What is It and Why Do We Crave it?

Nothing perks up a lazy morning like good coffee!


What is this dark-colored substance made of? Why can’t some people survive a day without having even just one sip of this stimulant?

It is made from the coffea plant’s roasted seeds, called coffee beans. It is the second-most traded commodity in the world, next to petroleum. It is hailed as modern man’s chief source of caffeine for that extra burst of energy.

Although normally drunk hot, it is sometimes served over ice. The perceived benefits and hazards of this potent drink remain the subject of debate among devotees worldwide.
 

How did the word “coffee” come into being?

The drink we call “coffee” is known by many names among various peoples of the world. It came to England in 1598, via the Italian “caffe.” The Turkish term for it is “kahveh,” while the Arabic word for it is “qahwa.” Its origin is still unknown, although some believe that the drink possibly came from the Kaffa region in Ethopia. That is where the plant originally named “bunna,” the precursor of coffea plant, came from.

It arrived in the middle east long before Europeans discovered it. Did you know that coffee drinking was outlawed in Mecca in 1511, and in Cairo in 1532? Due to it’s immense popularity, the law was made obsolete soon after.

Due to the pioneering efforts of the British and Dutch East India companies, it found its way to Europe in the sixteenth century.

Two Main Species

Arabica

One of the two main species is “Coffea Arabica”. The name implies that its origin was the Arabian Peninsula, but it is indigenous in Ethiopia. Although Arabica is more prone to disease, connoisseurs lovers consider it to be more flavorful than “coffea canephora” (robusta).

Robusta

Robusta holds twice as much caffeine. Robusta has proven to be a natural insecticide and stimulant. It grows in places where Arabica cannot grow. It is used as an inexpensive substitute for Arabica in commercial coffee blends and in almost all instant coffee products.

Compared to Arabica, Robusta is more bitter. It has a burnt-rubber smell and taste. Robustas of finer quality are used in espresso blends for a foamy effect and because it is cheaper. In fact, Italian espresso blends are normally made from dark-roasted Robusta.
 

Coffee Blends

Some blend varieties are so popular and in demand that they command a higher price, examples of which are the Jamaican Blue Mountain and the Hawaiian Kona coffees. Often, these beans are mixed with other, less-expensive varieties and the term blend is added to the label, such as “Blue Mountain Blend” or “Kona Blend”.

So beat those morning blues with an adrenaline-pumping sip of this favorite drink among caffeine addicts worldwide.
 

Additional Information