What is coffee
Coffee we drink is actually a stone fruit, which is similar to our cherries. These tiny grains, hiding many secret flavors, are the seeds of the coffee tree with white flowers, red berries and bright green leaves. Plant Coffea of the family Marena blooms only a few days, but more than several times a year. Coffee cherries are ovate, beneath the tough skin is a sweetish pulp with two green seeds. Unripe Coffea plants fruits are green and as they mature they change color to yellow, and then gradually to red, cranberry and finally to purple, the color of ripe plums. Color and ripeness of fruit is very important to coffee quality.
Of the 60 kinds of coffee originating from Ethiopia, Arabica and Robusta coffee are probably the most important.
Arabica (25% of world production) is a higher quality coffee with less and a wide range of delicate flavors. Grown at higher altitudes, often on volcanic soils, or as a type of forest (as Ethiopia Harar coffee or Wild Forest). Grains are larger than Robusta and during roasting and final preparation are very sensitive to temperature.
Robusta is a less expensive variety of coffee tree. Its share of world production is about 75%. The largest producers are Brazil, Vietnam and India. Grains are smaller, the coffee taste is more earthy and powerful. It contains twice as much caffeine as Arabica. You can also purchase high-quality single-Robusta.
Coffee is characterized by its strong odor and black color. It contains alkaloids including caffeine that drives cardiac activity and it is drank in particular for its stimulating effects.
History of coffee
„Coffee" is derived from the word „qahwah", one of the words originally used for wine. Coffee beans were originally chewed before it was found that they could be cracked and cooked in water. No one knows when and where we first saw coffee, although it seems that coffee plantations existed in Yemen since the 6th century. At that time Yemen including the port city of Mocha was one of the busiest in the world. The first mention of coffee is preserved in various myths and fairy tales.
The Sheik Omar
A certain legend of the 13th century talks about Sheik Omar of Yemen, priest and doctor, who was expelled from his native Mokka over a disagreement with the ruler. On the way south to the Arabian Peninsula he accidentally cooked an infusion of berry bushes, located in the vicinity overnight. He was very surprised by the taste, odor and health effects of the drink. From that time he served the sick on his travels and in a short time the Monarch learnt of its healing powers. He decided to grant him mercy and urged him to return to his country. In time he built a temple and drinking coffee began to spread throughout the world.
Muslim mystics – Sufi, discovered that coffee turns away sleep and encourages mental activity. Everyday sipping of coffee spread to urban centers. Coffee spread with nomadic travelers and traders and eventually appeared in all parts of the Islamic world. People considered coffee a nice boost to conversation and the first coffee houses began to emerge.
In the 15th century coffee was already widespread and began to spread throughout the world. It was not easy at all, because Arabs tightly guarded the secret of coffee, as Chinese and their tea. Coffee in Europe began with the Dutch who brought it enthusiastically into the Western world. Before cafes, coffee was only sold in pharmacies.
Louis XIV. was also an avid coffee drinker the Dutch brought him one herb of Coffea Arabica directly from Mokka. This little herb has become the most prolific in the history of coffee bushes and sprang from many coffee bushes that now grow in Central and South America. Coffee expanded around the world at lightning speed, as the French, German, Italian and Dutch merchants tried to jostle in competition as to who creates the most coffee plantations in their colonies. Soon coffee became available in shops all over the world, it was loved by European traders, intelligentsia and ultimately most other people.
Collection of Coffee
Coffee pickers walk through the plantation and manually harvest the coffee berries. They collect only ripe, dark red fruits that do not show any signs of damage. This will produce a better type of Arabica coffee, because manual picking of coffee beans is very expensive. Coffee is packed in a colored pericarp, which is still under several other layers. They must all be removed and before your eyes will appear the green coffee bean. Another way in which coffee can be collected is using a carding machine. This method is much faster, but damages the bushes, and it can collect high-quality, homogeneous coffee.
After collecting the daily batches on the same day as coffee processing. The separating, washing and removal of any excess debris such as twigs, leaves and rind. Then the coffee leaves dry in the sun or in ovens, in really poor countries, on stone floors or mats from houses. Coffee beans are from time to time turned and raked to prevent undesirable effects. After three weeks of careful treatment the almost dry coffee berry peels off and reveals a small green coffee bean.
If the planters want to achieve high-quality coffee, they must be using the so-called, wet process, where the coffee is processed in a slightly more complicated method so that there is more coffee grain and resulting in a clean, highly aromatic coffee.
The result of all these difficult steps is crisp, clean, bright coffee beans which are sorted according to size and are ready to be put into bags and be transported to the dealer to be roasted. Finally, after this complicated process the coffee is ready for sale.
Roasting coffee is major art and the most sensitive part of the treatment. Fresh coffee beans are green, gray-green, blue-green and tan-colored, with a delicate, light scent. The taste of coffee is not formed until after roasting. Coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures in roast machines overseen by experienced professional-roasters. Its characteristic color and flavor develops just by roasting the coffee.
The name coffee is derived from the roasting process. Coffee with a long roasting process generally gets a darker color and less intense aroma. Highest quality coffee beans, grown in high altitudes, have a little sour flavor that is enhanced by a brief bright even roasting. Some countries add different ingredients into roasting coffee: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and others, which significantly change the overall flavor of the coffee.
The real art of roasting coffee is a mixture of grain and to create a delicate mixture of coffee, it is not enough to mix fine coffee with aromatic coffee or bitter coffee. It is essential that all the ingredients complement each other and form a harmonious whole flavor.
At the beginning of the cultivation of coffee a pure variety came entirely from individual plantations. During the development of the coffee trade the mixing of coffee from different origins began. Today, coffee is often a mixture of different types of coffee from plantations around the world to allow a very specific taste. Many connoisseurs are of the opinion that the composition of varieties with their given specifics is creating really good coffee in which we can find the delicate flavor of one variety, the acidity of a second and flowery fragrance at a third. This coffee can finally be called perfect.
Light roasted coffee beans are best for coffee served with milk, darker grains are suitable for long black coffee and roasted grains are used for traditional espresso.
In ancient times grinding coffee grains was very laborious. Coffee is milled between two flat stones, like corn. Later it was smashed with a pestle and a mortar. From the Middle East came hand roller mills, mostly of brass. In Europe mills were built with wooden drawers, handles and various mechanics, which provide excellent milling. The final taste of the drink is very dependent on the coffee grinder. Nowadays it is dominated by electric grinders, of course.
Coffee tastes best when freshly milled, just before preparing the drink. Ground coffee will retain its excellent flavor, only a few days. Each method requires the preparation of coffee or cracked corn. For preparation of brewed coffee, coarse ground coffee is the best, very finely ground coffee is perfect for espresso and drip coffee.
Source : kava.cz