The Most Interesting Coffee Facts from Wikipedia (so you don’t have to read the whole page like I did)
– Behind petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product in the world.
– Wild coffee’s energizing effect was likely first discovered in the northeast region of Ethiopia. Coffee cultivation first took place in southern Arabia; the earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen.
– Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seeds, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are also the most highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the “robusta” form of the hardier Coffea canephora. The latter is resistant to the devastating coffee leaf rust. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee.
– Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.
– When coffee reached North America during the Colonial period, it was initially not as successful as it had been in Europe as alcoholic beverages remained more popular. During the Revolutionary War, the demand for coffee increased so much that dealers had to hoard their scarce supplies and raise prices dramatically; this was also due to the reduced availability of tea from British merchants
– Meanwhile, coffee had been introduced to Brazil in 1727, although its cultivation did not gather momentum until independence in 1822. After this time, massive tracts of rainforest were cleared first from the vicinity of Rio and later São Paulo for coffee plantations. Cultivation was taken up by many countries in Central America in the latter half of the 19th century, and almost all involved the large-scale displacement and exploitation of the indigenous people. Harsh conditions led to many uprisings, coups and bloody suppression of peasants. The notable exception was Costa Rica, where lack of ready labor prevented the formation of large farms. Smaller farms and more egalitarian conditions ameliorated unrest over the 19th and 20th centuries
– Brazil remains the largest coffee exporting nation, but Vietnam tripled its exports between 1995 and 1999 and became a major producer of robusta seeds. Indonesia is the third-largest coffee exporter overall and the largest producer of washed arabica coffee. Organic Honduran coffee is a rapidly growing emerging commodity owing to the Honduran climate and rich soil.
– The concept of fair trade labeling, which guarantees coffee growers a negotiated preharvest price, began with the Max Havelaar Foundation’s labeling program in the Netherlands. A number of fair trade impact studies have shown that fair trade coffee has a positive impact on the communities that grow it. Coffee was incorporated into the fair-trade movement in 1988, when the Max Havelaar mark was introduced in the Netherlands. The very first fair-trade coffee was an effort to import a Guatemalan coffee into Europe as “Indio Solidarity Coffee”.A 2005 study done in Belgium concluded that consumers’ buying behavior is not consistent with their positive attitude toward ethical products. On average 46% of European consumers claimed to be willing to pay substantially more for ethical products, including fair-trade products such as coffee. The study found that the majority of respondents were unwilling to pay the actual price premium of 27% for fair trade coffee.
– Extensive scientific research has been conducted to examine the relationship between coffee consumption and an array of medical conditions. The general consensus in the medical community is that moderate regular coffee drinking in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial.
– Elderly individuals with a depleted enzymatic system do not tolerate coffee with caffeine well. They may also react poorly to decaffeinated coffee because it can cause. Moderate amounts of coffee (50–100 mg of caffeine or 5–10 g of coffee powder a day) are well tolerated by most elderly people
– Aggressively promoted by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau, the “coffee break” was first promoted in 1952. Hitherto unknown in the workplace, its uptake was facilitated by the recent popularity of both instant coffee and vending machines, and has become an institution of the American workplace
– The first coffeehouse in England was set up in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish man named Jacob in the building now known as “The Grand Cafe”. A plaque on the wall still commemorates this and the Cafe is now a trendy cocktail bar. By 1675, there were more than 3,000 coffeehouses in England.
– The modern espresso machine was born in Milan in 1945 by Achille Gaggia, and from there spread across coffeehouses and restaurants across Italy and the rest of Europe and North America in the early 1950s. An Italian named Pino Riservato opened the first espresso bar, the Moka Bar, in Soho in 1952, and there were 400 such bars in London alone by 1956. Cappucino was particularly popular among English drinkers. Similarly in the United States, the espresso craze spread. North Beach in San Francisco saw the opening of the Caffe Trieste in 1957, which saw Beat Generation poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Bob Kaufman alongside bemused Italian immigrants. Similar such cafes existed in Greenwich Village and elsewhere.
– Coffee was initially used for spiritual reasons. At least 1,100 years ago, traders brought coffee across the Red Sea into Arabia (modern-day Yemen), where Muslim dervishes began cultivating the shrub in their gardens. At first, the Arabians made wine from the pulp of the fermented coffee berries. This beverage was known as qishr (kisher in modern usage) and was used during religious ceremonies
– Coffee, regarded as a Muslim drink, was prohibited by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians until as late as 1889; it is now considered a national drink of Ethiopia for people of all faiths. Its early association in Europe with rebellious political activities led to Charles II outlawing coffeehouses from January 1676 (although the uproar created forced the monarch to back down two days before the ban was due to come into force). Frederick the Great banned it in Germany in 1777 for nationalistic and economic reasons; concerned about the price of import, he sought to force the public back to consuming beer. Lacking coffee-producing colonies, Germany had to import all its coffee at a great cost
– A contemporary example of religious prohibition of coffee can be found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The organization holds that it is both physically and spiritually unhealthy to consume coffee.This comes from the Mormon doctrine of health, given in 1833 by founder Joseph Smith in a revelation called the Word of Wisdom. It does not identify coffee by name, but includes the statement that “hot drinks are not for the belly,” which has been interpreted to forbid both coffee and tea
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 jigger Irish whiskey (1 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons)
- Heavy cream, slightly whipped
Fill footed mug or a mug with hot water to preheat it, then empty. Pour piping hot coffee into warmed glass until it is about 3/4 full. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Blend in Irish whiskey. Top with a collar of the whipped heavy cream by pouring gently over back of spoon. Serve hot.
Double Chocolate Bundt Cake with Coffee-Ganache Glaze
Melted butter and flour for greasing the pan
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong-brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon coffee extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour your Bundt pan very well. In a small saucepan, melt 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the oil and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the egg.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk; whisk until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let cool completely.
4. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the coffee extract. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.
5. Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes, before serving.
Bon Appétit | July 2009
by Fred Thompson
|Freshly ground coffee adds a depth to the spice rub and brings out the flavor of the meat. Be sure to keep the rub recipe handy. The spice rub would also be great on steaks and chicken.
Yield: Makes 8
For coffee rub:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half. Gently mix chuck and sirloin in large bowl. Form meat into 8 patties, each 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Using thumb, make slight indentation in center of each burger. DO AHEAD: Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger. Place burgers, rub side down, on grill rack. Grill until slightly charred, about 4 minutes; turn.
Place 2 bacon slice halves atop each burger. Cook 3 minutes.
Top each with 1 cheese slice. Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place burgers atop bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices and tomato slices. Spoon dollop of Texas Barbecue Sauce over. Cover with bun tops and serve, passing additional sauce alongside.
Bon Appétit | July 2009
by Fred Thompson