Drinking a freshly brewed cup of excellent Organic coffee is an sensory experience.
First, we are greeted by the steaming aroma, so evocative of the earth. As you take your first sip your taste buds will be inundated with an extraordinarily full-bodied mouth feel…before the jolt of caffeine finally hits, coursing through your veins like fuel through a Ferrari engine.
It is coffee’s singular complexity that makes the downing of an aromatic cup a treasured ritual.
For all its surface ease, there is much more that goes into brewing a great cup of coffee than meets the eye. The humble bean is chock-full of legend, history and labor
Coffee beans are the pits of what the industry calls “cherries”.
Accounts in the annals of coffee history tell the story of the Kaldi the Ethopian goat-herd, who discovered the jittery effects of caffeine circa 800 CE after observing his frisky flock “dancing” after consuming the berries of a shrub that is now known to modern biologists as belonging to the genus Coffea. Ever adventurous, the earliest African tribes then folded crushed berries into lard to create buzzing balls of fire.
A primitive “bean broth” was widely imbibed in Arabia and North Africa by 1,000 CE, but it is said that no coffee seedling ever saw the light of day outside the region until the 1600’s: exporters made sure to render the beans sterile by 1st boiling or drying them before passing them on to European traders.
In a momentous episode of smuggling, one Baba Budan decided to end Arabia’s monopoly by escaping Mecca with “live” beans strapped around his waist.
The fruits of Budan’s adventure were the beginnings of the widespread cultivation of coffee in places like Java and Ceylon, spearheaded by aggressively entrepreneurial enterprises like The Dutch East India Company.
Today, coffee trees are now cultivated in over 70 countries in what has been dubbed the “Coffee Belt”, a sweltering swathe that encompasses Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Unroasted “green” coffee beans, which hail from trees genetically downsized to about 10 feet to make manual harvesting more manageable, are one of the most lucrative commodities in the agricultural sector, and the end product, coffee is one of the most popular stimulants and beverages consumed in the world today.
There exist many methods to extract flavor from the beans, all methods of preparing coffee involve steeping the grounds in hot water, then separating the spent grains from the liquid, now recognizable as coffee.
The general rule dictates that coarser grounds require longer extraction times.
Filters, which hold the leftover grounds, are also an important consideration. Paper is most absorbent and gives you clearer, cleaner-tasting coffee, whereas metal filters leave in all the oils in the beans, resulting in a murky, deeply tannic brew.
Some of the devices used will be familiar to anyone with a passing knowlege of coffee-making.
The French Press or cafetière is the most commonly employed coffee extraction machine. Ground coffee and hot water are tumbled in a cylindrical vessel, and a plunger affixed to a circular filter is then pushed down, begetting a brew redolent with intoxicating oils and a slight sediment.
The Espresso technique is a more violent.
Ground coffee is essentially hit with a blast of vaporized water under high pressure, rendering an aggressively muscular and potent draft topped off with a chocolate-hued foam that baristas call crema.
Siphon or Vacuum-brewed coffee has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.
Invented in Europe during the mid-19th Century,a boiling flask holding water is affixed via a tube to a second vessel, in which the ground coffee is placed. Unusual in that manual stirring is involved, the heated water rises to the top container, which is the cue for you to stir the bubbling liquid to mix the water and grounds together for about 1.5 mins. Turn the heat off, and the suction induced by physics causes the brewed coffee to be “siphoned” back to the bottom vessel.
And, lastly cold brewed coffee can be made by soaking coarse grounds in a tower filled with water and ice for several hours. The patience involved is reflected in the drink, ice drip coffee is surprisingly smooth, with a wine-like quality.
Brewed coffee can be served in a number of ways.
Unlike other beverages like whisky, coffee is uniquely colorful in that it has been appropriated by different cultures to suit different palates.
Turkish coffee, for instance, uses the simplest of equipment to boil finely ground coffee, which is then served in a cup, grounds and all, with a heapful of sugar and a dash of cardamom.
A leisurely repast, you then sit and wait for the grounds to settle to the bottom of your cup before taking small sips of the spicy sugary treat.
Espresso-based coffee has a array of possible presentations.
You can down it in a shot, or soften it with warm water as an Americano. You may also opt for a dash of steamed milk to create a caffè latte, a cappucino, which you get by adding equal parts steamed milk and frothed milk, or spot hot foamy milk on top for a macchiato.
Whatever your preference, Baristas recommend consuming your coffee at a serving temperature of around 68°C.
And I recommend that you only drink Organic coffee whether at home or in your favorite coffee house.
Have a terrific weekend.