So let’s get you all into being sophisticated coffee snobs [sidebar - coffee houses are great places to strike intellectually stimulating conversations with geeky hot chics!]. Before we start brewing lattes (lots) of discussions about coffee, let’s start with some history and the basics….
According to the National Coffee Association… In the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, originated, coffee trees grow today as they have for centuries. Though we will never know with certainty, there probably is some truth to the Kaldi legend.
It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not want to sleep at night.
Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer. Soon the abbot had shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, it began a journey, which would spread its reputation across the globe.
Today coffee is grown in a multitude of countries around the world. Whether it is Asia or Africa, Central or South America, the islands of the Caribbean or Pacific, all can trace their heritage to the trees in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.
The Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee. It was often referred to as the “Wine of Araby”. The drink quickly found tracking and started to spread far beyond Arabia. European travelers to the near East brought the mysterious black drink back to Europe, and by the 17th century, coffee made its way to Europe. Coffee houses (Penny Universities – one penny got you a cup of coffee), sprung up everywhere in London. And as the demand for these beans continued to grow, there was tense competition to grow coffee beans outside of Arabia. Despite Arab’s best efforts to hold onto the coffee monopoly, the Dutch succeeded in cultivating coffee in what is known today as Indonesia. It then further grew to the regions of the Caribbean and Brazil.
What's In A Cherry?
A coffee tree is covered with dark-green, waxy leaves growing opposite each other in pairs. Coffee cherries grow along the tree's branches. It takes nearly a year for a cherry to mature after the flowering of the fragrant, white blossoms. The coffee cherry's outer skin is called the exocarp. Beneath it is a thin layer of pulp, followed by a slimy layer called the parenchyma. The beans themselves are covered in a parchment-like envelope named the endocarp, more commonly referred to as 'the parchment.' Inside the parchment, side-by-side lie two beans, each covered separately by yet another layer of thin membrane.
So from planting to harvesting the cherries to drying and milling the beans to finally roasting… that is how a man’s cup of coffee comes to life. We’ll be covering a variety of both useful and just cool coffee related subject matters in future posts. Hope you are as wired as we are about this!