History of coffee
The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the thirteenth century with a number of myths surrounding its first use. The original native population of coffee is thought to have come from East Africa, and it was first cultivated by Arabs from the 14th century. The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and northern Africa. Coffee then spread to Balkans, Italy and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and then to the Americas.
Coffee typically falls into two classifications worldwide:
- Robusta: Coffea CanephoraRobusta accounts for approximately 24% of the world-wide production of coffees, and it is grown at altitudes between sea level and 3000 feet. These coffees are exclusively grown in the Eastern hemisphere and thrive in equatorial climates at low altitudes. It is a very hardy and disease-resistant evergreen bush that blossoms throughout the year. Typically, Robusta is a bitter berry to the taste, thin in body, and very pungent. It contains double the caffeine of the Arabica berry with higher amounts of soluble acids. These berries require less care since they remain on the tree after ripening. The bushes are able to be harvested within 2-3 years after planting.
- Examples of Robusta-Producing Countries
Uganda, Bali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Angola, Borneo, Sumatra, Celebes, Vietnam
Robusta is typically used for the creation of espressos and blends to add body. It is a popular coffee used by large manufacturers who can coffee for mass production. It is also popular for manufacturers that produce instant coffee for packaging.
- Arabica: Coffea Arabica The Arabica species is named after those indigenous to Arabia. It accounts for approximately 76% of world-wide production and is grown at elevations between 2000 and 6000 feet (high altitudes). These coffee evergreens grow in semitropical climates near the equator, both in the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The maturing process of the coffee berry is slow because of the cooler temperatures at these elevations, which produce a smaller, more flavorful berry. Because of the great care that must be taken in all stages of growth, harvest, and processing of the Arabica berries, it is more expensive than the berries yielded by the Robusta plants. Because the ripe Arabica berries fall to the ground and can spoil, they must be carefully monitored and harvested to ensure freshness. These coffee bushes provide a berry that has a bright and sweet taste with a well-balanced aroma. The Arabica bushes are able to be harvested within 4-5 years after planting.
- Examples of Arabica-Producing Countries
Columbia, Papau New Guinea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Kenya, Tanzania, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Hawaii, Yemen, Brazil, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Specialty coffee shops typically serve Arabica because of its high quality and taste attributes. These berries make up the majority of Evening Star Coffee Roasters product mix.
Description of Roasts
– Light-roast bean
– Light-brown colored bean
– Dry surface
– Weight of the bean is heavy
– Flavor is light bodied. Often referred to as the cinnamon roast.
– During the roast process, the beans crack and double in size. This is typically where high-volume packaging manufacturers stop the roasting process for packaging. This is at approximately 8 minutes into the roasting process.
– Medium-roast bean
– Medium-brown colored bean
– Dry surface but slightly shiny as the oils start to come to the surface.
– Weight of the bean is lighter than the mild roast.
– Full bodied and balanced with complexity. Rich and pleasant aroma.
– The beans are 9-12 minutes into the roast.
– Dark-roast bean
– Dark chocolate-brown colored bean
– Slightly shiny surface
– Weight of the bean is lighter than the medium roast.
– Rich chocolaty body, varied spiciness, and smoky aroma.
– The beans are 12-14 minutes into the roast.
– This is when the second crack occurs.
– Very dark-roast bean
– Black colored bean
– Very oily and shiny surface
– Weight of the bean is lighter than the dark roast.
– Very smoky, dark taste
– The beans are 14+ minutes into the roast.
– This is when beans become quiet and begin to smoke.
– The bean sugars begin to carbonize.
− less developed in light roasts
− important because it impacts the way a person interprets the flavor
− higher intensity in medium and medium-dark roasts
− lessens in darker roasts
− brisk and bright
− significantly important tasting characteristic
− the darker the roast, the less the acidity
− in some select dark roasts, acidity shows up as sharpness and pungency
− coffees lacking acidity can be bland and lifeless
− the sensation of heaviness on the tongue
− can be full, medium, or light in body
− texture may feel buttery, oily, thin, watery, gritty, thin
− body typically increases between a medium- and dark-brown roast
− in very dark roasts, body decreases to a thin and gritty sensation
− a term that describes the power behind the roast
− the sensation that drives the taste
− at its peak in the middle range of roasts
− provides a wide range of taste sensations
− describes a coffee with many taste sensations that shift and layer on the palate
− describes a coffee in which no single trait overwhelms another
− a coffee with a high level of acidity that surprises the tongue
− a high level of acidity that produces little aftertaste
− describes a grassy or muddy taste
− a term that describes an aftertaste left in the mouth