history of coffee
history of coffee can be traced at least as early as the 9th century,
in the highlands of Ethiopia. From there it spread to Egypt and
Yemen, and by the fifteenth century had reached Persia, Egypt,
Turkey, and northern Africa.
From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Europe,
where it became popular during the seventeenth century. The Dutch
were the first to start the large scale importation of coffee into
Europe, and eventually smuggled out some seedlings in 1690, as the
Arabs were not allowed to export the plants or unroasted seeds. This
led to coffee growing in Java, which was owned by the Dutch. In
1538, Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, having returned from a
ten-year trip to the Near East, gave this description of coffee:
“ A beverage as black as ink,
useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach.
Its consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain
cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful.
It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu. ”
When coffee reached the American colonies, it was
initially not as successful as it had been in Europe, as colonists
found it a poor substitute for alcohol. However, during the
Revolutionary War, the demand for coffee increased to such an extent
that dealers had to hoard their scarce supplies of it and raise
prices dramatically; part of this is due to the reduced availability
of tea from British merchants. Americans' taste for coffee grew
during the early nineteenth century, following the War of 1812,
which had temporarily cut off access to tea imports, and high demand
during the American Civil War as well as many advancements in
brewing technology cemented the position of coffee as an everyday
commodity in America. Coffee is consumed often for breakfast.
Coffee seed types
are two main species of the coffee plant, Coffea arabica being the
older one. Coffee is thought to be indigenous to south-western
Ethiopia, specifically from Kaffa, from which it may have acquired
its name. While more susceptible to disease, it is considered by
most to taste better than the second species, Coffea canephora
(robusta). Robusta, which contains about 40–50% more caffeine, can
be cultivated in environments where arabica will not thrive and
probably originated in Uganda.This has led to its use as an
inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends.
Compared to arabica, robusta tends to be bitter and has little
flavor, with a telltale "burnt rubber" or "wet cardboard" aroma and
flavor. Good quality robustas are used in some espresso blends to
provide a better "crema" (foamy head), and to lower the ingredient
cost. In Italy, many espresso blends are based on dark-roasted
robusta. The large industrial roasters use a steam treatment process
to remove undesirable flavors from robusta beans for use in mass-marketed
coffee blends. Other species include Coffea liberica and Coffea
esliaca, believed to be indigenous to Liberia and southern Sudan
Arabica coffees were traditionally named by the
port they were exported from, the two oldest being Mocha, from Yemen,
and Java, from Indonesia. The modern coffee trade is much more
specific about origin, labeling coffees by country, region, and
sometimes even the producing estate. Varietal is a botanical term
denoting a taxonomic category ranking below species, a designation
more specific than arabica or robusta and unrelated to the coffee's
place of origin. Coffees consisting entirely of beans from a single
varietal, bourbon, for example, are generally referred to as such,
along with a reference to their place of origin (as in: Rwanda Blue
Bourbon). Coffee aficionados may even distinguish auctioned coffees
by lot number.
arabica coffee beans originate from one of three growing regions;
Latin America, East Africa/Arabia and Asia/Pacific. Beans from
different countries or regions usually have distinctive
characteristics such as flavour (flavour criteria include terms such
as "citrus-like" or "earthy"), aroma (sometimes "berry-like" or "flowery"),
body or mouthfeel, and acidity. Acidity refers to a tangy or clean-tasting
quality, typically present in washed or wet processed coffees. It
does not refer to a coffee's pH level. (Black coffee has a pH of
around 5).These distinguishing taste characteristics are dependent
not only on the coffee's growing region, but also on its method of
process and genetic subspecies or varietal.
A peaberry, (also sometimes called a "Caracoli"[citation
needed] bean) is a coffee bean that develops singly inside the
coffee cherry instead of the usual pair of beans. This situation
occurs 5–10% of the time. Since flavour is concentrated when only a
single bean is grown inside the cherry, these beans (especially
Arabica) are highly prized.
Processing and roasting
processing and human labour is required before coffee berries and
its seed can be processed into the roasted coffee with which most
Western consumers are familiar. Coffee berries must be picked,
defruited, dried, sorted, and — in some processes — also aged.
Coffee is usually sold in a roasted state, and the
roasting process has a considerable degree of influence on the taste
of the final product. All coffee is roasted before being consumed.
Coffee can be sold roasted by the supplier; alternatively it can be
Coffee roasting is a complicated
chemical process that creates the distinctive flavor of coffee from
a bland bean. Unroasted beans contain all of coffee’s acids, protein,
and caffeine — but none of its taste. It takes heat to spark the
chemical reactions that turn carbohydrates and fats into aromatic
oils, burn off moisture and carbon dioxide, and alternately break
down and build up acids, unlocking the characteristic coffee flavor.
One of these aromatic oils is caffeol, which is largely responsible
for coffee's aroma and flavor.