Coffee beans contain a chemical called caffeine, which has a stimulating effect on the body: it gives people an energy boost and makes them more alert. Too much coffee can make people nervous, though, and may cause insomnia (difficulty sleeping). This is one of the reasons why decaffeinated coffee has earned its place on store shelves.


Picking ripe beans from the coffee plant is an art in itself. Ripe berries will easily squirt out juice when squeezed. With machines harvesting coffee beans many unripe beans may get into the mix.
Removing the seeds (beans) from the berries is usually done using “the wet method”. In order to soften them, the berries are soaked overnight in a big tank of water. Then the berries are squeezed through a screen with holes just big enough for the seeds to pass. After they have been soaking in water a little more, the seeds are flushed with water to remove any remaining pulp, and dried in the sun.

The “dry method” takes longer. Ripe berries are dried in the sun for about a month. During this time they are raked a few times so they dry evenly and to prevent molding. Once the berries are completely dry the seeds (beans) are mechanically extracted.