1. The history of coffee
According to legend, the coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi, sometime in the ninth century AD. He noticed the effects of coffee beans on his goats, so he brought the beans to some Sufi monks who lived nearby. . However, researchers believe that the story is an apocryphal one, because it appears for the first time in the seventeenth century, in the writings of Antoine Faustus Nairon, the author of one of the first treatises on coffee.
Leaving aside the legend, the first historically documented evidence of coffee consumption appears in the writings of some Arab authors in the mid-fifteenth century. Coffee beans are used for the first time in a similar way to today by Sufi monks in Yemen, who consumed the drink obtained from roasted and ground beans as an energizer during religious rituals.
In just a few decades, coffee has spread from the Arabian Peninsula to the surrounding regions, from Persia to Turkey and North Africa. In Europe, coffee first appeared in Venice in the second half of the 16th century, from where it spread to other parts of the continent. The first cafe appeared in Rome in 1645.
It is the Dutch who are beginning to import coffee on a large scale into Europe and are even beginning to grow it extensively in their colonies - the cultures of the island of Java are becoming some of the main sources of coffee for the European market.
In the 18th century, coffee was exported to the New World, and the main crops in Central America and Brazil are still being established. In the coming centuries, coffee will become one of the most sought after and popular drinks.
2. Types of coffee
There are several species of coffee tree in the world, but two of them are the most cultivated worldwide. These are Coffee arabica and Coffee canephora, the plants that give the two main types of coffee: arabica coffee and robusta coffee.
It is considered the first variety of coffee to be cultivated. The Coffee arabica shrub is also called "mountain coffee" or "Arab coffee" and is widely grown worldwide: about 60% of total coffee production is arabica coffee.
Arabica coffee (Coffee arabica) originates from Ethiopia and is a variety rich in flavors, very fragrant, sweet and slightly acidic. The plant is quite sensitive to other varieties and needs intensive maintenance. The coffee beans, before being roasted, are elongated and bluish-green in color. The best area for cultivation is between 600 and 2,000 meters altitude. The higher the culture, the better the chances of getting better quality coffee.
Arabica coffee is grown mainly in Central and South American countries, but also in some countries in Africa and Asia. This variety of coffee contains 50% less caffeine than other varieties (Robusta, for example), but the aroma is much more intense and the beans are used for high quality coffees.
Discovered only in the late 1800s, Robusta (Coffee canephora) coffee is native to Central and West Africa, from Guinea to Uganda. Unlike Arabica coffee, this variety can successfully grow at altitudes between sea level and about 600 meters altitude. It has successfully adapted to hot areas with high humidity and is more resistant to parasite attack.
Robusta coffee is widely grown in Africa, Indonesia and Brazil and covers almost a quarter of world coffee production. It blooms several times a year, which means it is more productive than Arabica coffee. In addition, Robusta coffee is also known for the large amount of caffeine it contains: almost 2.5%, double that of Arabica coffee.
Coffee is usually named after the country or region where it is harvested, and coffee beans can be identified by their different flavors, acidity or consistency, and intensity of taste. These taste characteristics depend not only on the area where the coffee beans were harvested, but also on the varieties or the way in which they were processed. Among the best known regions are:
Bourbon - is one of the two initial varieties of arabica coffee. It was first cultivated on Bourbon Island, now Reunion.
Typica - is one of the most important varieties of Arabica coffee in the world, cultivated extensively in Central America;
Columbiana - is the Arabica coffee harvested in Colombia;
Java - is harvested on the Indonesian island of Java;
Kona - is a variety of coffee grown on the slopes of the mountains of Hawaii;
Catimor - is a hybrid between the coffee varieties Caturra and Timor. It was created in Portugal, matures quickly, but needs certain conditions for fertilization.
Catuai - is a variety of coffee recognized for its increased resistance to the weather;
Mundonovo - this variety of coffee is one of the most common in Brazil. It is ideal for the climate of this country and bears rich fruit.
Caturra - is a variant of the Bourbon variety, first planted in the Brazilian city of Caturra. It is resistant to weather and pests.
Gourmet coffees - of the highest quality - are produced almost exclusively from Arabica coffee beans. Among the best known are:
Jamaican Blue Mountain
3. The nutritional properties of coffee
A 200 milliliter cup of (unsweetened) black coffee contains no sugars or fats. Here are some vitamins and minerals that can be found in a cup of coffee:
protein - 0.3 grams
riboflavin (vitamin B2) - 0.2 milligrams
niacin - 0.5 milligrams
pantothenic acid - 0.6 milligrams
potassium - 116 milligrams
manganese - 0.1 milligrams
magnesium - 7.1 milligrams
caffeine - 95 milligrams (the amount differs depending on the variety of coffee)
4. The benefits of coffee
One of the most well-known and recognized benefits of coffee is its stimulant role. Caffeine is the main ingredient that gives energy and helps eliminate fatigue. According to a study published in the Nutrition Bulletin, caffeine improves energy levels, mood and some important aspects of brain function.
Another benefit of coffee is also due to caffeine: it significantly improves physical performance. Caffeine stimulates the release of a greater amount of adrenaline into the blood and, at the same time, burns fat, which it releases into the blood as energy. According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition, caffeine can improve, on average, physical performance by up to 11-12%.
Coffee helps burn fat
Caffeine is one of the few substances that help burn fat, which is why it is found in almost all dietary supplements for weight loss. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, caffeine in coffee can stimulate fat burning by up to 29%.
Coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is one of the worst medical problems of our time, with hundreds of millions of blondes worldwide. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that every cup of coffee drunk daily reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%.
Coffee can help fight Alzheimer's disease
People who drink coffee frequently have a much lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, one of the leading causes of dementia worldwide. According to a study published in the European Journal of Neurology, coffee drinkers are up to 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
Coffee protects the liver
Coffee can also have a beneficial effect on liver disease. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have an up to 80% lower risk of developing cirrhosis.
Coffee reduces the risk of stroke
One of the short-term effects of caffeine is an increase in blood pressure, but this disappears over time, and the increase is not a cause for concern. In contrast, caffeinated beverages - coffee and green tea, for example - are linked to a 20% lower risk of stroke, according to a study published in the journal Stroke.
Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants
Coffee contains a huge amount of antioxidants compared to other drinks. So it is not surprising that for many people daily coffee is one of the best sources of antioxidants, even more important than fruits or vegetables. The results appeared in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
5. Precautions and side effects
Some of the most common side effects caused by coffee consumption are actually caused by caffeine. Here are the main symptoms:
● nervousness and anxiety
● nausea and vomiting
People who consume more than six cups of coffee a day are prone to symptoms of anxiety and agitation. In addition, the more coffee you consume each day, the more you will need a larger amount to achieve the desired effects.
6. How to choose the perfect coffee
The quality and flavor of the perfect coffee always depends on the beans harvested. But the aroma of coffee depends on other criteria. Here are the four most important of them:
● country and region of origin
● variety of coffee beans - arabica, robusta or a mixture of the two
● how the beans were fried
● how the grains were ground
There are many options you can consider or not, but one thing is more important: the best coffee depends on taste. This means that you can use an ideal espresso coffee and brew it. You can test countless combinations until you find the perfect one for you.
7. Make coffee
There are countless methods for making coffee, some old, some modern. And the equipment has changed, improving in recent years. Here are the four main methods of making coffee, along with the necessary equipment:
● kettle - better known as Turkish or oriental coffee. This variety of coffee is made using a kettle of boiling water to which finely ground coffee is added.
● filter coffee - filter coffee is essentially a modern method of Turkish coffee. The coffee is placed in a filter over which hot water is poured. For this you need a coffee maker, but also quality filters to get the best flavor.
● espresso - coffee at the automatic espresso machine is considered the best and purest coffee. The preparation involves passing pressurized water through extremely finely ground coffee.
● French press - is a method of brewing coffee that uses a glass container and a filter in the form of a piston, which can be lowered into the container;
● mocha - also known under the Italian name macchinetta. Mocha is a method of brewing coffee that uses a metal container divided into two: a tank where water is placed and one in which coffee is collected. The steam from the boiled water passes through the ground coffee and accumulates in the other tank.
8. The most consumed 7 types of coffee
It is probably one of the most popular types of coffee in the world. A cappuccino usually consists of two layers: the first is a cup of espresso, then a layer of foamed milk. Cappuccino can usually be decorated with pieces of chocolate or other sweet decorations.
The so-called "American" coffee is made very simply by adding hot water over a cup of espresso. It is said that this type of coffee appeared during the Second World War in Italy. American soldiers used this method to "stretch" their coffee.
Another very popular option among coffee drinkers, a latte coffee consists of an espresso cup, to which foamy milk is added. The drink is quite frothy and is easily confused with a cappuccino.
Macchiato (or Small Milk)
A macchiato is a cup of espresso coffee over which steamed milk is added directly to the cup. It is usually stronger than a cappuccino, which it resembles as a preparation. It is also smaller in size: it is usually served in an espresso cup.
A "mocha" coffee is nothing but a latte coffee over which has been added grated chocolate, syrup or even powdered chocolate. Sometimes cream is added on top. It is more of a dessert than a coffee in the true sense of the word, but it is a very popular drink.
Irish coffee is made, of course, with whiskey. The recipe is simple: use a cup of espresso, over which add about 20 milliliters of whiskey, sugar and a thick layer of cream on top. But the best idea is not to use instant coffee, because it does not taste the same.
A Viennese coffee is made from two very strong espresso cups, which are mixed together and over which no milk and sugar are added, as a sweetener, but whipped cream. This coffee is a combination of the aromas of the two espressos, to which is added the sweetness offered by the cream.
9. Curiosities about coffee
● The original name of the coffee meant "wine" - in Arabic, the word "qahwah" means a kind of wine. The name was taken by the Turks in the form "kahveh", the Dutch changed its name to "koffie", from where it came in English in the form known today: "coffee".
● Coffee beans are, in fact, the seeds of a fruit. The coffee fruit resembles cherries, has a color that can be reddish or brown, depending on the variety of coffee, and the seeds of this fruit are called "beans" because they are very similar to beans.
● Coffee is the second most traded product in the world, after oil. Approximately 25 million growers are registered worldwide in almost 70 countries.
● “Coffee Belt” refers to an imaginary belt that surrounds the Earth between Parallel 23 North and Parallel 25 South. In this region, which includes much of Africa, Asia and Central and South America, the optimal conditions for coffee cultivation are met.
There are so many varieties of coffee and so many flavors that you will never know if you have tried them all. The only thing you can do, looking for the perfect cup of coffee, is to always try new brands and new methods of preparation. In addition to the beneficial effects for the body, coffee also has a quality that no one disputes: it brings people together and is the ideal drink for a meeting with loved ones. So turn on the espresso machine, prepare your favorite coffee specialties and invite your friends over for an evening of stories over a cup of coffee.
Other curiosities about coffee
1. Coffee was discovered by goats in Ethiopia. Legend has it that a shepherd followed the goats he caught eating cherry-like fruit. These fruits kept them from sleeping at night, which is why the shepherd decided to spread the discovery.
2. When consumed in excess, coffee can kill. No, it's not a joke. However, according to studies, the amount must be considerable: 80-100 cups of coffee.
3. Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried.
4. What is the connection between webcams and coffee? Well, the first webcam appeared in Camdridge to monitor the level of coffee in a coffee maker.
5. The most expensive coffee in the world costs about 80 d euro / 90-100 g. And is extracted from the excrement of civet wild cats.
6. Coffee was on the list of things banned in Romania during communism because of the belief that coffee would help people think.
7. Caffeine is not the main bitter compound in coffee. Antioxidants give it a bitter taste.
8. Coffee is rich in vitamins. Many of them are lost by frying, but there are vitamins such as: B1, B2, B5, but also minerals such as magnesium or potassium.
9. Decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine. Following the decaffeination process, only caffeine is extracted in the proportion of 97-98%. So, if you drink too much "decaf" coffee, it is equal to drinking a normal coffee.
10. Chemicals are used in the decaffeination of coffee. The beans are steamed so that the dissolved caffeine rises to the surface and is then washed with an organic solvent (methylene chloride).
11. Black coffee without sugar or other ingredients such as milk or cream does not contain calories.
12. In ancient times, coffee was called the "wine of Arabia."
13. There are about 50 species of coffee in the world, but only two types of commercial coffee are made: arabica or robusta.
14. 50% of the caffeine we consume can be eliminated from the body in 5 hours, but for the rest of the caffeine it takes a day.
15. In Paris, there is a cafe where if you are polite you spend less on coffee.
16. Coffee is the second best-selling commodity - after oil - it is the second most edible product in the world - after oil - and the second drink - after water.
17. Coffee keeps us younger! Prevents wrinkles, is also used in skin beauty treatments.