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A whole latte coffee love

A Whole Latte Love: Coffee Production Explained

Britain has been known for its committed tea drinkers but this reputation is changing. Over the years there has been an exponential rise in the number of people choosing the bean over the leaf for their caffeine kick. It is no surprise when the quality of UK coffee has increased so much over the last decade or so.
It is now possible to enjoy a truly unique cup of coffee from a local roastery and which has been prepared by an expert barista in most parts of the UK. In fact, there are now over 412 coffee roasteries in the UK, each one with its own sourced beans and method of production.
The coffee market in the UK is now worth over £10 billion and is predicted to grow by 8.28% annually between 2021 and 2025.

Riding the Waves

Coffee arrived in Europe in the 1600s and coffeehouses soon emerged in the UK. The stimulating power of a cup of coffee was recognised early for its potential to transform cultural interactions, so much so that Charles II tried to ban London coffeehouses. Fortunately, coffee thrived and its growth and impact have continued to expand. These cultural shifts in the influence of coffee have been documented as waves.
• First Wave (1800s): coffee first becomes a widely known consumer commodity.
• Second Wave (1970s): giant corporate brands like Starbucks begin to open their franchises around the world and transform coffee in the eyes of the consumer.
• Third Wave (2000s): both the producer and consumer of coffee make their coffee choices based on the origin of the coffee bean and the method of production. Coffee is viewed as an artisanal speciality and is appreciated by connoisseurs.

Types of Bean

There are many variables that make a good cup of coffee what it is. As the coffee industry underwent its third wave the consumer became more discerning. It is now commonly remarked that coffee has a broader range of tasting notes than wine.
Most independent and specialist coffee suppliers will only use 100% Arabica coffee beans as the flavour characteristics tend to be much more refined.

Origin

The location of where the coffee is grown is what makes each bean so different. Both the altitude of the coffee plantation and its nearness to the equator contribute to the distinctiveness of the bean.

Processing Method

The two main ways of processing coffee once it has been harvested and before it is shipped off to a roastery are called natural and washed.
• Natural process: this is the oldest way of processing coffee. The coffee cherry is the outside layer around the bean and is kept on the bean and dried in the sun to be removed afterwards. Natural beans can yield a hearty fruit flavour, cost less to produce and use less water, which is beneficial in arid conditions.
• Washed process: the cherry is removed from the bean and the bean is fermented in water. Once it has been fermented the bean is then taken out, cleaned, and dried in a similar way to the natural

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process. Washed beans often yield a more complex flavour and a cleaner taste. Washed beans are a part of what made coffee so intriguing during the third wave in the industry, owing to the refined and clear flavour which comes through.
There are also other processing methods, such as honey and semi-washed.

Roasteries and Coffee shops

The job of a good roastery is to source the highest quality coffee available from the plantations and to choose a roasting method that will work best. Much of the taste and aroma of coffee comes from the roasting method chosen. The acidity, flavour and body of the coffee all depend on the length of time taken in roasting the beans. When roasted at higher temperatures, the beans develop oils on their surface. At around 205°C the beans crack and at 225°C they crack for a second time. Beans tend not to be roasted over 250°C as they will taste burnt. Each varying temperature of roasting affects the character of the coffee.
Once roasted and packaged, the roastery then sells its product to whichever café, bar or shop has decided to work with them. The relationship between an independent coffee shop and a roastery is an important one. For a coffee shop to be successful it needs to stock high-quality beans with a reliable consistency to match. A good coffee shop will stock the house espresso provided by the roastery, and which may be subject to change every few months to renew the taste on the palette of the consumer. A selection of filter coffees will also be provided. A coffee shop may also have a limited selection of guest beans provided to them for specific orders.
The preparation method of the drink chosen by the consumer is the final variable for what makes a delicious cup of coffee. There is a whole world of coffee out there for each different person to enjoy to their own taste. This is what makes coffee so exciting: the possibilities are endless.