What is worth knowing about the green coffee beans?

For the coffee farmers, the raw, green coffee beans are the result of their hard efforts. For the coffee consumer, this is just the beginning. Many coffee connoisseurs may not be aware that there are very large differences in the green coffee beans, which are crucial to the taste and experience of the cup of coffee you end up enjoying.
The green coffee bean is the cleaned and dried core of a coffee berry. When coffee berries are harvested from the coffee trees, the pulp around the coffee bean must be removed. Next, the coffee bean must be dried so that the water content reaches about 18% and the bean thus avoids putrefaction. In fact, raw green coffee beans can last for 2 years or more if stored properly.
Although it can be difficult to see with the naked eye, then there are huge differences in green coffee beans, which affect their taste, aroma, and other qualities in the final cup of coffee. There are three major factors that affect the taste of beans:
  1. Coffee : There are a number of different coffees, but the two main categories are "Arabica" and "Robusta". Arabica is the most widespread variety, and in some people's opinion also the best, while Robusta is to some extent seen as an inferior variety. Robusta is often used for consumption coffee, but is also used in specialty coffee blends (especially for espresso-based coffees, because it has a higher caffeine content and it leaves a fine cream in the coffee).
  2. Environment: As with wine, the taste and aroma quality of coffee are affected by the soil in which they are grown, the height of the field and the weather. Therefore, it is essential for the coffee maker to understand which regions, countries and in some cases even which farmers or fields cultivate the qualities that one appreciates.
  3. Finishing : There are two primary ways to remove the pulp around the coffee bean, which are called "Washed" and "Natural". In a washed process, the pulp is removed with water, while the natural lets the pulp dry in, after which it is removed. This means that in the natural process, the pulp gives off additional flavors to the coffee bean in the drying process.

In other words, it is in the selection of and in some cases mixture of green beans, that the foundation is laid for exactly the coffee experience you want when the coffee is roasted, ground and brewed. And here one can talk about a very wide range of flavor notes - in fact reportedly more than what is applicable to wine. Therefore, the coffee world also has its very own way of talking about these aromas, often visualized as in this 'coffee wheel':