Coffee and Health Benefits

Is Coffee Good For You?

Like so many of the beverages we enjoy today, coffee was once prescribed as a tonic for what ails you…

Provided that what ails you is a lack of alertness or a sour mood,coffee and health it’s good on its promise. Let’s leave patent medicines aside for the moment, though, and ask:

Is coffee good for you? The answer is, quite simply, yes!

Coffee has been a frequent subject of scrutiny by the medical community… perhaps because it’s so widely consumed, yet offers no apparent nutritive value. Or, maybe doctors are just looking for a really good cup of coffee!

Despite some 30 years of study, the field of medicine has yet to draw a direct correlation between moderate consumption of coffee and any medical disease or chronic health condition. Studies that have suggested worrisome links between coffee consumption and reproductive health, for example, have been put to rest by subsequent studies – larger, and more thorough – that have exonerated our favorite beverage.

More recent studies by the medical science community are now finding numerous positive benefits of moderate coffee consumption! These studies suggest that drinking coffee may reduce risks of colon cancer by 25% and cirrhosis of the liver by 80%, and may reduce the onset of Parkinson’s disease by up to 80%. More, brewed coffee has been found to have 3 to 4 times the amount of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants as green tea.

Still, we don’t recommend drinking coffee as a tonic – we think it tastes good and we enjoy how a great cup of coffee makes us feel. If you have specific concerns about coffee, please, talk to your family physician.
(Source: Green Mountain Coffee.com)

Preparing Coffee

Preparing Coffee

The question of how to process just-harvested coffee is answered only in part by geography, and by the resulting natural resources… it’s also a question of tradition.

A farmer of high-grown coffees on a finca or co-op in Central America wouldn’t dream of dry-processing his hard, dense and fruity beans… he’d probably sooner leave them on the tree (which, in countries like removing coffee stemsYemen is a not an altogether unusual practice).

And while it might occur to the farmer in Sumatra to wet-process his beans, to gently ferment them to loosen the sweet pulp, and then to carefully sun-dry the result (precisely as that finca in Costa Rica or Guatemala has done for generations) it’s likely our farmer in Sumatra wouldn’t find much of a market for his beans. While there’d be nothing wrong with the resulting coffee, neither would it have the cup characteristics long associated with the origin.

But even tradition can’t begin to explain why coffee growing regions that may not have an abundance of water resources – Kenya, say, or Ethiopia – have come to rely on wet processing for their specialty ethiopian coffeecoffee crop. It can be argued that these regions have an ample natural resource… the sun! As it happens, there are regions within Ethiopia that that dry-process and sun-dry their coffees, to wonderful effect… it’s just this process that gives us the celebrated Ethiopian Harrar coffee.

Ultimately it’s all about the coffee itself, and the potential found within. Dry-processing yields lovely mocha-like flavors in an Ethiopian coffee – winey and wild and fruity – but wet-processing yields something altogether different: explosively perfumed aromatics, sparkling citrus, vibrant, flowered fruit… flavors and aromatics that make Ethiopian Yirgacheffe arguably the most distinctive coffee in the world.

While geography and tradition still play a role, theirs is a bit part compared to the starring role commanded by the coffee crop, itself.
(Source: Green Mountain Coffee.com)

Fact About Growing Coffee

Growing Coffee

What a poignant irony that Coffea aribaca —our prized coffee tree— thrives only in sheltered, mountainous, subtropical microclimates… far flung places with steeply sloping terrain that defies every step of those who labor to tend it.
coffee slopes
And labor it is… prized coffee trees must be carefully tended if they are to produce an abundance of coffee cherries. Soil must drain well, be slightly acidic and rich with minerals. Weeds and creepers must be kept in check, but not eliminated; they cling to precious soil that might otherwise wash down the mountain slopes. Finally, coffee trees must be shaded from harsh sun, so a canopy of banana, nut and other fruit and hardwoods is planted and tended, too.

When the coffee cherries ripen, it’s all-hands to the harvest. It’s back-breaking work to hand pick the fruit on these steep, tangled slopes… ripening berriesand picking is done exclusively by hand, as only the ripest cherries will do. Fruit that’s too ripe will be sorted out in later processing, but under-ripe fruit is left on the tree for later pickings. Each tree will be visited as many as four times over the precious few days that ripeness is at is peak.

At day’s end, weary coffee-pickers haul their sacks of cherries down the steep slopes, and empty them onto burlap mats, where everyone joins in to pick out any green cherries, twigs and leaves. The cleaned cherries are carefully weighed. There’s good-natured rivalry here… ribbing for those who picked less than their usual; a sense of accomplishment for those who’ve picked most. It’s not just pride involved, however; workers are paid by how much they’ve picked, not by how long picking coffee berriesthey’ve labored.

While the coffee pickers collect their day’s pay and head for home, the fresh-picked coffee cherries have only begun their journey… within hours the sweet, picked fruit will begin to ferment in its own skin. Uncontrolled, that ferment will flavor the coffee beans inside. If the beans taste of ferment, despite the care they’ve seen in growing and harvesting, they’re practically worthless.
(Source: Green Mountain Coffee.com)

Penny University

Penny University

Coffee made its introduction to Europe in the early 17th century as medicine for what ails you… whether your ailment include headaches, consumption, dropsy, gout or scurvy.

First offered by apothecaries in Venice and street vendors in Milan, coffee found footing in Vienna by way of a failed Ottoman invasion, and found the fancy of Germany’s upper crust: it inspired Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata, and obsessed Ludvig van Beethoven, who was rumored to grind precisely 60 beans for his morning cup.

It was in London, however, where coffee –and coffee houses– became the rage. The first London coffee house opened at Oxford University in 1650, and by 1700 more than 2000 coffeehouses dotted the London landscape. Early coffeehouses served more than coffee; they also served as hotbeds of conversation,coffee house politics and commerce. One coffeehouse might serve as a gathering place for physicians, another for actors, or musicians, or lawyers or clergy. These gathering places became known as Penny Universities… for the price of a cup of coffee, one could sit for hours and participate in the discourse of the day.

Or, one could conduct his business of the day… and a great many did. Mr. Edward Lloyd’s coffee house catered largely to merchants and sailors of the day, as well as the underwriters who met over coffee to offer insurance. In time, Lloyd’s Coffee House became Lloyd’s of London, the storied insurance company. Likewise, other coffeehouses –centers for news, currency and futures markets– became newspapers, banks, and stock exchanges, many of which thrive still today. Behold, the power of coffee!
– See more at: http://aromacoffee.net/content/penny-university#sthash.7aNkzoHj.dpufPenny Universities

Coffee made its introduction to Europe in the early 17th century as medicine for what ails you… whether your ailment include headaches, consumption, dropsy, gout or scurvy.

First offered by apothecaries in Venice and street vendors in Milan, coffee found footing in Vienna by way of a failed Ottoman invasion, and found the fancy of Germany’s upper crust: it inspired Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata, and obsessed Ludvig van Beethoven, who was rumored to grind precisely 60 beans for his morning cup.

It was in London, however, where coffee –and coffee houses– became the rage. The first London coffee house opened at Oxford University in 1650, and by 1700 more than 2000 coffeehouses dotted the London landscape. Early coffeehouses served more than coffee; they also served as hotbeds of conversation,coffee house politics and commerce. One coffeehouse might serve as a gathering place for physicians, another for actors, or musicians, or lawyers or clergy. These gathering places became known as Penny Universities… for the price of a cup of coffee, one could sit for hours and participate in the discourse of the day.

Or, one could conduct his business of the day… and a great many did. Mr. Edward Lloyd’s coffee house catered largely to merchants and sailors of the day, as well as the underwriters who met over coffee to offer insurance. In time, Lloyd’s Coffee House became Lloyd’s of London, the storied insurance company. Likewise, other coffeehouses –centers for news, currency and futures markets– became newspapers, banks, and stock exchanges, many of which thrive still today. Behold, the power of coffee!

Baba Budan’s Beans

Baba Budan’s Beans

While coffee flourished in Arabian lands, the legend of its powers of sobriety and mental clarity quickly spread far beyond Arabian borders.

While its historic roots are still shrouded in legend, by the middle 15th century the people of Arabia were roasting and brewing coffee to enjoy a beverage much as we know it today. Wine was forbidden to Moslems, so coffee became an integral part of Arabian society. Sharing coffee became ritual, and should a man of Arabia to fail to provide his wife with coffee, it was grounds for divorce.

Venetian traders were introduced to coffee by Arabian merchants, who’d insist on a cup as they bartered and bargained for hours. Soon coffee was offered by apothecaries in Venice — by prescription only. Some feared the power of “the devil’s cup” and brought coffee before Pope Clement VII, hopeful he might condemn it from Christendom. To their dismay, Clement immensely enjoyed the beverage, and baptized it, so that all could enjoy the beverage without guilt… and without a prescription.

While Arab traders were keen to ship boiled or parched seeds the entire world over, they were careful tobaba budan coffee beans never allow beans or cuttings that could create new coffee plants to leave Arabian borders… coffee had become so precious to them, it was made illegal to export fertile beans.

On pilgrimage to Mecca in the middle 1600s, Baba Budan, a revered holy man from India, discovered for himself the wonders of coffee. In his zeal to share what he’d found with his fellows at home, he smuggled seven coffee beans out of Arabia, wrapped around his belly. On his return home, he planted the beans in the hills of Mysore, India, and nurtured the young coffee bushes that resulted. Coffee flourished in the hills of India – hills now named after Baba Budan.

In short order, enterprising Dutch traders bought some of these coffee plants, and shipped them to faraway colonies in Indonesia and Ceylon. The Arabian monopoly of the coffee trade was over, and the Western world was waking up to a new aroma… one that would play a fateful role in Europe, and beyond.
(Source: Green Mountain Coffee.com)

Kaldi’s Dancing Goats

The Legend of Kaldi’s Dancing Goats

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Ethiopia —or maybe Abyssinia, it was a very long time ago, after all— there lived a young goatherd named Kaldi.

By all accounts (and there are many, as the story has been retold many, many times) Kaldi was a very responsible young man, and not one to do foolish things. Every day Kaldi would set his goats to grazing in the hills that surrounded his village, and every evening his loyal goats would return home. This, of course, would suggest that the goats were the responsible parties. How foolish is it, after all, to just turn your goats loose into the hills every morning? But, back to our story…

One evening, Kaldi’s goats did not return home. The young man, no doubt feeling a little foolish by now, searched for his herd all through the night, and as morning broke he found them, leaping and dancing with reckless abandon and apparent glee round a stand of shiny, dark-leafed shrubs with bright red berries. Kaldi took in the scene before him, amazed. He soon decided it must be the berries that caused such reckless behavior in his otherwise responsible goats, and — forgetting everything his mother told him kaldi dancing coffee goatabout eating strange foods from strange places — Kaldi sampled the berries, himself. In no time, he too was dancing gleefully with his goats around the green-leafed shrubs.

Soon, we are told, a wise and learned man passed by —an imam, or monk— trudging sleepily on his way to prayer. The imam rubbed his eyes and took in the scene before him —Kaldi and his goats— dancing gleefully about a stand of shiny, dark-leafed shrubs with bright red berries.

Being both a curious and learned man, the imam gathered some of these berries, himself, and on returning home he studied them. In his experiments with the bright red berries, he roasted them, boiled them and sampled the resulting beverage. He shared what he found with the rest of his fellow monks, and soon none fell asleep at prayers! And so coffee spread from place to place, creating a more gleeful, and wakeful, world.

So what of Kaldi? Perhaps he and his goats are dancing, still.
(Source: Green Mountain Coffee.com)

History of Coffee

History of Coffee

The history of coffee is as rich as the brew itself, dating back more than a thousand years. The first coffee plants are said to have come from the Horn of Africa on the shores of the Red Sea. Originally, coffee beans were taken as a food and not as a beverage. East African tribes would grind the coffee cherries together, mixing the results into a paste with animal fat. Rolled into little balls, the mixture was said to give warriors much-needed energy for battle. Later, around the year 1000 AD, Ethiopians concocted a type of wine from coffee berries, fermenting the dried beans in water. Coffee also grew naturally on the Arabian Peninsula, and it was there, during the 11th century that coffee was first developed into a hot drink.

The so-called stimulating properties of coffee were thought by many during these ancient times to give a sort of religious ecstasy, and the drink earned a very mystical sort of reputation, shrouded in secrecy and associated with priests and doctors. So, it is not surprising that two prominent legends emerged to explain the discovery of this magic bean.

According to one story, a goat-herder noticed that his herd became friskier than usual after consuming the red cherries of a wild coffee shrub. Curious, he tasted the fruit himself. He was delighted by its invigorating effects, and was even spotted by a group of nearby monks dancing with his goats. Soon the monks began to boil the bean themselves and use the liquid to stay awake during all-night ceremonies. The other story is about a Muslim dervish who was
condemned by his enemies to wander in the desert and eventually die of starvation. In his delirium, the young man heard a voice instructing him to eat the fruit from a nearby coffee tree. Confused, the dervish tried to soften the beans in water, and when this failed, he simply drank the liquid. Interpreting his survival and energy as a sign of God, he returned to his people, spreading the faith and the recipe.

The cultivation of coffee began sometime in the fifteenth century, and for many centuries to follow, the Yemen province of Arabia was the world’s primary source of coffee. The demand for coffee in the Near East was very high. The beans leaving the Yemeni port of Mocha for trade with Alexandria and Constantinople were highly guarded. In fact, no fertile plants were allowed to leave the country. Despite the restrictions, Muslim pilgrims from across the globe during their pilgrimages to Mecca managed to smuggle coffee plants back to their homelands, and coffee crops soon took root in India.

Coffee also made its way into Europe around this time through the city of Venice, where fleets traded perfumes, teas, dyes and fabrics with Arabic merchants along the Spice Route. The beverage eventually gained popularity with the masses when street lemonade vendors began selling it in addition to cold beverages. Many European merchants grew accustomed to drinking coffee overseas and brought it back with them.

By the middle of the 17th century the Dutch dominated the world’s merchant shipping industry, and they introduced large-scale coffee cultivation to their colonies in Indonesia on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Bali. Coffee arrived in Latin America several decades later, when the French brought a cutting of a coffee plant to Martinique. But when a rare plant disease spread through the coffee fields of Southeast Asia in the mid 19th century, Brazil emerged as the world’s foremost coffee producer, an honor the country still holds today.
(Source: Starbucks.com)