at most Jamaican resorts and Beth and I always bring home a few pounds when we visit there.

      I wrote a history of coffee on another site and it is a fascinating story. Some believe our earliest ancestors began eating the ripe coffee beans and it caused them to stay awake longer and therefore hastened their knowledge because they observed more instead of sleeping. Perhaps this was the fruit of knowledge. :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Jackie. Thanks for the visit and nice comment. Coffee is always a treat for me. A good mocha with whipped cream is my favorite. Thanks for the votes, Jackie.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Paula. That Bombon sure does look yummy. I am with you - anything to do with coffee I am for it ! Yup - "good to the last drop" dates me, too, so I celebrate that. Good coffee and graceful aging - one of our finer points.

      Thank you, Paula, for your visit and delightful comment. Take care.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Mary. Thanks for the very nice compliment. I think taking up the hobby of being a coffee connoisseur would be great fun, but it sure would be time consuming.

      Thanks for the votes, reading and commenting. I appreciate your visits always.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Faith. I also love a Colombian coffee, dark roast. And I like the hazelnut creamer, too. I am curious to try Mexican coffee. I am thinking the hazelnut essence in it would not be very strong but I bet it is good. The store I shop at has a good selection of roasted beans and a coffee grinder. I love to pick out different coffees and grind them - it smells so good. I keep the ground coffee in a jar with a tight fitted lid in the refrigerator and it stays fresh for quite awhile.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting - and for the votes and share, too. Bless you, Faith.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Manatita and thank you so much for the very nice praise. I will have to go read your poems on coffee - sounds intriguing.

      I would very much like to read your friend's documentary when it is finished.

      Thanks again and many blessings to you.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from the beautiful south

      Very interesting article! I for the most part gave coffee up a few years ago for better health and nerves but I still appreciate a treat of it every now and than! The right cup can be very delicious. ^+

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Carson City

      Well Phyllis....That drink looks as delicious as a rich yummy dessert. Anything that has to do with coffee.....I'll have two or three, thank you.

      I'm one of those Strong ground, freshly- brewed all day coffee lovers. I am totally immune to the effects of caffeine....My tolerance level was passed years ago. I drink coffee right at bed time and sleep like a baby.

      Very interesting hub. I often grind my own beans when I treat myself to a bag of really fine (expensive) coffee beans, but have never "roasted" my own. I thought I was going too far as it was! lol..

      Thanks for this Phyllis! ("Good to the last drop!") nothing like dating myself......Aw hell, who cares anymore? LOL

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      I don't think many people realize what's involved in making coffee for the consumer. I do know after reading your hub there is no way I'd get involved in roasting my own beans. (I don't drink coffee anyway.)

      This was well done and very interesting.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Woo ... now, I have to have my coffee firs thing. I love 100% Bold Colombian coffee. However, in the past I would add just a tad bit of fat free milk, but here lately I have been spoiling myself with the French vanilla creamers and hazelnut, which I love as they had so much more richness to the coffee. Having stated that, I am fascinating about the Mexican coffee beans having a hazelnut flavor. I am not sure where I would fin that so I will stick to just adding the hazelnut creamer to the 10% Colombian. Plus, I am sure the cost would be outrageous but I could be wrong.

      This is always a great to write on it seems. You have added interesting facts otherwise unknown to my first response to your title was "Colombia" LOL

      Blessings always Up and more and will share, etc.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      An excellent article on the coffee bean and its countries of mass production. I wrote two poems on coffee and they are both here.

      One of my friends is hoping to bring out a great documentary on slave labour and the trials of the kids on coffee plantations. I trust that you have a pleasant weekend, Phyllis.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Jodah. I will stick to my regular coffee ways, too. Maybe just once I will try roasting some beans and see what it is like. Thank you so much for reading and your very kind praise. I appreciate the vote, too.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hello Phyllis, this was a very interesting and well written hub. I love my coffee and found this hub a great read. I didn't know that Mexican coffee had a hazelnut flavor and other facts. Although I enjoy my cofee I don't think I will go the trouble of roasting and grinding my own beans etc. That looks like too much trouble to me and I'll leave that to the coffee shops/baristas etc. I'll enjoy it when I am out, and just stick to my instant or drip filter coffee at home. Voted up.


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