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What is Coffee?


It all started with a goat. At least that’s how the legend goes. A herder in Eastern Ethiopia noticed members of the herd had an extra bounce to their step. The goats had been doing what goats do best, eating whatever they find. And what they found were coffee cherries. Soon the goats were prancing around like the cast of Riverdance, and the herder decided to try some too. The rest is history, and a very interesting history at that.

Today coffee is the world’s most popular stimulant. In America alone 400 million cups are consumed every day. It is the second most valuable traded commodity, beaten out by oil, which takes the number one spot. Coffee plants have been cultivated in every hemisphere, from countries as far apart as Guatemala and Papua New Guinea, and in regions, and cultures as diverse as the ways coffee is used. You can drink it hot or cold. It flavors ice creams, liquors, granola bars, and candy. You can even get coffee scented perfume.

It has become the livelihood of some of the poorest people, a status symbol for many of the richest, and an essential part of the lives of many of the people in between. Coffee has taken the heart of the world. I know it’s taken mine.
You can have coffee in so many ways that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the innovations involved with creating it, and all the fascinating compositions coffee geeks are coming up with all the time. As we go along our journey together we’ll learn all sorts of fun ways to add a little zing to your cup, or if you just want a straight forward cup we’ll talk about the best ways to brew coffee, and the techniques we can use to make every cup a success.

Coffee as a plant
Coffee comes from a plant, and we make coffee from the coffee “beans” this plant produces. These beans are ground up and water mixed in through a variety of ways. In the process creates the coffee beverages we know and love. The coffee “bean” is actually the seed of coffee plants. There are many varieties of coffee plants out there all in the overarching genus of coffea.

The two most common species of coffee plant are coffea arabica which makes Arabica Coffee and coffea canephora which makes Robusta Coffee. These two species make up the vast majority of coffee on the market today. Arabica Coffee is generally considered to make a better quality cup of coffee then Robusta Coffee, which is cheaper to produce, has higher caffeine content, and is used by many places in espresso blends to help crème (we’ll get to what that is later) form in the espresso. Many coffee shops today use coffee from both plants; however there are also many places that stick to Arabica. It might be a good idea to ask what kind of coffee you are being served. Once while I was in HungaryI found a shop that had two separate menus based around both plants.

Comments (2)

Yay! I love coffee, I look forward to future entries from the coffee master.

if this is the intro to your training manual i would say it is very good.

i look forward to reading future entries.

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