Kaldi, an Abysinian (now Ethiopia) shepherd was raising cattle while he saw some of his sheep start to behave very oddly – they began to run and jump around. He didn't then realise what caused this. Later, upon close observation, he noticed that his sheep were chewing on some berries that made them super energetic. He too decided to try it out on his way home, and, much to his surprise, discovered a similar feeling of a surge of energy. Thus, coffee was discovered.
Legend has it that coffee was first brewed in Abyssinia around the 9th century by a shepherd. But as he presented his discovery to local monasteries, the berries were marked as 'work of the devil'. They did however, became popular among local Sufis as they used to research, sing, play music, and pray throughout the night, and these berries helped them to stay awake and lively. This news spread out very quickly among the local masses and people started to consume coffee discreetly.
It was called Qahweh in Arabic, which means wine of the berries. Not only was it consumed at home, but there were also there was qahweh khaneh (coffee house) where people could drink coffee and see dance performances or listen to live music. From qahweh came French Cafe and English Coffee.
Coffee was brought to Cairo by a group of students, and soon it caught the attention of everyone around the empire. By the 13th century it reached Turkey, but was not fully familiar in Europe until the 16th century. Merchants from Venice started trading this unusually bitter dark beverage. Even the Americans first tasted coffee in the 1720s. And today, coffee is brewed in every city of every country.
Types of coffee
There are dozens of types of coffee but when it comes to brewing, arabica and robusta are the ones to talk about. These two species create infinite numbers of blends. Arabica, which is sweet and fruity, is the most widely brewed coffee, at 70 percent worldwide consumption, while robusta, at 30 percent, has more of a woody flavour. Arabica costs more to yield yet contains less caffeine at 1.5 percent while robusta is the stronger variety at 2.7 percent. Different blends of coffees are a balanced mixture of arabica and robusta beans.
Coffee contains varieties of antioxidants that help the body fight chemicals which are called free radicals. This lowers the risk of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Type II diabetes, and heart diseases.
Coffee stimulates our metabolism. It also helps improve physical performances, which makes it an outstanding pre-workout drink. Studies have shown that drinking caffeine can increase your metabolism from 3 to 11 percent. It gives the required adrenaline rush and focus which helps one to workout more.
Coffee is a spectacular drink to fight depression. Improving the blood flow, it boosts up a drinker and brightens the mood.
There are also essential nutrients in coffee. Two cups of coffee can fulfil around one fourth of dietary requirement of Vitamin B2, B5 and manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
Coffee is also very good for the liver. People who drink four cups of coffee a day are 80 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis or live cancer, and other dreadful conditions that develop from several diseases affecting the liver. Coffee has been found to reverse liver damage caused by alcohol.
When to drink coffee
The ideal time for drinking coffee is between 9:30-11:30 in the morning and from 1:30-5 in the afternoon, as cortisol production at this time is low. And of course, one should avoid drinking coffee after 7 in the evening. The lingering caffeine in the body hampers the sleeping process.
Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth standing only after petroleum. This industry is worth about $100 billion, and coffee exporting itself, is a 20 billion dollar industry. That puts it ahead of some very important commodities like natural gas, gold, sugar, and corn.
Economic livelihood of over 25 million people are related to coffee. Over 50 countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean grow coffee, while almost 67 percent of the world's coffee is grown in the Americas alone. The top three producers of coffee are Brazil, Vietnam, and Columbia.
But less than 10 percent of this 100 billion dollar a year industry ends up in the hands of the actual coffee farmers.
The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) reports say that in September, 2014; 8.15 million bags of coffee were exported, compared to 8.55 million the prior year which clearly shows decline in production though the consumption is rising every day.
Coffee Fun Facts
The world consumes close to 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day!
The original definition of coffee is wine. The original name of coffee is qahweh, which came from the Yemen term for wine.
Coffee was banned in a lot of places for a long long time, as it was thought to be a creation of the devil.
If one yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, they would have produced enough energy to heat one cup of coffee.
50 percent of the caffeine consumed may be cleared from your body within 5 hours, but it will take over a day to fully eliminate it from one's system.
It takes about 37 gallons (140 litres) of water to grow coffee beans and process them to make one cup of coffee.
In the ancient Arab culture, there was only one way a woman could legally get a divorce; and that is if her husband failed to provide her with enough coffee.
Most expensive coffee varieties
The most expensive coffees are extracted from the faeces of Asian palm civet (called luwak in Indonesia) and elephant. A civet or luwak can't digest the coffee seed, only the cherries and pulp. During digestion, some kind of unique fermentation happens, which enhanves the flaour in the bean itself. Once the luwak poops it out, it is gently and carefully collected, washed, dried, and pounded to remove the skin, then sorted and finally roasted. This coffee is called kopi luwak which costs around $600 per pound.
The production method of Black Ivory is almost the same, but it is collected from elephant dung. A cup of Black Ivory will cost $50-80.