What Is Coffee: Just A Drink ?

A lot of people enjoy drinking coffee, but how many people can concisely answer the question, what is coffee? Of course, you might say, “Oh yeah, coffee is a drink made from the coffee berry which houses the bean, what else do I need to know?” Well, there’s a lot you need to know.

Knowledge is the best friend of the good communicator, so why don’t you stick around for a while to find out more about what coffee is. You never can tell what you’ll learn.

While some dictionaries chose to give just three meanings about coffee, there are others which have up to five or six. Merriam Webster dictionary first calls it a beverage and then other things; Cambridge Dictionary calls it a hot drink made from a dark brown powder with a strong flavor and smell. Oxford dictionary calls it a hot drink made from the roasted and ground seeds (beans). Wikipedia calls it a brewed drink. What do you call it?

We can all agree that coffee is a drink, but beyond that, some of these dictionaries such as the Merriam Webster and some others define coffee as a berry, a bean, and then a plant. So which means coffee isn’t just a drink, it’s also the berry, the bean and the coffee plant.

Coffee berry

This is also called coffee fruit or cherry. It is derived from the plant. While some might very well know about coffee bean, many might not know about the coffee fruit because it is discarded during coffee production.

Coffee fruit is a kind of stone fruit that is produced by the plant. The fruit is usually small and green, turning to deep reddish or purple shade as it gets ripened. The coffee bean is encapsulated in the fruit and technically classified as the seed. Although it was once neglected during coffee production, it‘s now used in supplements and drinks.


Coffee bean

The coffee bean is housed in the fruit, which is found on the coffee plant. The bean is termed that way because of its resemblance to a real bean. Usually, the beans are grinded, roasted and brewed to get the drink.

Coffee plant

This is where it all begins. The coffee plant is the starting point of what is coffee. It is a plant with a main stem that can grow up to 10 meters tall in the wild. Its leaves are evergreen.

There are two most economically important varieties of plant, they are the Arabica and the Robusta. It is essential to note that 60% of the coffee produced in the world is Arabica, while 40% is Robusta. Arabica beans are made up of 0.8–1.4% caffeine and Robusta beans has 1.7–4.0 % of caffeine content.

  • The Arabica: Coffea Arabica is the earliest species of coffee tree cultivated and is currently the most widely grown. It is dramatically the best in cup quality when compared to other principal commercial species
  • The Robusta: Majority of the Robusta in the world are grown in Western and Central Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, including countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, and in Brazil. Production of Robusta is constantly increasing, though it accounts for only about 30% of the world market. 

Robusta is normally used in blends and for immediate coffees. The Robusta bean itself tends to be a little rounder and smaller than the Arabica bean.  

Conclusion

As you can see, coffee is more than just a drink. It’s also the bean, the berry and the plant. Of course, there are other meanings of coffee, but they do not fit in this context.

BLENDS VS. SINGLES
Both commercial and specialty companies often
describe their coffee as either a “blend” or a
“single origin.” This description helps to explain
the coffee’s provenance—a blend is a mix of
different beans that creates a particular
flavor profile, while a single-origin coffee is
sourced from a single country or a single farm.
BLENDS
There are reasons why blends are popular, as
they can create stable flavor profiles that remain
consistent year-round. In the commercial sector,
the ingredients and proportions in blends are
closely guarded secrets, and the labels offer no
indication of what the beans are or where they
come from. Specialty roasters, however, clearly
label and celebrate each component of a blend
a safer bet—but there is a lot of poor Arabica
out there, too. So what should discerning
consumers expect to see on the labels?
The best-quality coffee beans are usually
described with a high level of detail, such
as by region, variety, processing method, and
flavor (see p33). Consumers grow in their
understanding of good-quality coffee, and, as a
result, roasters realize that the key to ensuring
customer satisfaction is honesty and traceability.
on the packaging—explaining the individual
attributes of each bean and how the flavors
complement and balance each other (see
Sample Blend, opposite).
SINGLE ORIGINS
The term “single origin” is typically used to
describe a coffee from a single country. However,
identifying solely by country of origin
is too broad—as it could still mean a blend of
regions and farms within that country, and a
mix of varieties and processes. It could also be
of any level of quality—100 percent Brazilian,
or any other country, does not mean that
it will be 100 percent great. Equally, it gives
you little indication of flavor as coffees from
one region can taste very different to another

THE RIGHT GRINDER
There is a difference between grinders for
espresso and grinders for filter-style brews,
so make sure you buy one designed for your
preferred method, as shown opposite and on
pages 38–39. However, there are some key
choices that affect both types of grinders.
Grinders with blades are most commonly
available, and usually run for as long as you
hold down the “on” button. Even if you are
using a timer to measure how long to grind
for and how fine to go, you will find it hard to
replicate accurately the size of ground particles

from one cup to another, especially
if you vary the amount each time.
Blade grinders also lead to a lot of grit at the
bottom of your cup, particularly if you brew
with a French press. An advantage is that
they are generally quite affordable. If you
would like to step it up a notch, invest a little
more money in a grinder with “burrs,” conical or
flat (see below), that will crush the beans into
particles of a more uniform size and allow for
more even extractions. Some grinders have
“stepped” adjustments that lock into set grind
sizes; others are “stepless” and allow you to
adjust in tiny increments. Burr grinders do not
have to be expensive, especially if they are the
manual, hand-cranked variety. However, if you
want to spend a bit more or plan to grind large
quantities each day, choose an electric
one. They often have a timer function that you
can use as a way of dosing how much you
grind. Keep in mind that the coarser a grinder is
set, the less time it takes to grind through a 1oz
(30g) dose of beans, and the finer it is set, the
longer it takes to grind the same amount.

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History Of Coffee: The Rise To The Coffee Café

The history of coffee takes us back in time to when the coffee bean had little or no significance to the human society. But over the centuries, coffee has become one of the most important drink in the world. For most people, coffee it is the first sip that helps to set their day in motion, there are others who cuddle themselves with a cup of coffee under the cold while they watch TV, there are also some who just like to drink coffee for the taste of it. And if you’re like me, then you should grab a cup of coffee and take a hot sip as you scale through the paragraphs of this article to find out the history of coffee. history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

The Ethiopian Legend behind the story

Although, there are different speculations about the origin of coffee, but the most common and widely accepted is Ethiopian legend. Interestingly, it had begun on a hilly region of the Ethiopian landscape as the sun shone on the terrain and green vegetation. Kaldi a goat herder led his goats for grazing as usual, but to a part of the vegetation they hadn’t been before. This was where he and his goats encountered the coffee bean. But his goats discovered it first.

He later found out that after his goats chewed some of the coffee beans, they began to behave strangely and very energetic, jumping around and bleating throughout the whole day even till the night. Kaldi marveled at this strange behavior and decided to try it for himself to quell his curiosity. He got the same results.

Overcome by excitement of this new found bean, he hurried home to his wife to express his excitement. She told him to forward his discovery to the monks at the monastery. With some coffee berries dangling in his bag,

Coffee bean is “the devil’s work”

After Kaldi hurried to the monastery to share the news. He was soon disappointed when some of the monks rejected his findings and through the beans into the burning flame, calling it, “the devil’s work.”

But while the beans burnt in the flame, it gave a very soothing aroma that spurred the interest of the monks and tempted them to rethink again on Kaldi’s discovery. And so they did, After making a drink with the bean, they found out it helped them to stay awake and focused throughout their long hours of evening prayer. And so gradually the knowledge of the energizing coffee bean began to spread far and wide to distant regions of the world beginning from the Arabian Cape and so the history of coffee was born.

“Coffee: Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love” – Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Origin of the word “Coffee.”

The word “coffee” found its way into the English language in 1582 via the Dutch “koffie”, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, which in turn was derived from the Arabic “qahwah” The Arabic word qahwah had its origin referred to a type of wine. The word qahwah is sometimes alternatively traced to the Arabic “quwwa” which means “power and energy”, or to Kaffa, an old kingdom in Ethiopia where the plant was exported to Arabia.

History of Coffee: From Arabia To Europe

By the 15th century, Arabians had already begun to cultivate and trade coffee. It was mainly grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia. And then by the 16th century, others in Persia, Syria, Turkey and Egypt had joined the coffee had known enough about it and were doing the same.

During this period, the popularity and importance of coffee grew that it was not only enjoyed in homes, but also in the many public coffee houses, which was called “qahveh khaneh”. This began to appear in cities all over the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unravelled and people kept on visiting them for all kinds of social activity, business and interaction.

Coffee wasn’t drunk only when they engaged in conversation, but they also enjoyed it while listening to music, watching performers, playing games and sharing of important information.  Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for great conversation that people started referring to them as “Schools of the Wise.” Although several attempts were made to ban the use of coffee, but none could withstand the growing affiliation people had with the drink.

With thousands of pilgrims flocking into the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the cardinals of the world, knowledge of this “wine of Arabia” began to spread. 

From the lands in the Middle East, coffee drinking to other places like Italy, then to the rest of Europe. Coffee plants were also transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and then to the Americas.

Coffee officially first came into Europe on the island of Malta in the 16th century. It was introduced there through slavery. The beverage was made by the Turkish Muslim slaves who had been imprisoned by the Knights of St John in 1565, which was also the year of the Great Siege of Malta, and they used it to make their traditional beverage. This skill earned the Turkish slaves who made the beverage a good deal of money and helped them survive despite the siege.

Exports from the East, North Africa and Egypt brought a lot of goods into Europe including coffee, which became a popular beverage in Maltese high society. This led to the opening of many coffee shops. From here, it spread to all of Europe. history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

Coffee to the Americas and the world.

As trade and exportation circulated all around the globe, coffee soon arrived at the shores of the Americans, and they embraced it gladly like they had been waiting for it to arrive. In 1852, Brazil became the country with the highest coffee production. It beat world production, exporting more coffee than the rest of the whole world combined, from 1850 to 1950 till date.

Conclusion

The history of coffee is an interesting tale that makes one to wonder at how beginnings could be so different to what we have now. The discovery of Kaldi and his goats has led us very far from that time till now and how we cultivate, process and drink coffee. This is why history is what it is: making us discover what we already know.

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history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

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