Coffee

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Coffee. Like most people, I can not start the day without a good cup of coffee in the morning! Along with several cups throughout the day as well that is!

There is a real art to brewing coffee and it goes all the way back to the farmers and how they grow it, what the climate is like and the soil type where the plants grow! That’s all before you even start to think about roasting and brewing i!

So where did it come from? ?ow did they brew it all those years ago and more importantly why did someone think that it was a good idea (which it was!) to grind it down and squeeze hot water through it?

Where did coffee come from

Apparently coffee is not from Italy it’s from Africa. (sorry if you are Italian and you are now mad!). Legend has it that a 15-year-old goat herder called Kalid in the 9th Century found it.

He was watching his goats get excited when they ate the beans off of what we know now to be a coffee plant. He decided to eat them himself and he also got excited. So he went to the local monastery and told the monks that lived there about them. They didn’t like them. They threw the berries on the fire. The aroma from the beans wafted in the air and then one of the monks took the roasted beans out of the fire, once it has gone out and ground them down with hot water.

The reason I say Legend is because this account was written down 800 years after it was meant to of happened! Lots of people believe it, so by default it makes it true…

…Unless you believe the other story that is! Which goes a little something like this…

There was a man called Omar who was a Sheikh. He got exiled from the town Mocha for doing something bad. Alone in a cave staving, he noticed a nearby tree with berries on it. Seeing as he was alone and was staving he decided that the would eat these berries.

He didn’t like them.

So instead of giving up took some more berries and he cooked them over a fire. They then went hard. Still not happy he decided to boil them down and the resulting brown liquid revitalized him for days! Or so the story goes.

Word got around of this miracle liquid and a search party went to look for him. When they found him he showed them his crude coffee mixture and was welcome to go back with to Mocha with them because they liked it so much. So he went back and became a saint in the process!

Countries that have contributed to the coffee we know today

The following countries have had a significant contribution to the dark coloured liquid that we know and love today.

Brazil

Coffee plants need a hot climate to grow and Brazil is perfect for it! Brazil is the number one exporter of coffee in the world however, this wasn’t always the case. Coffee was first introduced to Brazil in 1727 but it wasn’t until 1822 when Brazil gained independence that they cleared a large amount of the Brazilian rain forest to produce it. By 1850 it was the largest producer in the world and it still is today.

Italy

Coffee was introduced to Italy in the 17th Century and a complex culture quickly developed along with certain rules for drinking coffee!

  • You should only order a cappuccino before 11 am! You can order a macchiato’s though (apparently!)
  • Coffee is an Espresso if you want a larger coffee you have to ask! for it
  • Don’t ask for it to go! There are no take away cups!
  • A latte is only made at home and is a breakfast drink!

Don’t believe me? Ask any Italian these things and they will tell you (in great detail with lots of hand gestures!)

Australia

The good people from the land down under also have a quality coffee culture! Although they are a little more laid back than our loveable Italian cousins!

They are also responsible for the creation of the flat white, a strong coffee with a little milk and not a lot of foam.

There’s some dispute about who created it. However, it has been a permanent fixture at an espresso bar called Moors in Sydney since 1985. Which has spread like wildfire and is now on every menu across the world!

Austria

This country created the Latte and the cappuccino in the early 17th Century. Viennese coffee shops had signs up. with the description of coffee with added cream, sugar and spice.

It isn’t clear what the description was referring to but both took on their own identity with the introduction of foamed milk.

France

They created the first version of the Liquor coffee In 1834, pre-dating the Irish version by over 100 years. This mixture of coffee and spirit went by the name of Gloria and it was served as a dessert. My kind of dessert!

Ireland

Irish coffee is famous! The story goes that in County Limerick, a head Chef called Jon Sheridan who worked at the airport, added Irish whisky to coffee for the passengers that got off of the plane . He served up coffee adding lots of sugar, making sure it was dissolved and floated heavy cream on top. Presumably to not let the whisky evaporate!

Health benefits of coffee

There are a lot of health benefits to coffee, for example, it improves your energy levels and the caffeine keeps you alert. Which is useful on long car journeys .

It improves brain function and releases Dopamine into your system, which is the feel-good chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy.

The caffeine in coffee helps to raise your metabolic rate and help you to burn fat. Although you can’t just rely on coffee, you need to eat a healthy diet and avoid junk food as well!

Just don’t over do it!

There are serval side effects to drinking too much, firstly its really high in caffeine, drinking too much or drink it too late may result in you not being able to sleep! It is also harder to wake up in the morning if you drink a lot of coffee. Drinking large amounts will also make you Skittish and it also has a high diuretic effect, meaning you need to go to the loo more often and leave you dehydrated.

So enjoy coffee and all of its benefits, just make sure you don’t overdo it!

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