All about coffee

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. They are seeds of "coffee cherries" that grow on trees in over 70 countries. Green coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world, second only to crude oil. Due to its caffeine content, coffee can have a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.

It is thought that the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant was first recognized in Yemen in Arabia and the south west of Ethiopia, and the cultivation of coffee expanded in the Arab world.  The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas. 

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea Robusta) and Coffea Arabica. These are cultivated primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.

Etymology

The term coffee was introduced to Europe by the Ottoman Turkish kahve, which is, in turn, derived from Arabic: قهوة‎, qahwah.


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Cultivation

Coffee is usually propagated by seeds. The traditional method of planting coffee is to put 20 seeds in each hole at the beginning of the rainy season; half are eliminated naturally. Coffee is often intercropped with food crops, such as corn, beans, or rice, during the first few years of cultivation.


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Harvest

When the fruits mature, 6-8 months after flowering for Arabica, 9-11 months for Robusta, coffee harvesting can begin.

Coffee berries and their seeds undergo several processes before they become the familiar roasted coffee. Berries have been traditionally selectively picked by hand; a labor intensive method, it involves the selection of only the berries at the peak of ripeness


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Roasting is the art of making coffee

In a tank heated between 200 and 250° C, the bean will swell and lose its humidity. Once, roasting or caramelizing is over, coffee will have increased its volume by 30% and lost about 22% of its weight. The beans will begin to crackle and form volatile aromatic oil. It is this oil that gives coffee its flavor. At this point we need to stop the cooking.


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Grinding

The whole coffee beans are ground, also known as milling, to facilitate the brewing process.

The fineness of grind strongly affects brewing, and must be matched to the brewing method for best results. Brewing methods which expose coffee grounds to heated water for longer require a coarser grind than faster brewing methods.


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Coffee cupping or coffee tasting

It is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as Master Tasters. A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue


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Stimulating properties

Coffee contains caffeine, an alkaloid which has among other things, stimulating properties. For this reason, it is mostly consumed in the morning or during working hours, and sometimes, late at night, for those who want to stay awake and focused.


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Therapy properties

Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills — from the humorous "It will stunt your growth" to the not-so-humorous claim that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it — good or bad? The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.


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