List of Coffee Facts by Inertia

Robusta vs Arabica

There is a massive chromosome difference between Robusta coffee and Arabica. Robusta coffee beans only contain 22 chromosomes and are unable to self-pollinate. Arabica beans however have 44 chromosomes and are able to self-pollinate. Insects are much more prominent at lower altitude and Robusta trees take advantage of this by not having developed the ability to self-pollinate.

Coffee Aroma Compounds

Though the number continues to increase every year, there are over 1000 different aroma compounds found in coffee. These compounds combine together and create wonderful aromas and flavors like earthiness, fruit tones, and spice flavors. The extremely diverse range of aroma compounds helps make coffee one of the most complex flavor profiles we know of.

Refrigerating Coffee Beans

Should I refrigerate my coffee beans? This is a common question we receive almost daily from our customers. A recent study was conducted in hopes to find out if refrigerating your beans is actually beneficial. The conclusion of this study was that refrigerating beans did decrease mass loss in the beans. As roasted coffee is unstable, this does suggest keeping your beans cool in the fridge helps to stabilize the coffee. Due to beans becoming more brittle when cold, it is also suggested that the beans would be more prone to break more evenly when ground cold. Although from the study, they found that the temperature of the burrs grinding the coffee made far more of a difference.

One may also wonder "Can I freeze my beans?", and simply put, the answer is "no". The freezer can do more damage than good, and we will touch more on this topic at a later time on our blog.

Watch our short video on refrigerating your beans on youtube:

Decaffeinating Beans

Since caffeine is soluble into water, we are able to decaffeinate coffee through several different processes. A few very common methods use the saturation of water and introduction of Methylene Chloride or Ethyl Acetate. These chemicals bind the caffeine and allow it to evaporate. The traces allowable by the FDA of these chemicals are only 10 parts per million but most end up at about 1 parts per million. However there are methods that use water to remove the caffeine called the Swiss Water Method. This method uses carbon filters to remove the caffeine once it is in the water the beans are soaked in. This method is certified organic and uses no chemicals. All in all, the process usually takes about 10 hours in most cases.

Coffee Bean and Fruit Layers

There are 6 Layers to a coffee bean and fruit. Starting from the outer most to the innermost: Exocarp, Mesocarp, Endocarp, Silver Skin, Endosperm, and Embryo. The first three are layers that are part of the fruit that surrounds the coffee beans. The last three are the main layers of the coffee bean itself.

Using Coffee as Fertilizer

Coffee grounds can be used as a great tool for fertilizer. Grounds of coffee will not initially add nitrogen to your soil but this can be used as a long term benefit. Where the grounds can really help is with water retention, drainage, and also benefiting things like microorganisms which help plants to grow. Also if you have plants that love acid use fresh unused grounds to add acidity to the soil (if you use expended/used grounds those are nearly PH neutral).

Boiling Point of Caffeine

Caffeine has a boiling point of 178 C and this is a very common temperature reached by roasters, even for light roasts. However caffeine is still considered molecularly stable till temperatures of 235 C which is rarely reached let alone by the inner layers of the bean where the caffeine resides. With that being said, if the caffeine is stable then the argument of whether darker or lighter roasts have more caffeine should be settled with this: “There is no difference, and if there is then it is a negligible difference”.