The original home of the coffee plant is Africa. To be exact, there are three different coffee plants, all related:
Coffea Arabica from Ethiopia, known from prehistoric times.
Coffea Robusta from Congo, discovered in 1898.
Coffea Liberica (Coffea Canephora) from Western Africa, of no great importance in coffee trade.
The first coffee plant of economic importance was Coffea Arabica. It grows to the height of 7-8 meters but the cultivated plants are cut to the height of 2-4 meters to get more width. The leaves of the coffee are 10-15 cm long ellipsoids, lustrous dark green with lighter underside. The flowers emerge from the branches together with the leaves.
27% of U.S. coffee drinkers and 43% of German drinkers add a sweetener to their coffee.The world's largest coffee producer is Brazil with over 3,970 million coffee trees. Colombia comes in second with around two thirds of Brazil's production.
Hard bean means the coffee was grown at an altitude above 5000 feet.
Arabica and Robusta trees can produce crops for 20 to 30 years under proper conditions and care.
Most coffee is transported by ships. Currently there are approximately 2,200 ships involved in transporting the beans each year.
The popular trend towards flavored coffees originated in the United States during the 1970's.
October 1st is the official Coffee Day in Japan.
The first coffee tree in the Western Hemisphere was brought from France to the Island of Martinique in the 1720's.
Things worth knowing.....
Approximately 20 million people work in the coffee industry worldwide.
Coffee is the second most actively traded commodity, right after oil.
Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer.
The estimated value of the export of green coffee is 10 billion dollar.
Coffee has many different varieties, more than 60!
Only two coffee varieties have an economic significance: Arabica and Robusta.
Black coffee (without sugar or milk) does not contain calories (less than 1 Kcal.)
Caffeinated coffee shows a beneficial effect on alertness and improves performance in a variety of tasks in both day and night sessions.
The popularity of dark roasted coffee is high in Southern Europe.
A good coffee tree can produce up to 1 kg of raw coffee per year.
In contrast to what most people think, coffee does not grow in plain brown beans, but in red berries carrying green beans (two beans per berry).
During roasting the coffee beans dry out and the sugars in the beans start to caramelise.
The most important form of trade in coffee are both the stock market and the 'effective' coffee trade.
The quality of a cup of coffee does not depend on the blend only but also on the ratio of the amount of water and coffee used for brewing.
The present coffee producing belt around the globe encompasses approximately 70 countries.
Coffee only grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
The coffee tree needs an average temperature of between 17° C and 23° C as well as abundant precipitation and good soil conditions.
The original home of coffee was the Abyssinian highlands.
Other Coffee Facts
The discovery of Coffee Beans?
There are a few versions of how coffee was discovered. One of my favorites is the following:
Coffee was first discovered when a goatherder in Abysinia, observed his goats dancing on their hind legs after eating some red (coffee) cherries in the middle of the night. He proceeded to taste of the berries himself and his sleepy eyes got wide open. He took some to the village and everybody there also liked them as it kept them awake during their prayers.
History has it that when coffee was first introduced in Italy, Italian wine merchants (their wine sales threatened by coffee beans) appealed to the Pope to ban it. Pope Clementine VIII determined the beans to be evil when he heard of the affects the beans had on people and they were thrown into the fire. The aroma was so wonderful, the beans were pulled from the fire and ground to make a brew. The Pope tasted the brew and then proceeded to BAPTIZE COFFEE and pronounce it a Christian beverage.
Differences of Espresso and Regular Coffee Beans
In most cases, it is the roast. Regular coffees are roasted to light medium or dark roasts. Espresso is roasted to an espresso roast. This roasting achieves a very dark chicory roast that with the right equipment creates an excellent shot of espresso, to be used to make caffe latte's, cappuccino's and caffe mocha's.
Producing Froth for Cappuccino's
First, a powerful pump driven espresso machine is best, however, you can still produce good froth with non-pump espresso machines
Low fat milk is best, the lower the fat content the better the frothing, we suggest skim or low fat milk.
A stainless steel pitcher is best
While steaming the milk, the steaming wand should be just below the surface at all times. As the milk swells, lower the pitcher to keep the steam wand just below the surface. This is called 'stretching' the milk. You do not want any large bubbles to form.
Let milk sit for 1 minute before scooping out.
Scoop out a few heaping tablespoons on top of the espresso.
Fill the cup quickly with steamed milk causing the froth to rise and have brown edges.
Producing steamed milk for Latte's
Using the same espresso machine and stainless steel pitcher as above.
Any type of milk works as you are minimizing froth
While steaming the milk, the wand should be positioned to cause the milk to swirl in the pitcher but not swell. The effect you are looking for is a thin froth with fine bubbles and a sheen. (This is best for latte art).
Pour the steamed milk quickly into the espresso and allow a little froth to spill out at the end. Pull it forward in the cup to make patterns.
Differences of Arabica and Robusta
We use a local coffee roaster - Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters. They roast only Arabica coffee beans. Arabica coffee is grown at altitudes 2,000 feet and higher and is considered the premier bean for roasting. Low altitude coffee (even if Arabica) does not offer the taste, acidity and body of a high altitude product. Robusta beans are more weedy, grow at low altitudes, and contain approximately twice the caffeine of Arabica beans.
Shelf Life Of Coffee
Keeping coffee in whole bean form allows it to stay fresher longer. Air, moisture and heat are the three most damaging things to coffee. Once ground, coffee should be used within two weeks, for the best flavor.
We fresh grind coffee for every pot/espresso as we need it.
Air is the biggest damaging factor to coffee.
Store your beans in an air-tight container, preferably in zip lock bags in a cool dry place. We suggest a gallon bag zip lock bag for bulk storage.
Contrary to popular belief, the freezer and the fridge are not the best place to store your coffee beans. Coffee absorbs moisture from other odors so regardless of where you prefer to store your beans, just ensure it is in zip lock