Stories have it that the coffee bean was discovered by Ethiopians when they found their goats became highly excitable - appearing to dance, after eating from a particular red berried, bush.
The coffee bean itself grows on trees... sometimes growing up to 15 metres tall (though cultivated and cropped down to a managable 2-3 metres). The bean is at the heart of the tree's bright red berries.
Coffee beans were cultivated from the 6th century and with the rise of Islam and the banning of alcohol, coffee was seen as acceptable and soon made popular. The early coffee houses in Cairo and Mecca began to export, introducing the exotic flavour and fresh aroma to the world.
In 1675 the English King Charles II banned "Coffee Houses" as the resort of 'sedition and revolution'; though also appoints the first official Astronomer to Greenwich.
The top ten, current countries cultivating coffee are:
✜ Brazil (22.5 million bags); ✜ Colombia (10.5 million bags); ✜ Indonesia (6.7 million bags); ✜ Vietnam (5.8 million bags); ✜ Mexico (5 million bags); ✜ Ethiopia (3.8 million bags); ✜ India (3.5 million bags); ✜ Guatemala (3.5 million bags); ✜ Ivory Coast (3.3 million bags); ✜ Uganda (3 million bags). This makes a "Coffee Belt" that circles the world.
Coffee beans are the second most traded commodity on earth. The berries are harvested through the summer months, then dried and the outter husk/fruit removed, leaving a small greenish bean. The bean is then slowly dried and takes on the aroma of toast or popcorn. The first roasting (or 'cracking') is at approx. 220° C. where it doubles in size and turns light brown. Later, a second roasting defines the final colour and maximizes the sweetness and aroma.
Expresso: | e-spres-oh | is not a particular type of bean, roast or blend. Rather it is the method of preparation - ie. shooting pressurised, hot water through finely ground coffee. For more information about methods of preparation, click here. ❐
70% of the world consumes Arabica coffee, which is both mild and aromatic. The remaining 30% drink Robusta - which has a more bitter taste but infuses 50% more caffeine than Arabica.
Noted names involved in promoting the dark brew include George Washington - a grocer that commercialised the first instant coffee. Voltaire - renowned for drinking over 50 cups a day; and Theodore Roosevelt - who reputedly drank over a gallon a day. Beethoven was so particular about his coffee, he counted the 60 beans for each cup; while in 1732, Bach wrote a coffee cantata.
The world's first webcam served at University of Cambridge to monitor the state of the coffee perculator (a 129 x 129 pixel, grayscale picture of the coffee pot at 1 frame per second).
Not all Coffees are created equal. Our passion for quality and sourcing the best possible balance in bean origins and roasting techniques; results in our superior blends. They are now offered to the discerning lover of Coffee.