Facts and Fictions
always sure which is which!)
- Coffee originates in the Kafa zone a
rain/cloud forest of south west Ethiopia. Coffee trees grew wild here
and still do. The people of Kafa did not have a written language so
when they started drying coffee cherries and roasting the seeds is not
known. These people were the first to grind the roasted beans and make
the drink we call coffee. The root of our word "coffee" may even come
from the name "Kafa." In the seventeen hundreds a Scot traveler, James
Bruce, wrote about the wild coffee from south-west Ethiopia but he was
not believed. Not until the 1960s were scientists saying with any
certainty that coffee originated in Kafa.
spread to other parts of Ethiopia and then across the Red Sea to Yemen.
Yemen claims to be the source of coffee.
- A Persian doctor references coffee in the tenth century: our first known written record.
- There is a
legend about an Ethiopian
shepherd boy who observed his goats in a happy dance: the goats were
the cherries of coffee bushes. The shepherd boy, Kaldi, decided to join
goats. He ate the fruit, got the same coffee buzz, danced with his
the rest is history and/or more legend.
- In the
fifteenth century Sufi monks used
coffee to keep themselves awake for meditation and prayers in the
- In the
late fourteen hundreds coffee came
to Turkey and soon was a smash hit. A law in Turkey stated that a woman
divorce her husband if he did not provide her with coffee every day.
this law still on the books?
- The coffee
seeds or plants or cuttings
crossed the Red Sea to Yemen and Mocha, a port in Yemen. This became so associated with
the coffee trade
that Mocha is for us another name for coffee. Attempts to control
and plants failed. Coffee cultivation spread to India and Sri Lanka.
traders spread coffee further and further. By 1700 Java in Indonesia
plantations controlled by the Dutch. Java is another name we use for
English word “coffee” is derived from
the Dutch “Koffie” derived from Turkish “Kahre” originally taken from an Arabic
phrase that means the
“wine of the bean.”
Or our English word "coffee" originates from "Kafa" the zone in
Ethiopia where coffee originates. Cheer for your favourite
coffee is cultivated in many
countries between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.
growing conditions are 3000 feet or
more above sea level, volcanic soil, all under the shade of taller
poorer quality coffee is produced at
lower altitudes from coffee plants that thrive at lower altitudes.
Napoleon controlled most of Europe and
the British navy controlled the seas, Napoleon banned coffee in Europe
encouraged instead drinks made from ground chicory roots. Importing
Europe because of the blockade of the British navy was difficult. But
Napoleon was eventually exiled to the island St. Helena he tried to
coffee on St. Helena: his efforts failed.
- Most of
the history of coffee spreading
around the world is
a history of
oppression by developed nations in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and
- It was in
Boston's Green Dragon coffeehouse
that leaders of the American Revolution met to plot rebellion. After
Tea Party happened next door, Americans
opted for coffee over tea.
- In 1674
the Women's Petition Against Coffee
complained in graphic sexual terms to King Charles II that their men
much time in the coffeehouses and their coffee drinking made them
men responded in graphic sexual terms that coffee drinking made them
in Europe and England were
places that created unrest for rulers. In 1675 Charles II proclaimed
suppression of the coffeehouses. The reaction was so strong the king
- J. S. Bach
frequented coffeehouses. In 1735
he composed his Coffee Cantata in which a daughter complains to her
because he wants to curb her coffee drinking. Eventually the daughter
over her dad. Bach's composing is mostly sacred. His secular Coffee
his veiled way of reacting to government suppression of
the popular coffeehouses.
- In 1777
Frederick the Great issued a
manifesto against coffee to support the more traditional German drink
Both German beer and coffee continue to thrive.
- It is
estimated that 100 cups or five
gallons of coffee is lethal! The French philosopher Voltaire drank 50
coffee a day. This level of consumption is not recommended! President
Roosevelt drank a
gallon of coffee a
day. Neither is this level of consumption recommended!
contrast composer Ludwig van Beethoven
ground exactly sixty roasted coffee beans to make a cup of coffee.
American book about coffee published in 1872 laments the following
fraud: "The ground coffee sold by grocers is to a large extent
adulterated. The principal sustances used for this purpose are roasted
chiccory and roasted beans, peas, and corn." Must have been an aweful
drink! The rest of the paragraph in that book tells the reader how to
test for the adulterating substances. Today Robusta coffee from Brazil,
Vietnam, and Columbia is so cheap that there is no need to substitute.
- There are
two main varieties of coffee plants.
One is Arabica from which all high quality coffees are made. The other
Robusta which is a more vigorous plant, more disease resistant, more
and grows at low altitudes. Lots of low cost coffee contains much
Beware of cans or bags of coffee that say “100% coffee.” As a bare
for “100% Arabica.”
Washington, not the famous one, but
George Constant Washington, an English citizen with a Belgian mother,
coffee in 1906. Too bad! Instant coffee is mostly made from Robusta and
the atomic bomb, once the genie is out of the bottle it is hard to get
1962 there have been International Coffee Agreements (ICA) to stabilize
supply and prices for green coffee beans. When the agreements break
down the multinationals who own the big roasters get bargain prices;
but, the small coffee producers and farmers suffer economic disaster.
store your roasted coffee in the
fridge or freezer. Roasted coffee is a sponge for smells and tastes.
have made coffee the spent grounds can be left in the fridge like
to absorb smells.
coffee grounds are good compost for
flowers including rose bushes. Also spent coffee grounds can be rubbed
food to remove same from floors and counter tops without scratching
- As with wine, coffee has professional highly trained and qualified
tasters known as "cuppers." Specialty coffee (the only coffees SHaBean
roasts) is cupped at 80 or over out of 100. All specialty coffee is 80
plus. Ordinary coffee is cupped blelow 80 out of 100.