Saturday, April 18, 2009

a short dissertation on the phenomenon which is Coffee.

I am a huge fan of coffee, as i am sure lots of you out in blogland are too, there are lots of different kinds of coffee, such as Caffè Latte, {simply Latte to you Americans} which actually just means "Coffee & Milk" in Italian, Cappuccino, which is a frothy mixture of Espresso, Hot milk, and Steamed milk-foam. {now doesnt that sound delicious?} and then there is Espresso, the mother of all black coffee, {my personal favorite} this drink is actually concentrated black coffee. so concentrated in fact, that they only give about an ounce! but that ounce is like a gallon of normal coffee, you can see why this one is my personal favorite. there are no two ways about it, it's awesome. but there are also many different kinds of coffee beans, there are shade-grown, fair trade, Species of coffee plant include Coffea arabica, Coffea benghalensis, Coffea canephora, Coffea congensis, Coffea excelsa, Coffea gallienii, Coffea bonnieri, Coffea mogeneti, Coffea liberica, and Coffea stenophylla. The seeds of different species produce coffee with slightly different characteristics,
"Coffee use can be traced at least to as early as the ninth century, when it appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia, According to legend, an Arab goatherder named Khalid noticed that his goats became more lively after eating the berries of the coffee plant. Intrigued, he boiled the berries, thus producing the first coffee. From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen It was in Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed, similar to how it is done today. By the 15th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia,{Iran} Turkey, and Northern africa.
In 1583, Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, gave this description of coffee after returning from a ten-year trip to the Near East,
"A beverage as black as ink, useful against numerous illnesses particularly those of the stomach. Its consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.""

that bit was blatantly stolen from Wikipiedia, from the coffee article, i thought that explained the history bit quite nicely, don't you? any way, i think that it is quite the neat little tidbit that coffe was originaly used as, "medicine!" once the coffee bean made its way from Arabia to Italy is when all these popular drinks got started, on a side note, the first caffe was in 1645, in italy. but this was only after the pope declared that Coffee was actualy a christian drink, and not a muslim drink, that says something about Christian grattitude doesn't it? the dutch actually were the first to import this "muslim drink" on a large scale, even though there was an Arab prohibition on the exportation of plants or unroasted seeds when Pieter van den Broeck smuggled seedlings from Aden into Europe in 1616. they then grew it in thier colonies of java and ceylon, {now Sri Lanka} through the effortas of the east india company, the drink became quite popular in England, it first came here, {America} during the colonial period, but it wasnt as popular as in England until after the war of 1812 when england decided to starve us of our tea, but it really took during the civil war, after that americans cant seem to get enough of the stuff, so much that it has become a vital "Cash Crop" for developing countries, but its not all good, we want so much coffee that the growers are actually cutting down the rainforest to make room for more coffee plants! and once they do cut down the rainforest, some of them aren't even turning a decent profit! but you can help by buying "fair trade" which means that the workers get a decent wage, meaning they can make more money from less land, and then there is "shade grown" sun grown {not shade-grown, bear with me} sun grown coffee means that the coffee growers are actually cutting down the trees too increse production! which is entirely the wrong way to go about it, you see, coffee is actually better in the shade, so shade grown means that the coffee growers plant native trees and then prune them gently so that you get the optimal coffee, another quite informative tidbit from wikipiedia ,
"Native tree species are deliberately planted between rows of coffee shrubs. Management of these trees includes pruning before the coffee flowering period, in order to avoid competition for light, water and nutrients. Trees sprout back, forming a slight canopy which protects the coffee environment, increases biodiversity and increases nutrient cycling to coffee plants"
now dosen't that explain it nicely? so lets review, Shade Grown: less deforestation, more habitat. Fair Trade: more money, less land, more trees less deforestation,
Best Regards,
{you know i really should have titled this post "a Rather long dissertation on the phenomenon which is coffee with multiple parts stolen from Wikipiedia where i couldn't have said it better" but than you wouldn't have picked up this copy of Save the Croissants now would you?}


  1. So now I am a more knowledgeable huge fan of coffee, thanks!

  2. you are very welcome Mr. Earl.

    Best Regards,


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