Coffee-A Short History

With all the new hype about coffee helping cancer it’s no wonder more people than ever are drinking this wonderful beverage. For those of us raised in the Star Bucks generation it’s good to go back and understand the roots of this great drink.

The coffee bean tree was most likely discovered in the northeast region of Ethiopia.  These trees can grow up to 30 feet in height but are cultivated to stay around 10 feet tall to make picking the berries easier. The earliest evidence of people drinking coffee is from the middle of the 15th century. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to India, Italy, and then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas. Upon introduction of the first coffee houses in Cairo and Mecca coffee became a passion rather than just a stimulant.

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. Coffee beans must be ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee beans grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial warm climate areas like South America, Asia, and Africa. Coffee beans are the second most traded agricultural commodities in the world.

Coffee contains caffeine and normally has a stimulating effect on humans. With its drug effects, it’s no wonder t is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world.

Coffee berries are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the 'robusta' form of the hardier Coffea canephora.

Coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee and can be prepared and presented many different ways. Drip-brewed, percolated, or French-pressed/cafetière coffee may be served with a dairy product such as milk or cream, or dairy substitute. It is sweetened with sugar or artificial sweetener, or served black (no sweetener), depending on taste.