What are green coffee beans?
Coffee is a fruit. Green coffee beans are the raw seeds of coffee cherries that have been separated or “processed” and have yet to be roasted. All of a coffee’s taste and flavor potential is held within this green seed. This potential is ultimately unleashed through roasting the green coffee. Watch as Starbucks green coffee specialist Lennon Fediw explains the factors that affect the inherent flavors in green coffee, and how roasting brings them out for you to enjoy.
Once the cherries are harvested from coffee trees, they are processed in several ways, depending on the coffee’s origin. Three of the most common approaches to processing are: washed, semi-washed and naturally-processed. The end result of each is that the fruit of the coffee cherry is stripped away, leaving only the green coffee. Each method of processing contributes to the final taste you’ll experience when you drink it. But before it’s enjoyed in a cup of coffee, the beans have to be roasted.
Coffee roasting is the process that brings out the flavors we look for in coffee. During roasting, the beans go through a chemical reaction called the “Maillard reaction” which causes sugar browning, caramelization and all-around deliciousness. We roast green coffee beans to bring out its aroma, acidity, body and flavor. Each coffee is roasted to a unique taste profile to highlight these inherent flavor characteristics: that is why roasting is a true craft. Our roasters are skilled at roasting to bring out the potential of each distinctive green coffee.
Green coffee beans can look and taste differently depending on where they were grown, the type (varietal) of the coffee tree it came from, and how it was processed.