history & facts about coffee
According to legend, a goat herder named Kaidi
He noticed that his goats become frisky and danced around the fields
after chewing on the berries from certain wild bushes. He tried a few
himself, and was soon as overactive as his herd. A monk walked by and
scolded him for "partaking of the devil's fruit." However, the monks
soon discovered that this fruit could help them stay awake for their
prayers and became uncannily alert to divine inspiration.
A second legend tells us that an Arabian named Omar was banished to the
desert with his followers to die of starvation. In desperation, Omar had
his friends boil and eat the fruit from an unknown plant. The broth
saved their lives and the residents of the nearest town, Mocha, took
their survival as a religious sign. The plant and its beverage were
named Mocha to honor this event.
The first drink made from the coffee tree was wine. It was made from
coffee cherries, honey, and water. In fact the word coffee has its
origins in an old Arabic word "Qahwah", meaning wine. It fell out of
favor with the spread of Islam and its sanctions against the consumption
Coffee is indigenous to Kaffa (coffee) region Ethiopia. It was taken to
Yeman by the Arabs and cultivated there in the sixth century. The
received its name from the Arabian port of Al Mukkah (Mocca) on the Red
Sea. It became world famous because it was the sole source for the
world's coffee. With the opening of the Suez Canal the port was
by-passed for Aden at the tip off the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee has not
shipped from Mocha in over 100 years. In the 1600's, smugglers broke the
Arabian monopoly in coffee growing. They took seven seeds of unroasted
coffee beans from the port of Mocha to the western Ghats of southern
India. In the early 1700's, the Dutch began cultivating descendants of
the original plants in Java
Growing & Processing
Coffee beans come from the coffee tree (actually it
is a tropical evergreen shrub). It has the potential to grow to 100
feet, however it is kept much shorter for ease of harvest. The leaves
look similar to the leaves of a laurel bush and the blossoms have a
Jasmine like aroma. The average coffee tree produces an annual yield of
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of roasted coffee. It takes about 4,000 handpicked
green coffee beans to make a pound of coffee.
Coffee beans are really seeds or pits of the fruit called coffee
cherries. These cherries are plump and red in colour. They look like
the cherries we eat, except each cherry normally contains two beans and
there is less fruit pulp. An exception is the pea berry, which only
grows one bean to a cherry.
The coffee cherry has a thin skin with a slightly bitter flavour. Next,
comes the fruit, which has a texture similar to a grape and taste quite
sweet. The bean is protected by a parchment, which is covered with a
slimy layer of mucilage. The coffee bean is bluish green in colour and
is coated with a thin layer called the silver skin
The tree grows in tropical regions, between the tropics of Cancer
and Capricorn, which have abundant rainfall, year round warm
temperatures averaging 70 degrees fahrenheit, and no frost. It grows at
altitudes ranging from sea level to 6,500 feet and above. It takes about
five years for a coffee tree to bear its first full crop of beans. It
will then be productive for about fifteen years. Growing coffee plants
is difficult as the soil warmth is a critical factor, with the optimum
temperature hovering at 27.7 degrees Celsius. Propagating the plant
through cuttings is equally difficult and requires the maximum of light
plus a humidity reading of close to 90%. Rooting can easily take three
or four months.
Coffee must be picked by hand, a process that takes from three to four
visits per tree each year. This is because coffee cherries do not ripen
at the same time. A branch of a tree might simultaneously bear blossoms,
green fruit, and ripe cherries. A good picker can pick about 200 pounds
of coffee cherries in one day. This equals about 50 pounds of green
coffee beans or 39 pounds of roasted coffee. Once the coffee cherries
have been picked, the beans must be removed from them. Three methods may
be used in the extraction process.
The Wet Method or Washed Coffee - This is used in regions where there is
a plentiful supply of fresh water. A machine first strips away the outer
layers of skin and fruity pulp. The beans, still enclosed in a sticky
inner pulp and parchment wrapper, are soaked for 24 to 72 hours in
This loosens the remaining pulp through a series of enzymatic reactions,
which is then washed away. Time in the fermentation tanks is critical,
as too much or too little time will harm the beans. These coffees will
generally have a higher acidity and cleaner flavours than their dry
The Dry or Natural Method - The cherries are allowed to dry on the tree
or are laid out to dry in the sun for three to four weeks. When the pulp
has dried, a hulling machine strips away the outer skin and pulp.
Although the beans are not always consistent in quality, the acidity of
the beans is reduced and the body and earthy flavor is increased.
Producing high quality coffee with the dry method is challenging because
the beans are exposed to climatic conditions during the drying process.
Some of the dry method coffees are Sumatra, Ethiopia Harrar, and Yemen.
Semi-washed Method - In Sulawesi, the coffee cherries are washed and
sorted as in the washed method, but are not placed in fermentation
tanks. Instead they are set out to dry. Sulawesi coffees are a bit more
cleaner and smoother than their Sumatra cousins.
After the wet or dry process, a mill removes any remaining parchment and
the silverskin - a thin covering that clings to the bean.
While roasting coffee in a large commercial company is simply science,
specialty roasters use both art and science to achieve the ultimate
roast. Specialty coffee is roasted in small batches. The green coffee
beans are placed in a hopper, which pours them into a rotating drum
located on the inside of a roaster.
The roaster is pre-heated to around 400 degrees F. by gas flames. It is
kind of a cross between a hot-air popcorn popper and a clothes dryer.
After five to seven minutes the beans turn yellow, indicating that they
have lost about 12% of their moisture. Now they begin to make a
crackling noise that reminds you of popcorn popping. They are actually
popping open, which causes them to double in size.
Since each variety and lot of beans requires a different roast length,
consistent rapid-firing samples of the beans are taken during the
roasting process. This is done by using a trier - a spoon-like prong
that pulls samples of coffee from the roaster.
Roast master’s uses smell, sound, and sight to determine when the type
of roast they want has been achieved. After about seven to nine minutes
the beans “pop” and double in size, and light roasting is achieved,
mass-market roasters typically stop here.
At ten to twelve minutes the beans reach this roast, After 12 to 20
minutes, depending upon the type of bean and roasting equipment, the
beans begin hissing and popping again, and oils rise to the surface.
Just before the beans reach their optimum color, they are released into
a large metal pan called a cooling tray. Roasters generally remove the
beans at this point. Large fans air-cool the coffee to room temperature
in about four minutes. During this time period the coffee will darken
one final shade.
The major time lengths of roasting are:
Commercial coffee makers roast their coffee for a short period of time,
about 8 or 9 minutes...it saves money...in labor, fuel, and only 10% to
14% of the weight is lost during roasting as compared to 18% to 25% for
specialty roasters. Also, the soft beans of lesser-quality beans would
burn up if left in the roaster longer. This is called a cinnamon roast
for the color of the beans. The green flavors of the under-roasted beans
predominate and the full flavor complexities are not developed.
Commercial coffees typically use a blend of lower quality Arabica and
Aliases: light, half city, New England, institutional. Flavor:
Light-bodied and some what sour, grassy, and snappy. Specialty roasters
use a city roast, where the coffee is roasted from 10 to 11 minutes. The
color of the coffee becomes an even, light brown this is used by most
specialty coffee companies. Aliases: medium, American, regular,
breakfast, brown. Flavor: A bit sweeter than light roast; full body
balanced by acid snap, aroma, and complexity.
Some specialty roasters use a longer period of roasting, from 11 to 15
minutes, called a full city roast.
The beans turn a rich chestnut brown with this type of roast. This
allows the full flavour potential of the bean to be reached. Aliases:
dark, high, Viennese, Continental. Flavor: Somewhat spicy complexity is
traded for rich chocolaty body, aroma is exchanged for sweetness.
Two other roasts are the Italian roast and the French roast; where the
color of the beans goes from a chocolate brown to nearly black
respectively. In a French roast, you mainly taste the roast, not the
bean. The roast period can go as high as twenty-two minutes. Flavor:
Smokey. Roasted coffee releases carbon dioxide. Most of it is released
within the first few hours. At this time, oxygen cannot harm the coffee.
This is because the pressure of the carbon dioxide being released from
the bean is greater than the air pressure around it. Once the rate of
the carbon dioxide being released begins to decay then the pressure
drops, which allows flavor-robbing oxygen to attack the bean. Oxygen is
one of the worst enemies of coffee...it is what causes it to go stale.
Quality roasters either produce small batches and ship them right away,
or package them immediately in air tight bags that have one-way-valves
(sometimes called belly-buttons) which allow the remaining carbon
dioxide to escape, but do not allow oxygen to enter. The coffee can also
be placed in hoppers that are pumped full with nitrogen gas to replace
the oxygen. The nitrogen gas is inert, so it does no harm to the roasted
coffee beans. The coffee can then be allowed to sit for six to eight
hours to allow the majority of the carbon dioxide to be released before
There are two other elements that are harmful to roasted coffee:
Light - Always store the coffee in an airtight container that cannot be
reached by light. If it is a clear glass container.
Moisture - Store coffee in a cool dry place. then put it in cupboard.
In the 17th Century, the first coffee house opened in London.
These coffee houses became known as "penny universities" because a
person could buy a cup of coffee for 1 cent and learn more at the coffee
house than in class! The London Stock Exchange grew from one of these
. In 1686 the first cafe serving coffee is opened in Paris - Le
Procope...it is still in business today!
· In 1909 the first instant coffee was produced.
· Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels outlawed alcohol on board ships.
He ordered coffee become
. The beverage of service on the ships, hence the term "Cup of
. Because sailors are generally cold, they wanted their coffee hot.
The term hot cup of Joe was used, then it was shorten to hot Joe, then
· Europe was cut off during war time and Napoleon's countrymen had
to drink chicory instead of coffee. Chicory does not have caffeine -
probably why he lost at Waterloo because his soldiers were not wide
awake enough to win.
· Coffee was once believed by some Christians to be the devil's
drink. When Pope Vincent III heard about this he decided to taste it
before banishing it...he enjoyed it so much he baptized it, saying
"Coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels have
exclusive use of it."
· In 1475 a Turkish law was enacted that made it legal for a woman
to divorce her husband if he failed to provide her with her daily quota
· In 1732 Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Kaffee-Kantate. Partly
an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to prevent
women from drinking coffee as it was thought to make them sterile. "Ah!
How sweet coffee taste! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far
than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee."
Introduction to Preparation of Coffee
Coffee being the second largest export in the world brings with it a
massive amount of products equipment, and knowledge. This leads to
varying styles of coffee making procedures and terminology. Like with
most products and services in today’s competitive market place, coffee
making has evolved, bringing with it vastly improved techniques and
methods. Espresso machines vary in size, shape, brands and especially
quality of design and performance. The use of espresso machines depends
on the demand of coffee making from either home use, or to busy café’s
and restaurants etc. As with many hands on work environments, practice
will ultimately make perfect. The demands of a particular establishment
will also test the all round ability to produce and handle the pressure
and demands of a coffee maker.
The barista, which is the term used of a person who is an expert in
espresso coffee production and service. The barista will provide top
quality coffee production at all times with no exceptions. This starts
from setting up and maintaining the espresso machine, selecting quality
coffee beans, grinding the coffee bean to the exact particle size for
extraction, milk texturing and presentation. Every aspect of the coffee
making process must be at the highest level of quality and accuracy at
all times, there are no exceptions to the rule.
The coffee culture in today’s market place has hit unprecedented levels.
Customer awareness through media exposure has resulted in customers
seeking out the best cafes. Competition for the market share has led a
wide interest in further education for the cafe, coffee maker and
especially the accredited barista.
A few points to remember
1. All coffee cups and latte glasses must be
pre-heated before each use for optimum final delivery temperature.
2. Always leave group handle locked in group head after use. This will
keep the handle at the correct temperate.
3. Wipe porter filter basket with a dry clean cloth before each use.
This will wipe the oils around the filter acting as a pre - seasoning to
increase overall flavour properties.
For World standard espresso