IntroductionWoman Drinking Coffee

Beside water, coffee is the most widely and frequently enjoyed drink in the world. Hundreds of billions of cups are prepared and consumed every single year in every conceivable country. Coffee has been brandished as a work of the devil on at least two occasions and blessed as a truly Christian drink by the Pope, and sacred by a 16th century sultan. In 1773 the Boston Tea Party ironically made the consumption of coffee a patriotic event, in order to undermine the extortionate taxes being placed on tea. At least 90% of the world’s coffee producing plants can be traced back to one individual plant presented to Louis XIV of France by the Dutch.

The History of the Coffee Bean

The Legend of CoffeeHistory cannot accurately dictate exactly when the coffee bean was first eaten, but there are two legends that have proven to be the most popular explanations of how the red berry from the coffee plant was first consumed.

History cannot accurately dictate exactly when the coffee bean was first eaten, but there are two legends that have proven to be the most popular explanations of how the red berry from the coffee plant was first consumed.An Arabian named Omar and his followers were banished to the desert that surrounded the town called Mocha. As a last ditch effort to evade hunger and starvation Omar and his men boiled the berries and ate them. Not only did the men survive but also the occasion was heralded as being a religious sign and the berries and beverage were called Mocha.

Perhaps the most commonly known legend, though, details how a goat (sheep in some versions) herder from the region now known as Ethiopia witnessed his goats becoming more frisky and alert having eaten red berries from local trees. Eventually, he tried some of the berries himself and found they gave him increased energy and alertness.

The Beginnings of CoffeeCoffee Cup

In 1000 AD, Arabic traders first brought back the mysterious coffee plant back to the Arabic homeland where it was cultivated and grown very successfully. Based on the success of how well coffee grew, plantations soon appeared growing large crops of coffee beans.

In the 15th century, the coffee berry was introduced into Turkey where the beans were boiled and a very simple version of today’s popular coffee beverage was created. In 1475 the first coffee shop was opened.

At the very turn of the 17th century coffee was widely introduced into the Western world. Many Christians dubbed it as being the drink of the devil, but upon trying and enjoy it Pope Clement VIII baptized it and declared it a sacred and truly Christian drink. Seven years later and coffee gained further widespread notoriety when introduced into North America by Captain John Smith.

Despite the strong roots in Italian culture, the first Italian coffee house wasn’t opened until 1645, seven years before the first English coffee house. The rise in popularity of coffee in America was quite staggering and in 1668 it became more popular than beer as New York’s favorite breakfast drink.

In 1675, Franz Georg Kolshitsky, of the Viennese army claims bags of coffee as his reward for saving the city. He subsequently opens the first coffee house to be found in central Europe and begins to perfect the art of creating the coffee drink. By filtering the brew, adding a small amount of milk, and sweetening it the modern image of coffee is born.

In 1690 the Dutch become the first to commercially ship and grow coffee commercially in Ceylon and Java. However, in 1713 they accidentally give King Louis XIV of France a single coffee bush. Eventually, 90% of all coffee produced is descendant of this one individual plant.

A French governor’s wife secretly gives Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta potent seeds and a cutting of a coffee plant. The Lieutenant returns to Brazil with what will turn out to be the beginning of Brazilian coffee production.

In 1773, the Boston Tea Party names coffee as a patriotic drink and the drinking of coffee as a patriotic action. This is done in a bid to beat the extravagant and extortionate tax rate that is being charged on tea at this point.

The Advance in Coffee ConsumptionTwo Coffees

The year 1900 saw the introduction of vacuum packed roast coffee. Coffee mills were soon to become a thing of the past as Hills Bros vacuum packed roasted coffee became increasingly popular.

In 1903, researchers discovered the art of removing caffeine from the coffee without sacrificing the taste. Named “Sanka”, the forerunner to decaffeinated coffee was introduced into America twenty years later in 1923. However, before this, in 1906 George Constant Washington studied the formation of coffee condensation and released Red E Coffee as the first mass-produced instant coffee.

The first Starbucks was opened in Seattle in 1971. Fresh roast coffee once again became massively popular as coffee consumption completed a total revolution.

Coffee Producing Regions

There are essentially three main areas of coffee production, each with its own unique taste and colorful history. Differing strengths of coffee bean coupled with unique roasting techniques and growing conditions provide very different flavors even with the borders of each region.

Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

Coffee is only indigenous to Ethiopia. All of the world’s coffee plantations and harvests can be traced back to this one country where coffee is still a major export. Possibly because of the natural growing conditions and basic way in which the coffee plants are harvested, coffee beans from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula are among the most distinct beans available. Yemen, also in this region, was the region where coffee was first prepared and commercially cultivated. Both regions use entirely natural methods to grow, harvest, and dry the beans producing the most organic coffee available.

Other regions include Kenya, renowned for its exceptionally high-grade coffee. Coffee farmers in Kenya are rewarded with a very high monetary return for the best grade of coffee beans. Some of the most expensive coffee in the world is grown in Kenya, but the taste is more than worth it. Tanzania offers a similar grade of coffee bean although not quite comparable to Kenya.

Uganda is most widely known for its production of robusta, the bean that is generally used in the production of instant coffee. One arabica bean is produced in Uganda, though, which has a high level of acidity giving it a strong but wholesome flavor. This roast is generally called Bugishu and is certainly one to look out for.

Indian coffee comes in two different varieties. Monsoon coffees are subjected to monsoon winds and rain once harvested. This wet stage of the process reduces the level of acidity giving a smoother and less acidic flavor. Other coffees from India have strong tastes of local spices including nutmeg and clove.

Latin America and the Caribbean

There are a large number of countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region that warrant mention. Generally, they produce light and smooth coffees.

Worth particular mention is Brazil. Brazil is responsible for over a third of the world’s coffee. However, only the younger Santos beans are considered to be an exceptionally high quality. In terms of coffee production, Colombia is the second largest nation producing more than 10% of the world’s coffee. There are a number of good varieties of coffee to come from the region but of particular note are Medellin and Bogota.

Guatemala is considered one of the finest coffee growing nations in the world. Almost any coffee produced at high Guatemalan altitude will have a very good reputation but also a fairly heavy price tag to match. Essentially, the higher the altitude, the higher the grade of bean and the more respected the coffee.

Panama, Honduras, Ecuador, and Peru tend to create comparatively low grade coffee that is generally used for blending or creating instant coffee.

IndonesiaIndonesia Coffee

In the specialty coffee market, Indonesia is one of the most highly regarded countries, despite only 10% of their production being considered a high grade arabica coffee. The most notable coffee producing region is Sulawesi. This coffee is very highly regarded as being one of the finest coffees in the world and attracts the appropriate price tag.

Mandheling and Ankola originate from Sumatra. Coffee lovers from all around the world will know these names as being two of the finest coffees available. It is surprising that the lack of availability for these coffees has not forced the price to rise too far. They are still very fairly priced.

Despite having a history steeped in coffee production, Java has undergone a serious struggle to keep up with the most popular markets. Production was almost completely destroyed by rust and only recently has the Indonesian government stepped in to help begin the production of good quality Java coffee once again.

Roasting and Blending Techniques and Information

Even the finest quality and highest graded coffee beans from the best regions are nothing without the proper preparation. This preparation includes the roasting and the blending and requires a true expert to be able to create a high graded gourmet coffee.

Traditionally, coffee was roasted in a pan over a fire. The pan contained less than 100g of coffee and was vigorously shaken for twenty minutes or longer. The reason the pan was shaken was in order to prevent the burning and spoiling of the beans. Even when coffee went into mass production, this technique was only altered by introducing larger pans that contained a larger amount of beans. The 19th century, though, saw the introduction of drum roasting. The principle was basically the same and coffee beans were placed into a horizontal barrel over a fire and rotated using a handle.

By roasting coffee to varying degrees it is possible to produce a wide variety of different flavors. As such, coffee roasting has become more of an art than a necessity and in the past ten years or so home roasting has seen a resurgence in popularity with the introduction of home roasting techniques and specialist equipment.

Lightly roasted coffee tends to bring out the acidity in a coffee. While this obviously lends itself well towards the acidy flavored coffee beans, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a medium or dark roast won’t taste equally as good, although quite different, using the same beans. Darker roasted beans lost much of the acidy flavor of the coffee bean itself and taste more of the roast.

Blending is also considered to be an essential part of coffee preparation in some cases. The mixing of several different types of coffee bean can produce some of the greatest tasting espresso and coffee imaginable. It is conceivable that over five different coffee beans are included in a single espresso.

Once coffee is roasted and blended, the beans keep their optimal flavor for little more than a week if stored in the perfect conditions (a cool and dark place away from strong odors and flavors). For this reason, the gourmet coffee lover will purchase and consume beans on a weekly basis while they offer the greatest flavor.

10 Little Known Facts About CoffeeCoffee Trivia

1. When coffee was first discovered by a goat herder known as Kaldi, it was initially dubbed as a drink of the devil by local monks. However, curiosity overcame the monks who then began to consume the coffee berries in order that they could stay awake to pray.

2. In 1453, it was legal for women to divorce their husbands if they did not provide their wives with the appropriate amount of coffee every day.

3. A corrupt Mecca governor, Khair Beg attempted to ban coffee in 1511 because he feared it would undermine his leadership. As a result, the sultan ordered the execution of the governor and decreed coffee to be a sacred drink.

4. In 1600, many people called for coffee to be banned as a drink of the devil, but having already tasted and enjoyed coffee Pope Clement VIII baptized the beverage and decreed that it was a perfectly Christian drink.

5. The first English coffeehouses were dubbed as penny universities. A cup of coffee cost a single penny and coffee houses were commonly used as places for the educated and not so educated to meet, mingle, and discuss.

6. In 1668, Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse was opened in London. Such was the popularity of the coffeehouse with maritime insurance agents that it actually became Lloyd’s of London – the biggest insurance company in the world.

7. Johann Sebastian Bach composed Kaffee-Kantate. It was an ode to coffee as well as an attempt to push the movement that women should be banned from enjoying coffee.

8. In German, the term KaffeeKlatsch, is now used to describe relaxed conversation or idle chat. However, it was originally used as a derogatory term to describe the gossip that women exchange during afternoon coffee sessions.

9. During the early 20th century, Brazil was responsible for a staggering 97% of the entire world’s production of coffee. It was a result of this over production that Nescafe was founded when in 1938 Nestle began to freeze dried the over produced coffee.

10. The coffee heiress Abigail Folger was murdered by the Manson family in 1969. She was visiting Roman Polanski with her friend Sharon Tate.