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What Is Coffee?

Learn what coffee is from the experts at Third Rail Coffee in this Howcast video.


My name is Mike Jones, and I'm a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I'm going to teach you some basic coffee-making skills.

So what is coffee? Coffee is actually the cherry that is grown on the coffee plant, which is a tree or a shrub. And most quality coffee is grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and higher altitudes, so just tropical climate. There are many steps that this has to go through in order to be the coffee that you can drink at home. It goes from the cherry, to being picked when it's perfectly ripe—it will be this nice red color. And, then you have to wash off the fruit. There are different ways of processing it. Some people will ferment it for a longer period of time in order to remove the sticky coating around the seed on the inside. So this bean that's at the middle of the cherry is actually what gets turned into the beans you're used to seeing. The final step is drying and then shipping it off to a roaster. At this point, it's green coffee, so it's not yet roasted. It's much harder than a coffee bean you might be used to seeing. And it has like an olive green/yellowish color to it. From there, it is roasted, and then sent off to stores or cafés, and then ground and then brewed to be drank, and it's delicious.

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