Cake Shop Stop Ramblings

How many of us choose coffee over tea at the cake stop?

cake1cake2

But despite its prevalence, many of us probably aren’t familiar with the workings of the global industry that grows and processes the 8.3 million tons of coffee consumed worldwide each year. In this speech, I’m going to walk you through the processes involved in getting coffee to the consumer: Growing, Processing, and Roasting.

textured background: brown roasted coffee beans macro closeup

textured background: brown roasted coffee beans macro closeup

Coffee starts off on a fruit-bearing tree that produces coffee cherries. These cherries appear much like cherries that we are familiar with, though they have only a thin layer of pulp around a large pit, which will become our coffee beans. Like the fruit we are familiar with, they come in two principle varieties: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee accounts for roughly ⅔ of global coffee production. It is generally preferred to Robusta because of its lower bitterness and generally more pleasant, delicate flavors. Robusta, on the other hand, is much bolder, more bitter, and about 50% higher in caffeine. Both varieties are grown in high-altitude regions throughout the world, with coffee from different regions having distinct character from the others.

South America accounts for nearly half of global coffee production, and grows Arabica almost exclusively. Coffees from South America tend to have earthy, nutty, or chocolately flavors, and are often what we think of when we think of good, basic coffee. Central American coffees, despite being close geographically, tend to have lighter flavors, especially floral and fruity notes.

coffee-production-map

Across the Atlantic, many African countries produce roughly even amounts of Arabica and Robusta coffee, with Robusta grown in the west and Arabica in the east. These Arabica coffees are especially prized for the bright berry flavors that can be brought out of them when roasted and brewed correctly. The final major growing region is southeast Asia. This production is biased much more towards Robusta coffee, especially in Vietnam. Asian coffees often have character similar to south american coffees, but can also have more diverse earthy flavors and aromas similar to tobacco and leather.

Once the coffee is grown and harvested, the fruits must be processed to remove the beans and clean the coffee. The two principle methods for processing are dry and wet processing. Dry processing involves crushing the cherries, then spreading them out to dry and ferment in the sun. The fermentation process breaks down the cherry pulp and makes it much easier to remove from the seed. In wet climates where drying the cherries in the sun is not practical, cherries are crushed and rinsed with large amounts of water to remove the pulp. In both cases, the coffee is then screened for size, sorted to remove bad beans, then dried out to reduce water content in preparation for shipment and roasting.

Roasting is the final step in coffee production before it is ready to be brewed. Along with having a major impact on flavor, it is necessary in order to weaken the very hard green coffee bean and allow its flavor compounds and oils to be extracted.

coffe roast

Roasting is primarily done via either forced air convection or radiative heating. In both cases, the beans are very aggressively heated, generally reaching over 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a few minutes. Radiative heating is more common in large commercial applications, and uses heating elements located next to a perforated drum, which spins to agitate the beans and ensure even roasting. In forced air convection, roasting is achieved by forcing hot air through an agitated bed of coffee beans. In either case, the increase in temperature is carefully controlled to meet the roaster’s target. Along with smaller influences on the finished coffee’s flavor, roasting too fast or too slow can result in coffee that doesn’t grind, brew, or drink well.

Once the coffee reaches about 300 degrees, the beans will begin to make popping noises, called first crack, as the oils inside sublimate and fracture the bean. While this doesn’t cause the beans to break apart, it does make them much more porous, and signals that the beans can be considered finished, if a light roast is desired. Often the roasting continues past this point, to 400 degrees or more. As roasting continues, the beans develop more roasted flavors and lose some of the more delicate flavor compounds that indicate their origins. They will also begin popping a second time, which is called second crack, as the beans fracture internally even more. Roasting can continue up to nearly 500 Fahrenheit to acheive an Italian roast, after which the beans will begin to smoke and burn from the intense heat.

R.E.W Reynolds

After the beans have reached their desired roast level, they are quickly cooled off to stop the roasting process, then allowed to rest for several hours to several days to allow them to release built-up carbon dioxide. Once roasting is finished, the beans are often ground, packaged, and sent to stores.
This process of growing, processing, and roasting coffee is continually carried out around the world, with new crops being harvested, processed, and roasted throughout the year. Thanks to these efforts, people throughout the world have an affordable and delicious drink to help energize them throughout the day for the miles ahead  .

Hardisty

Whilst i would love to claim that the cakes pictured were cooked by me they were cooked by my partner Nicola .

What do you i enjoy

So apart from Cycling what else do I enjoy ?

One thing for sure is spending quality time with the rest of my family.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days last week with both my partner and daughter having some quality time together , rather than just spending a snatched hour here and another there .

One day was spent on my daughter’s request taking in the delights of The Bullring Shopping Centre , although this was neither mine or my partners idea of a good day out we did enjoy ourselves . We found the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery just a few minutes walk from the Bullring .

bull

The second day was spent at The Cotswold Wildlife Park which must rank as one our most favourite days out destinations apart from going to the seaside . For those who have either never heard of it or even been there it is located just south of Burford in Oxfordshire . We first visited about 4 years ago and have been at least once or twice a year ever since .

Its not your normal kind of Wildlife or Zoo destination for quite a few reasons , the main one being that once you arrive and park your car the rest of your visit is either spent on foot or using the park’s own Train that winds its way around the wildlife park . The park is nice and flat with solid paths so should provide easy access to prams,buggies or wheelchairs so that all can see the animals .

park-map

There is a varied selection of animals that range from Lions to Penguins and Rhinos grazing in front of the stately house to the cute Red Pandas amongst many other animals . Our latest visit provided our closest view yet of the Red Pandas as they are normally fast asleep half way up a tree just out of range , but this time all 3 of them were actively moving around their enclosure .

Red Panda

The park also has a nice large area right in front of the house where the Rhino’s wander around , it must be a lovely to look out of a window and see a Rhino or two wandering across the horizon ! We had the joy last year of visiting just after a baby Rhino was born and to see it wandering around with its mother was very nice .

rhino

The Madagascar enclosure is real treat as the ring tailed Lemurs quite happily wander around the enclosure as visitors make their way around it , we have even witnessed them coming right up close to visitors and some times they keep their distance from all .

Ring Tailed Lemur

Our recent visit also gave us the delight of seeing the Wildlife parks 7 short clawed Otters being fed by the keepers , again this was the first time we had seen this being done and was also the first time we had seen the Otters fairly close up , such amazing creatures .

otter

So all in all I can highly recommend a visit to this great place , not only do you have the animals to gaze at there are also large areas of gardens to look at some just contain wild grasses whilst others do have some exotic plants along with British native plants

Virgin Mobile Issues

Our local Phone mast has had an issue since Christmas eve , which has meant that at least my partner and myself and I am guessing quite a few other people who are on Virgin or EE and live in the same local area as we do have not had full service since then .

I contacted Virgin by e mail over the Christmas holiday period by e mail twice and have yet to have a reply . On my return to work on the 29th I contacted them again this time by phone and after speaking to 4 or 5 people I ended up with technical support who confirmed that the providers (ee) mast has a power supply fault and is more than likely causing the issue .

When asked re fixture date I was told by end of the week ie 2nd January and that a credit would be available for lost services for the whole period affected and to give them a ring once back to normal service .

This morning 31/12 I thought I would ring them again to get an update and have been told it will be at least the 5th of January before any repairs can be done as they are having issues accessing the mast ???

If the mast is functional again on the 5th then it would have been 13 days without full service , ok Its not a matter of life and death and other people are a lot worse off , but I do think in this day and age its not good customer service .

Will update you all on the 5th . Happy New Year