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Where Does Coffee Come From

Many of us enjoy the thrill that comes with drinking a well-brewed cup of coffee without really caring too much about its origin. If you are a coffee barista like me, you will want to know about the origins of the coffee beans. It may not make much difference in the way you enjoy your coffee but it will help you to learn all the tidbits of coffee beans that you do not know.

So, where does coffee come from?

Origins

The coffee we drink comes from several countries that enjoy tropical climate across the world. The countries of origin that make up the coffee belt or bean belt, spread across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Coffee does best in places with rich soils, lots of rain, not too much sun, and mild temperatures.

Altitude and type of soil are the major influences on the taste, aroma, and flavor of the coffee beans. Each region produces its unique aroma, and flavor notes, which is the reason behind different tasting types of coffee.

Coffee in the Arab World

The Arabian Peninsula was the first place to start coffee cultivation in the Arab world. The Yemeni district was the first to start coffee growing in the 15th century. The activity quickly spread to other regions and by the 16th century, countries such as Turkey, Syria, Persia, and Egypt were cultivating coffee.

Coffee became popular in both homes and qahveh khaneh or public coffee houses spread across the region. Coffee brought people together where besides enjoying the taste and flavors of coffee, they also engaged in other activities that included playing chess, playing, and listening to music, among other entertainments. Pilgrims to mecca from different people across the world helped to spread the fane of coffee from the Arab region.

Istanbul Coffee Shops

Coffee-House_Istanbul

Istanbul has a very rich history and culture surrounding the coffee origin. A tour in the country takes you to plenty of old and new coffee cafes spread across the whole region. The origin of coffee in Istanbul dates back to the Ottoman Empire.

After the introduction of coffee from Yemen, it became one of the trendiest beverages especially among Istanbul's ruling classes during The Magnificent Sultan Suleyman's ruling era.

Ceremonies and rituals surrounding coffee became the norm among the ruling classes in Istanbul during this era.

Before long, the aroma, flavor, and taste of coffee fame spread across other regions in Istanbul, becoming part of a lifestyle for the citizens. In the mid-16th century, two traders Hakem and Samli opened the first Istanbul coffee shop. Soon after that first coffeeshop, many other traders followed suit by opening coffee shops that represented various occupations ranging from poets, tradesmen, musicians, and more.

Today, Ottoman coffee shops serving authentic Turkish coffee still thrive in Istanbul. International brands such as Nespresso also joined the bandwagon and introduced their coffee brand into the Istanbul market with many others following suit.

Specialty coffee, with emphasis on retaining the high quality of coffee production that also saw the use of improved scientific approaches and techniques, started to take center stage. Istanbul enjoys a blend of new coffee shops that focus on specialty coffee and old Ottoman's favorite coffee.

Shepherd Kaldi And His Goats

Shepherd Kaldi And His Goats

Probably one of the best coffee origins is the story of Shepherd Kaldi and his goats, the Ethiopian herder behind coffee beans discovery. The Kaldi story is that he first discovered the beans after his goats started to display energetic tendencies after eating berries from a certain tree. The goats were so energetic that they did not want to sleep on the night they ate the berries.

Kaldi went to the abbot with his energetic goat findings. Stories differ as to how the monk reacted after the herder presented him with the berries. Some say that the monk prepared a drink with the berries and stayed alert for long hours through the night. The Abbot called other monks to share his findings and as they say, the rest is history.

Different versions of the story say, the monk threw the berries into a fire and the pleasant aroma caught his attention thus beginning the journey of the first roasted coffee beans in the world. News about the discovery spread everywhere thus beginning the coffee beans love across the world.

Monopoly

It did not the Arabs too long to make coffee one of their best export commodities after its popularity spread across the continent. The Arabs also tried to monopolize coffee growing by preventing other countries from doing the same. The Arabs resulted in boiling coffee beans in extremely hot water of frying them partially before export to prevent them from germinating.

Visitors to the Arab world were under strict instructions not to visit coffee farms. The monopoly measures did not work and in the 17th century, Arab reported its first case of smuggled coffee beans when Baba Budan, a pilgrim managed to take some to India from Mecca. The move brought forth the first coffee plantation in Mizoram, India. Towards the end of the 17th century, there was coffee in Malabar, Java, and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Coffee Penetrates Europe

Travelers from Europe to the east were the first people to bring back home stories about the unique dark beverage. In the early 17th century, coffee started to make a mark in Europe and within a short time, its fame spread across the continent. While some people did not welcome the new coffee invasion calling it a "Bitter Invention of Satan", others embraced its taste and flavor. There is even a story of how a local clergy condemned coffee drinking until the pope intervened.

After tasting the coffee, Pope Clement VIII gave it his papal approval after finding it to be extremely satisfying. By the mid-17th century, more than 300 coffee shops sprang up everywhere in Holland, France, England, Austria, and Germany with the beverage becoming a breakfast preference drink for many people. In England, penny universities became the norm and as centers for stimulating conversations over a cup of coffee.

Discussion of the Franco-Prussian War in a Paris coffee shop

From time immemorial, coffee houses were some of the most important places for business connections and exchange of information. Some of the best examples of companies that started because of coffee houses include the giant Lloyds insurance market of London.

The coffee house that helped the organization grow was the coffee house of Edward Lloyd, based on tower street. Another discussion over coffee in Jonathon's coffee house; saw the growth of London stock exchange.

Boston Tea Party

The Boston tea party rebellion went down in history as one of the worst times in the history of America. Did you know that the rebels planned the rebellion in a coffee house? Now you know. The place for the meeting was in the green dragon Boston. Ordinary coffee shops on the same street, that goes by the name wall street today, are famed spots for Bank Of New York, and New York Stock Exchange, among many others.

Caribbean and Central America

The Caribbean and Central America are diverse regions with fascinating white beaches, and the most amazing coffee. They enjoy tropical climate, which is conducive for coffee growth. The coffee countries in the Caribbean and south American coffee belt include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Hawaii, Honduras, Jamaica, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, and Puerto Rico.

Colonialists introduced coffee to the Latin America region in early 18th century with the first seedlings in the Caribbean in 1720. 50 years after the introduction of coffee seedlings to Martinique in the Caribbean by Gabriel de Clieu, there were over 18,000 trees in Martinique, Haiti, and Mexico.

By the end of the 18th century, majority of the Latin American countries had taken up coffee farming. However, in Brazil, it was not until 1822 that coffee cultivation took a serious momentum. Today, some of the world's best coffee comes from the Caribbean and Latin America.

South America

The first coffee plantations brought by the Dutch appeared first in Suriname, followed by Guyana in South America in 1718. By the end of the 18th century, there were more imports of coffee from java by the Dutch, while the British imported theirs from India.

The French also started looking for ways to import their coffee from their Caribbean colonies, while Portugal was for ways to enter into the coffee trade as well. Coffee became a great contributor to treasury revenues back then.

Lt. Col. Francisco de Mello Palet

Brazil became a target for the next generation plantations, when Vasco Fernandez Caesar De Menessa, the Portuguese King Viceroy in brazil send colonel Francisco De Mello Palet to get beans from Guyana. The colonel asked the Guyana governor for coffee but he refused. He then charmed his way to the governor's wife who bestowed a large stash upon him of coffee beans that helped to start the multi-million Brazil coffee industry.

Coffee Shop in the Ottoman Empire

Ottoman coffee house first came into the limelight in the 19th century in Tophane Mirgirdic, Civanyan. In the past, coffee duality was the order of the day as coffee houses and beverage faced constant bans until authorities found solutions to lifting the bans.

Some of the options included taxing the coffee. Some cities, especially in the Middle East, banned coffee for years without any reprieve. One example was the Ottoman Empire that deemed it necessary for a woman to divorce her husband if he failed to supply her with enough coffee.

Coffee in the New World

In the mid-17th century, the Dutch introduced coffee to New Amsterdam (New England). The move saw many coffee shops springing up cities such as Boston and Philadelphia, among others. Before coffee became the most popular beverage, tea was a favorite drink for the majority of Americans.

The 1773 Boston tea party changed the coffee culture consumption after some colonies rebelled against an increase in tea tax. Americans started taking coffee in place of tea, which made it the national leading drink.

What Type of Coffee Plants Are There?

There are over 80 types of coffee plants worldwide but the most dominant types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica has over 100 varietals under its name while Robusta has only a couple under its family. Each of the species, varietal, and place of growth affects the taste and the amount of caffeine in the beans. Arabica

Arabica is the more popular of the two types of coffee. It is also older than Robusta and it grows in many if the coffee belt countries. Arabica coffee is also the most popular among the majority of coffee lovers around the world. Arabica coffee beans have intense, high-quality aromas, and flavor notes. They also come with some kind of sweetness and complexity that finds people preferring it to other types of coffee. The majority of the roast coffee beans belong to the Arabica lineage.

Robusta on the other hand are smaller coffee beans that compared to Arabica, have fewer compounds of sugar giving them more bitter and earthy flavors. Robusta also comes with more caffeine content and it is easier to cultivate than the Arabica plant. Robusta coffee beans are also cheaper and used mostly on commercial-grade products.

coffee-infographic-everything-you-need-to-know-about-coffee

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What Do Coffee Beans Grow on?

Coffee is without a doubt, one of the most popular and loved beverages around the world. Besides the wonderful aromas and flavors that you get from a cup of nicely brewed coffee beans, they also contain antioxidants, which have immense health benefits. Coffee beans are the two seeds found inside the coffee fruit or cherry.

So, what do coffee beans grow on?

Coffee beans or coffee cherries grow on coffee trees. The trees take between two and four years to produce ripe cherries, good enough for harvesting. A mature coffee tree grows to 20 to 40 feet high, with a trunk diameter of slightly more than 3 inches. Harvesting of the cherries only takes place once they turn a red color, which denotes they are ripe.

The process of harvesting the beans is labor-intensive and it starts with handpicking the cherries, before taking them through two other processes before they are ready for export. In some countries such as Brazil, the flat coffee fields make it possible to have mechanized coffee harvesting processes.

History of Mocha (Mocha, Mokka)

History-of-Mocha

Mocha is one of the most popular coffee drinks among people of different lifestyles across the world. Mocha is an espresso drink that you will find in almost all local coffee cafes, and major coffee chains in almost every town or city. To some people, mocha is their way of life and without a cuppa; their day would probably not go so well.

The characteristics that make this coffee classic different from many others are its richness in taste that stands between that of cappuccino and hot chocolate. It has a blend of rich foamy milk and chocolaty syrup served as a hot espresso that leaves an amazing aftertaste. Many coffee enthusiasts use mocha interchangeably with other types of coffee beverages such as instant, among others.

Mocha is also an all-year-round drink, which means that anytime you want it you get it. Probably few of the mocha enthusiasts know of its history as all they need to feel is the perfectly spiraled whipped cream drink in their mouths. However, it would not hurt to learn the history of this wonderful drink.

During the globalization of coffee, some regions took advantage of the coffee monopoly capitalize on the exports. One such region was Yemen. During this period, the most important bean for export was the Moka bean. Moka got its name from its place of origin, which was al Moka, a port in Yemen city that was then the trade and commerce center in the 17th century. Moka beans were a cross of different varieties of Arabica coffee beans harvested in central Yemen and other neighboring regions.

The Moka strange shape with its yellow-green color made it easily recognizable and just as easy to differentiate it from Arabica, characterized by a brown color. They also had a rich and oily composition that made them a favorite with many people in many countries along the spice route and Europe. It did not take too long before mocha became a household name in many coffee shops across Europe.

Today, the mocha we love and drink comes with both Italian and American influences but they are still creamy sweet chocolaty beverages. The most prominent feature of today's mocha is the serving in a small cup, influence by bicerin- a Piedmont native. The difference between American and Italian mocha is that American is runny hot chocolate, while the Italian is thicker and creamier.

Where Do Starbucks Coffee Beans Come From?

starbucks-coffee

For true coffee connoisseurs, a great-tasting cup is not just another "Cup of Joe". Many of them will want to know the origin of the coffee beans and maybe the type of beans they are consuming. They may also want to know everything about the process the coffee beans went through that includes country of origin, roasting process, brewing technique, and equipment, among others.

One of the best coffee brewing giants in the world is Starbucks. If you are a fan of Starbucks coffee, then you will understand why they value the source of their coffee beans. The first Starbucks coffee house opened its doors in 1971 in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Today Starbucks has over 10,000 outlets in the USA and over 18,000 others worldwide with a selection of a variety of Starbucks specialty coffee beverages.

Starbucks brews purely Arabica coffee beans sourced from three main regions of the coffee bet. The coffee beans come from Africa, Latin-American, and Asia pacific. The giant brand buys coffee directly from the farmers, which in turn help to promote economic development, and sustainable agriculture practices for small-scale farmers. Starbucks practices Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E) that helps to set better worker rights and economic transparency that benefits all parties.

10 Facts About the Coffee Plant

Do you know much about the trees that produce your favorite coffee beans? If you do not, these ten facts will help you to build an idea of how the coffee plant looks like.

  1. A coffee plant is a woody tree that grows to a height of 20 feet. However, in many of the coffee growing places, coffee plants go through pruning at 8 to 10 feet.
  2. The coffee plant bears fruits, called cherries. The cherry has an outer skin with a bright red color when ripe, a mucilage, two different skins-parchment, and silver, before reaching the final part made up of two beans.
  3. The coffee plants grow best in places with a good supply of rainfall, hilly grounds, and in places shade from the sun's heat. They grow better in high altitude areas that come with natural cloud covers and mists with even temperatures.
  4. Region of growth and growing conditions have a great effect on the aroma and flavor notes of the coffee beans.
  5. There are different types of coffee plants with the most common two being Arabica and Robusta. Of the two, Arabica is more popular and has better quality coffee. Robusta is easier to maintain and has more caffeine content than Arabica coffee beans. Arabica plant also grows in areas above 3,000 feet and they have higher yields.
  6. A single coffee plant can give an annual yield of 1 to 2 pounds of coffee in its roasted form. To produce one pound of cherry, you would need approximately 2000 cherries. If you drink two cups of coffee every day, in a year you will consume a harvest of coffee beans from around 18 plants.
  7. The picking of coffee cherries takes place when they are bright red as that is when they are sweet and juicy. Picking them when they are still green will give you sour ad thin coffee while picking them when they are too ripe will give you, the coffee may not taste as good.
  8. Coffee cherries do not ripen at the same rate. In the majority of the places, harvesting of the cherries is by hand. In recent years, places like Brazil are using mechanized machines to pick the cherries from the plants.
  9. The coffee plant takes between four and five years to produce their first crop of cherries, during the cherry-picking season, the same section can go through the same picking process for three to four ties. A good cherry harvest per one picker totals to between 100 and 400 lbs in a single day.
  10. A coffee plant can produce cherries for 25 years and above, depending on the type and region.

 

Coffee Culture Around the World

Coffee is a beverage enjoyed by people with different lifestyles all over the world. People drink coffee for different reasons. Some like it for the caffeine kick that keeps them energized. Others take it as a means to socialize with friends, while others drink it for its health benefits.

Whatever the reason for drinking coffee, the one thing that stands out is that is a global phenomenon and it brings people together. Another fascinating thing about coffee is that different countries have cultures around their favorite drink. Below are some of the countries that have a culture that honors coffee in different ways.

coffee-culture-around-world

Italy

Italians put lots of effort into everything that they prepare from pasta to other Italian dishes, Italians also love coffee, and they have a special way of making their coffee stand out from the rest. Espresso is a favorite with Italians, which is understandable because after all, they invented the drink. They serve espresso in small cups made from ceramic.

The highly concentrated Italian espresso also comes with its unique drinking style. Unlike many other places, where you sip your coffee in small quantities, Italians take their espresso in one single shot. In some cases, the Italians rub a lemon slice on the edges of the small ceramic cup to give the coffee more flavors.

Turkey

"As black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love."

If you have been to turkey, then you may have heard this coffee proverb. The Turks love their coffee but unlike other people, they treat their drink more as a dessert than a morning energizer. The Turks serve their coffee, known as "Turk Kahvesi" after their dinner alongside candy. A very hot copper pot is what the Turks use to brew the best Turk Kahvesi.

Seattle-Washington

Seattle is on the coffee map because of Starbucks. Starbucks is one of the major coffee shops to transform the coffee culture in the USA. The thing that makes coffee culture in Seattle and other American states different is the coffee specialty. In Seattle and other States, boutiques that provide you with options for whichever taste bud you have numerous specialty coffee.

Mexico

"Café de olla" is the Spanish name for coffee in Mexico. Mexicans brew their coffee in traditional earthenware pots that come with an addition of cinnamon spice that adds health benefits and flavor to the coffee. Mexican coffee is easily addictive and the drink does not have any special time to drink, which means, people here take it any time they want.

Vietnam

Vietnam is another place where people love to eat and drink all day, and this goes for both residents and visitors alike. One of the reasons is that Vietnamese food is a delicacy in itself. Just as much as the food is enticing, so is Vietnamese iced coffee. Known as "cà phê sữa đá", Vietnamese coffee is popular in many coffee houses all over the world. Some of the most popular varietals of Vietnamese specialty coffees include yogurt coffee, coffee smoothies, and egg coffee, among others.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia leads other African countries in keeping up with ceremony coffee cultures that honor the much-loved beans. In Ethiopia, there is a local saying that says "bun adobo naw", which means coffee, is our bread. Ethiopian coffee is also one of the best in the world with its signature rich and spicy flavor.

Java is one of the leading coffee shops in Ethiopia but besides the mighty coffee shop, Ethiopians have too much respect for coffee with stories abound about the local legend, Kaldi the herder who was the first person to discover the flavor-rich, and aromatic coffee beans.

Saudi Arabia

In many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, etiquette plays a huge role in serving coffee (called "kahwa"). The eldest members of a group or family get their coffee servings first before the others get their share. The genders do not mix during the drinking sessions as men drink with their fellow men while women do so with their other women counterparts.

Coffee also replaces alcohol and drugs like the stimulant of choice in Saudi Arabia because drugs and alcohol are illegal. Saudis serve their coffee with sweet dates to give it a more pleasant taste.

Denmark

Denmark is also another country with the highest coffee intake. In every place you visit in the country, whether it is in the large cities, such as Copenhagen, or smaller towns, you will find cafes packed to capacity with people enjoying their steaming cups of coffee, or "Kaffee".

Indonesia

Indonesia is home to one of the most expensive coffee drinks in the world. Despite the high price, the locals, and tourists alike, love the drink and will go to any lengths to have it. What makes the coffee more interesting is the process it goes through from roast to the cup.

The coffee called "Kopi Luwak" is a strong kopi bean coffee that has to pass through a civet's digestive system for it to capture the unique flavor that makes it stand out from the rest. Drinking roasted beans from droppings may sound gross to some people. Those that have had the pleasure of tasting the beans roasted from the droppings of a civet will tell you that nothing else comes close to that particular flavor and taste.

The above are just a fraction of regions all over the world that have a rich coffee culture behind their favorite drink. Some of the other countries that continue to celebrate coffee in different ways include japan, Columbia, Australia, Greece, Guatemala, and many more.

FAQS

What is Cup of Joe?

Joe is slang for coffee that dates back to the 19th century. The first people to use the slang were the US Navy officers after their admiral Joe Daniels outlawed the drinking of coffee while onboard except for special occasions. The officers then treated coffee as a privilege thus the name Cup of Joe.

How many Coffee Processing Methods Are There?

There are three major coffee processing methods. The three are;

  • The washing process, which that involves the farmer washing off the pulp and skin with water, before using a machine for pulping.
  • The natural drying process involves drying the cherries with the pulp and skin intact.
  • The last method is the honey washed process that involves processing only the cherry skins.

Is coffee Beans Mechanical Harvesting Better Than Hand Harvesting?

Each of the two methods comes with its benefits and it is hard to say which one is better than the other is. Mechanical harvesting saves cost, time and increases the quality of the harvest, hand harvesting even though is tedious and may not produce as much at the end of the day, provides better quality coffee beans. Other factors to consider while comparing the two includes impact on the environment, job losses, profitability, and much more.

Wrapping it up

The coffee industry is versatile. It comes with much to learn about its origin, processing methods, and much more. Coffee is also an intriguing topic. Many of the users only know about the flavor and aroma without caring much about where the beans come from and they go through before making it to roast houses.

We hope with this article, you will have an idea of where your favorite beverage comes from and the things that make it tick. If you have any comments, questions, or additions, we would like to hear from you. Fill the form at the bottom of this article and we will get back to you.

Categories Coffee
Danny Hills

My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

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