Portal:Coffee

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Introduction

A cup of coffee

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa (specifically having its origin in Ethiopia and Sudan) and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds (referred to as "beans") are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and then brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee.

Coffee is darkly colored, bitter, slightly acidic and has a stimulating effect in humans, primarily due to its caffeine content. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and it can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways (e.g., espresso, French press, caffè latte). It is usually served hot, although iced coffee is a popular alternative. Clinical studies indicate that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults, with continuing research on whether long-term consumption lowers the risk of some diseases, although those long-term studies are of generally poor quality.

While coffee is native to Ethiopia and Sudan, the earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking as the modern beverage appears in modern-day Yemen in southern Arabia in the middle of the 15th century in Sufi shrines. It was in what is now Yemen that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a manner similar to how it is now prepared for drinking. But the coffee seeds had to be first exported from East Africa to Yemen, as Coffea arabica is thought to have been indigenous to the former. The Yemenis obtained their coffee via Somali traders from Berbera (who in turn procured the beans from the Ethiopian Highlands) and began to cultivate the seed. By the 16th century, the drink had reached Persia, Turkey, and North Africa. From there, it spread to Europe and the rest of the world.

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A coffee plantation in India
Coffee production in India is dominated in the hill tracts of South Indian states, with the state of Karnataka accounting 53% followed by Kerala 28% and Tamil Nadu 11% of production of 8,200 tonnes. Indian coffee is said to be the finest coffee grown in the shade rather than direct sunlight anywhere in the world. There are approximately 250,000 coffee growers in India; 98% of them are small growers. As of 2009, the production of coffee in India was only 4.5% of the total production in the world. Almost 80% of the country's coffee production is exported. Of that which is exported, 70% is bound for Germany, Russian federation, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, United States, Japan, Greece, Netherlands and France, and Italy accounts for 29% of the exports. Most of the export is shipped through the Suez Canal.


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Roasted coffee beans

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A coffee farmer with a basket of coffee beans in Ethiopia.

A coffee farmer with a basket of coffee beans in Ethiopia.

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Cyrus Melikian (1920–2008) was an Armenian-American coffee industry pioneer credited with several inventions that propelled coffee use into the American public. He is credited, along with his business partner, Lloyd Rudd, as the inventor of coffee vending machines and the first US fresh-brew machine. Furthermore, Cyrus was instrumental in several other inventions, including coffee pods, post-mix vendor icemakers, and in-machine coffee bean grinders.

He initiated the Culinary Institute at Rockland Mansion in Fairmount Park. Melikian also established the Flavor-Maker Culinary Chef’s Training School, and taught there for 10 years. Melikian was awarded with the Person of the Year Award by the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal in 2002.


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...that Carpenter's Coffee House in Covent Garden, London, became known as "The Finish" as it was the place revellers went when all the other coffee houses and taverns closed?
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

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