Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages across the globe. It is prepared from roasted coffee beans, and it is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world after oil.
People like David Letterman swear by coffee and say that “Way too much coffee!! But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.”
But this product which is an integral part of human life was of no use till a few centuries ago. Like petroleum, no one really took any notice of this rejuvenating drink.
The coffee has a very interesting anecdote related to its origin. It is said that a shepherd in the far reaches of Ethiopia noticed some vivid changes in the behavior of his goats. They seemed intoxicated and abnormally energetic to him.
When he observed them closely, he realized that after consuming leaves and berries of a particular plant, they start behaving in a particular manner. He tasted them himself and found himself relaxed and rejuvenated.
It is said that the shepherd told about this phenomenon to the monks staying in a nearby monastery and they also consumed and had the same effects. Over the centuries, coffee has played a crucial role in many societies. It was used for religious ceremonies in Africa and Yemen. The Ethiopian Church had banned its secular consumption and The Ottoman Empire also prohibited its use during the 17th century for political reasons.
There are two main kinds of coffee beans which are in prevalent use. They are Coffea Arabica and the robusta form of the hardier Coffea canephora-
Arabica and Robusta coffee
Once roasted, virtually all coffee beans look the same. Actually, there are dozens of different varieties of coffee beans, but when it comes to the classic daily cup, there are generally only two qualities of coffee that count: Arabica and Robusta coffee. These are the two main types of coffee grown to drink daily.
The two varieties differ in taste, the environment in which they are grown, and the price.
The type of Arabica coffee tends to have a sweeter, softer, fruity taste with tones of sugar. Its acidity is higher, with a vinous taste that characterizes the coffee with excellent acidity.
Robusta has a more sour taste and contains twice as much caffeine. It is generally considered to be of lower quality than Arabica. Some Robustas, however, are of high quality and used above all in espresso coffee for their intense flavor and a suitable cream.
Robusta cicchi are easier to grow, can grow at lower altitudes than Arabica, and are less vulnerable to pests and unfavorable weather conditions. Robusta plants produce fruit much more quickly than Arabica – which takes several years to mature – and produces more crops per tree.
Robusta is grown mainly in Africa and Indonesia. Arabica is also cultivated in Africa and Papua New Guinea but has grown mostly in Latin America. Colombia produces large quantities of Arabica beans. Some countries, like Brazil and India, both produce.
Arabica, in general, is more expensive. Most of the coffee at the supermarket is exclusively Robusta, as is instant coffee. Arabica coffee can be found at the supermarket, but only because it is labeled Arabica does not mean that it is of high quality.
The latter one is highly resistant to the coffee leaf rust, which has a devastating effect on the beans. Both these varieties are cultivated primarily in Latin America, South-east Asia, and Africa. Associated with this very popular beverage are many interesting facts which are, in fact, fun to read:
Origin of the word Mocha
This is one of the most sought after coffee drink. The word Mocha derives its origin from the port of Mocha, which is in Saudi Arabia and was one of the original distribution hubs for coffee.
Holidays for Celebrating Coffee
This popular drink also has its own holidays across the globe celebrating its effervescence and rejuvenating quality. Coffee is celebrated on September 12 by the Costa Ricans, Irish celebrate it on September 19 and the Japanese dedicate Coffee Day on the October 1.
Slow & Steady
Even though coffee rejuvenates and refreshes a person in a matter of a few minutes, the coffee tree takes considerable time to grow up. Moreover, it produces about 1-2 pounds of coffee beans annually.
First Coffee Houses
The first coffee houses set up in Mecca were known as Kaveh Kanes. These were set up here as this was the main trading center for berries. Damascus, Syria, and Istanbul opened coffee houses around the 1530s and Turkey in 1554. The Dutch were the first to bring coffee out of Mocha and introduce it to the rest of the world. Their first cultivation was in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, in 1658.
Thus coffee has rapidly gained recognition all over the world, and as of now, it is an integral part of every person’s morning drink.