Coffee originated around the Red sea, most probably in Ethiopia and also in some parts of Yemen. By the 13th century, coffee was grown in most parts of the Arab world. By the 18th.century coffee was grown in Java and in the Caribbean Islands. Today, coffee is widely enjoyed by people all around the world, though there are different ways of preparing it.
Coffee is successfully grown in hot climates around the world. This is a labour intensive crop due to its ways of tending, pruning, hoeing, weeding and harvesting. Everything needs to do be done by hand carefully. Just after harvesting, the ripe like berry fruits are called “Cherries”. These ripen over a period of six to eight months and turn red when ripe.
Inside there are two beans that have to be separated from the pulp and the skin and then dried. This process is called curing. In the traditional dry method of curing, the cherries are laid out in the sun and completely dried. The dried skins and pulp are removed by the hulling machine.
The wet method is employed for high quality handpicked beans. The outer fleshy layer is removed and then the cherries are soaked and fermented, followed by washing and drying. Finally the skin is removed by the hulling machine. In both the cases hulled or polished green beans are sorted, graded and packed for export. Roasting is done in the country of export. Most of the coffee is sold after it has been roasted. The roasting process is necessary to reduce the acidity of the beans and to develop aromatic oils, which gives its aroma and flavour.
The different types of common coffees are listed below:
Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and most of it is used to manufacture instant coffee. This is medium roasted and has a flavour which is soft, mellow and full bodied.
It is a fine coffee with a round body and a good balance of flavour and acidity. This is either medium or dark roasted. Examples include Medellin Excelso or Libana Supreme.
All the beans from this country have a rich spiciness and a smoky character. It has a pleasant and flavour-some acidity property.
The most well-known are Java and Sumatra Coffees. They are heavy bodied, smooth in flavour with little acidity. Java beans have a unique smoky taste while Sumatra beans have a slight chocolate flavour.
Jamaican Blue Mountain.
It has a smooth, subtle delicacy and a gentle acidity alongwith a nutty flavour. This coffee is in great demand and is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
This is the best known Indian coffee. It has a delicate aroma and a smooth, soft flavour with no acidity. It is often blended with mocha to give us Mysore Mocha.
Mocha is a name given to coffee in Arabia. Mocha is a name also given to Ethiopian coffee. Ethiopian Mocha has a rich complex flavour with an excellent aroma. It is the preferred choice of most coffee connoisseurs. It is famously used in Turkish coffee.
Now let us understand the different types of roasting.
The degree of roasting determines the delicacy or richness of a coffee. The strength of a coffee is determined by the amount of coffee used.
This roast is used for beans with subtle flavours and this gives it a light brown colour. This coffee is most suitable for drinking with milk.
With a more pronounced flavour and smell, this roast results in a coffee that is good for breakfast and having it with milk.
This roast gives the beans a deep colour and a glossy finish. It provides a strong flavour and aroma. It is mostly had as a black coffee after dinner.
It is a very dark roast and is full of strong smoky flavours. It is a powerful coffee and preferred by those who like strong coffee.
Different types of grinds.
The coarseness or fineness of the grind determines the surface area of the coffee that will come in contact with water. Some brewing methods have a very long or short contact period between the ground and the water and they must be matched with a suitable grind. The flavour of coffee depends upon its highly volatile oils and so it is best to buy freshly roasted beans in small quantities.
This grind is done mostly at home. It may be used in the jug and the percolator method. It will produce lighter brew than medium grind.
This is the most versatile grind which uses jugs, percolators, pots and fine sieve.
For coffee made by the filter or drip method, this is the grind to choose. It produces a large surface area of coffee that allows the water to filter through to take up the maximum flavour. This coffee will be strong as the fineness of the grind will prevent the water from filtering through too fast, thereby lengthening the contact time between coffee and water.
This is a fine grind designed specifically for use in espresso machines and Moka espresso pots.
This is a powdered coffee and the finest grind available. The heat generated during the grinding process contributes to the distinctive flavour.
Different coffees, the world enjoys.
- Viennese Coffee
- Turkish Coffee
- Café au lait
- Gaelic Coffee
- Café Brulot
Some of the nutritional and health benefits of coffee are:
- It improves energy levels as caffeine is a stimulant.
- Coffee helps in fat burning and increases metabolism.
- It has several important nutrients like riboflavin, magnesium and niacin etc.
- Research has indicated that it lowers the risk of Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.
- It has a high level of antioxidant which is good for your body.
These are some of the fascinating and nutritional health facts of coffees from all around the world. Choose which coffee is good for you and enjoy its flavour and aroma while starting your day.
Please read our earlier article Healthy Teas.
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