Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Saturday, January 7, 2017
COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
EDITION/ ATTITUDE, ALTITUDE AND LATITUDE
Call us old fashioned
but in winter coffee should be hot; but that doesn’t stop us from appreciating
the Northern Hemisphere’s chilly months.
that we’re on topic what about climate change and the impact of colder
temperatures on coffee bean growing?
STRIKING A BALANCE. Altitude and
latitude are important. If grown roughly between 4,000 – 6,500 feet above sea
level, coffee fruit has the opportunity to develop slowly, which means denser
coffee beans and the potential for more complex flavors.
coffee is grown too low in the tropics, the fruit matures rapidly resulting in
a soft, insipid coffee (Hint: many Robusta beans.]
the other hand, if grown too high, colder temperatures hinder development of
coffee fruit resulting in low yields. It is believed that coffee grown at
higher altitudes produces a better tasting. While this is true to a point,
latitude also plays a role. The further a growing region is from the equator,
the lower the coffee must be grown due to colder temperatures at comparable
altitudes than those closer to the equator.
PICKY TEMPERATURE. The optimal
temperature range of the Coffea arabica tree—source of 70% of the world's
coffee—is 64°–70°F, which is most consistently found in upland elevations of
tropical countries. Photosynthesis is slowed above these temperatures and frost
damage can occur when temperatures hover around 0ºC.
MIND THE GAP. There is a direct
relationship between extremes of day and nighttime temperatures and coffee
quality.Experimental evidence has
indicated that a large gap between day and nighttime temperatures is beneficial
to the flavor of fruits.Since a coffee
cherry is a fruit and the seed is in contact with the fruit, these benefits
will be passed onto the seed and therefore into the cup.
GLOBAL WARMING WOES. If Earth’s climate
continues to warm over the coming decades, obstacles to coffee cultivation will
multiply. Consider Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), the species grown for
roughly 70 percent of worldwide coffee production. Arabica coffee’s optimal
temperature range is 64°–70°. It can tolerate mean annual temperatures up to
GRACE KELLY, PARIS, 1974
NOT TOO HOT. Above those
moderate temperatures, fruit development and ripening accelerate. (If you
didn’t know, coffee “beans” are actually the pit, or seed, of the plant’s
fruit.) Faster ripening might not sound bad, but it actually degrades coffee
bean quality. Continuous exposure to temperatures up to and just over 86°F
(30°C) can severely damage coffee plants, stunting growth, yellowing leaves,
even spawning stem tumors.
SOURCE(S): National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and other coffee industry data.