History of Coffees of the World

Coffee - its history from then to now

The coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century  It has a white blossom that smells like jasmine and a red, cherry-like fruit. Back then, the leaves of the so-called "magical fruit" were boiled in water and the resulting concoction was thought to have medicinal properties. As the fame of the coffee plant spread to other lands, its centuries-long voyage was about to begin. 


YEMEN

Coffee spread quickly through the Arabian Peninsula. In the mid 14th century, coffee cultivation reached Yemen and for 300 years, it was drunk following the recipe first used in Ethiopia.  Yemen's climate and fertile soil offered the ideal conditions for cultivating rich coffee harvests


Istanbul was introduced to coffee in 1555 during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent by Özdemir Pasha.  In the Ottoman palace a new method of drinking coffee was discovered: the beans were roasted over a fire, finely ground and then slowly cooked with water on the ashes of a charcoal fire. With its new brewing method and aroma, coffee's renown soon spread even further afield. 


It was in Turkey that coffee was introduced to the general public through the establishment of coffee houses.  The first coffee house (named Kiva Han) opened in the district of Tahtakale and others rapidly cropped up all over the city. Coffeehouses and coffee culture soon became an integral part of Istanbul social culture; people came here throughout the day to read books and beautiful texts, play chess and backgammon and discuss poetry and literature    


Coffee eventually began to make its way across Europe and the coffee house became a center of social culture with  people going to coffeehouses throughout the day to read books, play chess and backgammon and discuss poetry and literature. 


 By 1660, London's coffeehouses had become an integral part of its social culture. The general public dubbed coffee houses "Penny Universities" as they were patronized by writers, artists, poets, lawyers, politicians and philosophers. London's coffeehouses offered customers a great deal more than piping hot cups of coffee: the entrance fee of one penny allowed them to benefit from the intellectual conversation that surrounded them. 


Eventually coffee made its way to the Americas.

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Coffee reached North America in 1668. The first coffeehouse in New York, "The King's Arms", opened in 1696.


In 1714, the Dutch presented Louis XIV with a coffee sapling from their plantations on Java. The sapling was planted in the royal Jardin des Plantes in Paris.


In 1723, a French mariner named Gabriel du Clieu took a sapling from the Jardin des Plantes to the island of Martinique. From here, the coffee plant spread to other Caribbean islands, as well as to Central and South America.


In 1727, a Portuguese sailor named de Mello Palheta carried coffee saplings to Brazil from French Guyana. Today, Brazil is the number one producer of coffee in the world, accounting for 35% of global coffee production.


In 1730, the British began cultivating coffee in Jamaica.


By the mid 19th century, coffee had become one of the most important commodities in world trade.


No Starbucks did not invent Mocha coffee.


 Mocha, that sweet chocolaty coffee we enjoy in winter months, has a history far richer than the drink itself.   Most mocha drinkers know the hot brew to be a mix of chocolate syrup, or powder with coffee.  Actually the name Mocha comes from the Port of Mokha in Yemen from where the Yemen coffee was shipped around the world for over 200 years and was known as Mocha  coffee.  


Grown traditionally without chemicals in Yemen, the coffee is said to be wild and usually full-bodied with a rich, winy acidity.  The uniqueness of Yemeni coffee is that it is dry processed. Also known as “the natural process,” it is the oldest method and considered the simplest and most organic method.


After picking the cherries from the coffee trees, they are left to dry under the sun. Once the soft juicy cherry turns hard to the touch, it shrinks and becomes dark brown to black. The fruit is removed and you are left with the bean.

 

Some believe that the drying process gives the coffee sweet and intense fruity notes. The flavor is often described as complex, very earthy and deep with a distinct taste. 


 It is the occasional chocolate tones of Yemeni coffee that is believed to have originated the Mocha coffee of today which is made from mixing hot or cold coffee with chocolate.  





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Some things you should know about brewing coffee

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Types of Brewing Methods

The most common types of brewing methods found in the Western Hemisphere are these:


Espresso

Automatic Drip Coffee 

French Press

Turkish or Arabic Coffee

Moka Pot

Cold Brew

Manual Drip

Single Serve Coffee

Percolator 

The Vacuum Pot  or Siphon Method


At this time we are only selling drip or regular grind and whole roasted bean coffee through our Internet sales .  However, as our Internet sales grow we will be expanding our brewing selection.



Water

The water you are using can and will have a major affect on the taste of your coffee.  


The type of water you use it can affect the taste of your coffee.  


If  you have a water softener that removes the minerals from your water source, or use bottled water it will affect the taste of your coffee.  


Unless you are a  real purist you probably do like most people, and just use the water that comes out of your tap whether you are at home or the office.  


Depending on where you live and how the water is treated, if at all, by your local water district, you will find different mineral content, and sometimes that awful smell and taste as the water in your supply lake turns over the Algae in the water.  Fortunately that is a situation that usually lasts only a few days to  a week.  


If you coffee suddenly tastes funny or different than you are used to you might want to check out the water source used to make the coffee.   


As an additional note, even bottled waters will give the coffee different tastes, even if very subtle,  This has do with where the water is bottled and geographically drawn from as water from Figi will have a different taste than will water from France, or spring water from the Ozarks.


This might seem like pointing out the obvious, but you can control the flavor and strength of your coffee by reducing or adding the amount of water you use to make your coffee.  



Roasting Methods

There are two basic methods of roasting coffee. The most common method is the drum roasting method.


 Nearly all commercial roasters are drum roasters. Conversely, most home roasters are Air Roasters or Fluid Bed Roasters. A fluid bed roaster uses a stream of hot air to roast the coffee beans. The air is of sufficient force to cause the beans to circulate or to swirl which gives the beans the appearance of being a “fluid bed.” Current technology has not devised an efficient means of creating a fluid bed roaster with sufficient capacity to roast commercial quantities of beans.


Which method makes the better, coffee is open to debate since we are talking about a process where the final arbiter of the result is the taste buds of an individual who has a particular preference. . Drum roasting has  artistry on its side. It's like a chef with the freshest ingredients who simmers his sauces slowly, or faithfully oils their cast iron skillet and commercial drum roasters are big, attractive, expensive, old-world-European-looking machines. So in essence it is a tradition.

Air roasting has less intrinsic charm, unless you are really into hair dryers. "But the roast is easy to observe, the process is “clean” because there is no effluence from atmospheric gas burners, and some variables of the drum process."


In either case, a heat source is necessary to roast beans. Quite simply, the roasting process is a process by which heat is transferred from the source to the coffee beans. The important portion of the coffee bean is the internal temperature and not the surface temperature of the bean. This is significant in determining the flavor that is brought out in the coffee. This becomes important because the two basic methods of roasting bring the bean to this point at different rates of heat transfer.

The significant difference between drum roasting and air roasting is in the rate of heat transfer. "Air roasting has a much higher transfer rate (some say as much as two times) than drum roasting" (Aug - Sept 2003: Drum Roasting vs. Air Roasting?). It is this difference in time and temperature that creates a difference in flavor because the chemical change in the bean is achieved differently.


So what happens to the taste of coffee:

"While the differences are many, the primary difference, and the one most noticeable to the coffee drinker is that fluid bed roasted coffees tend to have a higher acidity" (Aug - Sept 2003: Drum Roasting vs. Air Roasting?). This means that fluid bed roasted coffees have a flavor that is often described as being “brighter” than drum roasted coffees. This means the aroma is very detectable. What this means in the cup is that it has a lighter mouth feel and less body.

Essentially the reverse of this is true for drum roasted coffees. "Drum roasted coffees generally have more less distinct flavors in the cup, but have a much richer and fuller mouth feel" (Aug - Sept 2003: Drum Roasting vs. Air Roasting?). Drum roasters do have a greater ability to bring out the nuances of flavor.

Bottom line, drum roasting is akin to  a slow cooked meal, with complex flavor levels, but the time consuming end product is for a connoisseur. Air roasting is like making instant noodles, quick and efficient, end product enjoyed by all.


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