History of Coffee / Bean Origins
Legend has it that coffee was first discovered around the 9th century by a goat herder named Kaldi who might have been Ethiopian. Kaldi had watched his goat acting quite unusual after eating berries from a bush. When Kaldi ate these berries himself, he was surprisingly more energetic. Later, coffee was exported from Ethiopia to Yemen and the Arab World, and finally to Turkey and Europe.
Most people are surprised when they are informed that espresso, pronounced ‘es-pres-so’ does not refer to a type of coffee drink. It actually refers to the method of extracting the coffee from coffee beans – technically called percolation. The espresso machine facilitates the extraction of coffee and has the ability to deliver a shot of coffee with speed and care.When creating a good espresso, there are 3 essential elements to consider: pressure, temperature & resistance. The first two are mechanical and rely on the particular machine in use, while the third is controlled by the barista. All these work together harmoniously during the coffee percolation phase, otherwise known as extraction.
The Revered Ancient Plant
Coffee is a small evergreen that is botanically classified as a bush, though most call it a tree. Coffee trees bloom annually with fragrant white flowers that mature into fruits. The word “coffee” also refers to the pit of the plant’s cherry (fruit), which shelters within it the prized coffee bean. The thick and bitter outer skin of the cherry encases the sweet fruit which is much like a grape. Within the fruit is a slippery thin layer of skin that protects the small, hard bean.
Coffee tree matures after about four to five years and yields about one pound of coffee per year for about 15-20 years. A plant’s coffee berries will ripen at various times, requiring pickers to select only the ripest berries and leave the unripe berries for later. This hand picking is highly preferred so that unripe berries are not mixed in with the perfectly ripe berries, as occurs with machine picking.
A coffee blend is a mix of different coffees. The intent of preparing a gourmet coffee blend is to create a coffee that has a pleasing combination of taste with just the right acidity, body, finish, and aroma. Some coffee shops have their own signature blends—perhaps you would even like to create your own! Choose a combination of premium gourmet coffees and see if you can achieve a unique balance, revealing flavors that you enjoy!
Arabica beans or Coffee Arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated for well over 1,000 years ago. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffea_arabica)
It has less caffeine, less acidity, more aromatic properties, and are considered to be the superior bean by many coffee drinking aficionados. This is the bean used for the more expensive specialty and gourmet coffees (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-arabica-beans.htm)
Originating in the Congo basin, this hardy species is widely grown in Africa and Asia where the climate is unsuitable for Coffee Arabica.
Coffee Robusta or Coffea canephora produce a strong, full-bodied coffee with a distinctive earthy flavour, but usually with more bitterness than arabica.