Only for Coffee Lover
COFFEE TYPES
FRAGRANCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
DID YOU KNOW
GOURMET COFFEES
GLOSSARY
COFFEE MAKERS
FAMOUS COFFEE DRINKERS
FIVE COFFEE MYTHS TO AVOID


COFFEE TYPES

There are two major species of coffee trees:

The first, which is the better-known and older of the two, is the arabica. It is more refined and the one most appreciated by coffee connoisseurs. Arabica beans generally grow in high altitudes and do best in just the right climatic conditions (i.e. moderate heat in the daytime tempered with cool nights).

The second is the robusta tree. As the name implies, it is more resistant to disease, drought and insects — elements that can damage its arabica counterpart. It grows in lower elevations. Robusta beans contain two to three times more caffeine than the arabica. They produce lower grade coffees.



FRAGRANCES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD...

Coffees the world over at a glance.

Africa

Angola: excellent robusta with subtle chocolaty undertones.

Cameroon: excellent arabica with the bright acidity prized by coffee lovers.

Ethiopia: low-caffeine arabica mochas. The country produces some of the finest gourmet mocha coffees in the world. Releases a delicate bouquet in the case of gourmet coffees like the sidamo, harrar and limu.

Kenya: arabica wonderfully presented. The best coffee in Africa, and perhaps the world! The grade indicators AA and peaberry are reserved for the country's best production. It compares favourably with the Jamaica Blue mountain and the Hawaii Kona. Kenyan coffee is very fine, with lots of body and a pleasant acidity.

Rwanda: arabicas with a tasteful muted acidity in certain cases. Inconsistent quality.

Tanzania: excellent arabica simultaneously winey and fragrant, less acidic than the Kenya AA.

Zimbabwe: recent player on the world coffee scene that is enjoying remarkable growth. Very good quality which can approximate the Kenya AA. Subtle and fruity aroma, medium body with soft, winey flavor.

Americas

Brazil: the leading coffee producer worldwide. The sheer variety of coffee grown in the country can confound even the best of connoisseurs. Brazil produces the full range of arabica varietals: from the Rio-flavoured minas to the sul de minas, a coffee that is truly world class. Coffees are generally mellow (expect for the iodine-like tasting rio).

Colombia: soft tasting arabicas that come in two categories: the supremo and the exelso. Its oversize coffee beans (maragogype) are highly refined, but preserving them after roasting can be a delicate matter.

Costa Rica: produces strictly high-quality arabicas that combine pleasantly winey flavour with a flowery bouquet. Somewhat pricey, but the type of coffee that can dramatically improve the taste of a more neutral blend.

Equator: attractive arabica beans, but a little lacking in taste.

Guatemala: strictly high-quality arabica (according to some, the country produces the best coffee in Central America and perhaps even the world). Rich body, flowery fragrance and muted acidity in perfect harmony.

Honduras: low acidity with medium to full body.

Jamaica: home of the renowned Blue mountain arabicas. Highly sough-after worldwide (but especially in Japan). Rare and pricey.

Mexico: quality varies in accordance with the country's geography. Mexico generally produces coffees of average grade. There is one exception, the Altura Pluma, whose characteristics include a delicate aroma and rich, acidic flavour.

Nicaragua: makes a good cup of acidic and aromatic arabica, yet less refined than some of its Central American counterparts.

Paraguay: arabica that can approximate a medium grade Brazilian coffee. Makes for a good blend.

Salvador: very good arabicas harbouring a soft fragrance and surprisingly pointed acidity.

Venezuela: washed arabicas with a mellow and aromatic character. Flowery bouquet and bright acidity combine to form a great, but rare, coffee.

Asia and the South Seas

Hawaii: a small producer by world standards, but maker of the fine gourmet Kona coffee — sublime, rare and, yes, pricey.

India: Producer of the gourmet Mysore coffee, a fine arabica with low acidity and a delicate aroma. Only producers of coffee known to produce a monsoon-type froth (term derived from the process of exposing the beans to the humid air of the monsoon season). Like Malabar, winey and full-bodied.

Yemen: highly fragrant arabicas, delicately peppered, can approximate the harrars of Ethiopia (on the shores directly across the Red Sea). Becoming more and more rare.


DID YOU KNOW...?

Caffeine

Contrary to popular lore, common commercial coffees (Robusta) contain more
caffeine than their higher grade counterparts (Arabica). The caffeine content in the former is two to three times higher than in the latter.
The moral of the story is that coffee from a vending machine is likely to be stronger than the espresso served at your local coffee shop or restaurant.

<BR><BR>Another surprising misconception: the degree of caffeine is higher in a cup of dripped coffee than in a similar amount of espresso of
equal quality. How can that be? Less brew water drives through espresso coffee, thus releasing less caffeine. Consequently, an espresso "ristretto"
(short or shrunk, i.e. more concentrated), no matter how full-bodied, will be less caffeinated than an espresso "lungo" (long, i.e. made with more
water than usual).

The nine golden rules of a good cup of coffee

There are certain guidelines to making a good cup of coffee, no matter what the preparation. Read on.
  1. Select high grade coffee that has been freshly roasted.
     
  2. Store your coffee in a nontransparent airtight container.
     
  3. Buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing. Never grind more coffee than you will use for immediate brewing.
     
  4. Use fresh water (avoid tap water that is too hard or contains too much chlorine).
     
  5. Never boil brew water, but rather bring to a simmering heat. Cold water dilutes the coffee's aroma. Boiling water causes bitterness (the desired outcome only in the case of Turkish coffee).
     
  6. Use one rounded tablespoon of ground coffee per cup, i.e. roughly 10 grams.
     
  7. Make sure your coffee maker is clean and free of old coffee grounds or other residue.
     
  8. Never reheat coffee. Make it, pour it and drink it hot. At best, keep freshly brewed coffee in a thermal coffee pot.
     
  9. The last but far from least tip: Coffee is an Epicurean delight to be savoured under the best possible conditions, or in good company.

Leading coffee-drinking nations
Coffee is the most widespread beverage worldwide. The following is a list of the leading coffee-drinking nations:
Finland, Sweden 13 kg per capita
Denmark, Norway 12 kg per capita
Netherlands 9 kg per capita
Germany, Austria, Belgium 8 kg per capita
France, Switzerland 6 kg per capita
United States, Italy 4.5 kg per capita
Canada 4 kg per capita
Spain 3 kg per capita
Great Britain 2.5 kg per capita
Japan 2 kg per capita

Leading coffee-producing nations
As a global commodity, coffee ranks second only to oil in terms of dollars traded. It is produced and exported by more than 60 countries. The annual worldwide crop yields 100 million 60-kilo coffee sacks, with a 75% - 25% split in favour of Arabica over Robusta varieties. Below is a rundown of the world's top coffee-producing nations:
1-Brazil (20 millions sacks)
2-Colombia (13 millions sacks)
3-Indonesia (7 millions sacks)
4-Mexico (4 millions sacks)
5-Ethiopia (4 millions sacks)
6-Uganda (3.5 millions sacks)
7-Ivory coast (3 millions sacks)
8-India (3 millions sacks)
9-Guatemala (3 millions sacks)
10-Vietnam (3 millions sacks)

Leading coffee-importing nations Espresso
The major coffee-importing nations are not necessarily the same as those with the highest consumption rate per capita. Here's a list of the five top importers of coffee:

1-United States

2-Germany

3-France

4-Japan

5-Italy
 
Despite what the average person believes, the Italian word espresso does not mean "express" in the sense of "fast," but rather "express" as in the process of "extraction" from the coffee bean. Coincidentally, however, espresso is fast way to make an excellent coffee with an aromatic character that is difficult to match.

An espresso can be had "short" ("ristretto" in Italian) or "long" ("lungo"). The espresso's charm lies in its rich creamy topping. When adding sugar to your espresso, be sure to pour it over the topping slowly to avoid breaking up the frothy cream. It is the cream that harbours the coffee's fragrance.

Cafeteria

Today the word is used to signify a self-serve fast food area where coffee, among other foods and beverages, can be consumed. Originally (1839), a "cafeteria" in Mexico was the place where coffee was roasted and sold.

Therapeutic values


In addition to its Epicurean virtues, coffee (or the caffeine therein), when consumed in moderation, can be beneficial to your health.
  • Above all, coffee is a stimulant; it can serve to offset hypnotic and analgesic substances.
     
  • Because it affects the nervous system, coffee can improve memory and concentration.
     
  • Coffee acts as a vasodilator and a heart stimulant.
     
  • Coffee has excellent diuretic qualities.
     
  • Coffee can have a positive influence on your mood by eliminating the feeling of physical and mental fatigue.
     
  • Coffee facilitates digestion. It increases the secretion of stomach acids, invigorates intestinal activity, stimulates liver and kidney activity. Basically, coffee makes an excellent "digestif."
     

Coffee by any other name...
Coffee is the most widespread beverage worldwide. This might explain why it sounds the same in virtually every language.
Kaffee

Coffee

Caphe

Qahwa

Gafe

Kia-Fey

Kaffe

Café

Kafo

Kahri

Café

Kaféo

Kavak
German

English

Annamese

Arabic

Cambodian

Chinese

Danish

Spanish

Esperanto

Finnish

French

Greek

Hebrew
  Kavé

Caffè

Coffea

Kawa

Koffie

Kawa

Café

Cafea

Kophe

Kafa

Kaffe

Cafeoh
Hungarian

Italian

Latin

Malaysian

Dutch

Polish

Portuguese

Romanian

Russian

Serbo-Croatian

Swedish

Thai


GOURMET COFFEES

The highest grade coffee is of the Arabica variety (save a handful of exceptions). For a full appreciation, drink it black. Arabica coffee is available virtually worldwide. The gourmet coffees below are among the most refined — and, regrettably, the most expensive, too.

This list is by no means exhaustive. The coffee grower's love for producing great coffee, as well as the care exercised by the men and women who hand pick the beans, also have a "hand" in elevating coffee to gourmet status.

Jamaica Blue Mountain
: the "richest" coffee in the world, in terms of both flavour and price. A classic full-bodied, rich-flavoured coffee with a smooth yet vibrant acidity and chocolaty taste.

Ethiopia Mocha Harrar: well balanced, remarkably smooth and intensely aromatic coffee with a distinctive floral bouquet. Exquisitely acidic with subtle chocolaty undertones.

Hawaii Kona: very mellow coffee for your perfect evening cup. Lightly peppered taste with muted acidity and an unctuous aroma. A truly fine gourmet coffee.

Guatemala San Cristobal: Guatemala may not be a major coffee producer, but it does boast this full-bodied, winey and delicately spicy gem with a chocolaty aftertaste.

Kenya AA: perhaps the most sought-after coffee in the world. Fruity with a slightly acidic bend, the taste of this highly prized African coffee lingers in the mouth.

New Guinea Sigri: the coffee plants that bear this coffee are transplants from the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain estates. That says it all for this heavy-bodied and aromatic smooth and chocolaty coffee.

India Mysore "Karaïaka": a "frothy" coffee that combines full body with spicy and acidic undertones. Contains little caffeine, hence, ideal for evenings.

Mexico Chiapas Tapachula: mellow, fragrant, rich-bodied with a hint of acidity.

Angola Ambiom Novo Rodondo: the only Robusta variety coffee that can be graded a "gourmet" cup. Unequivocally distinct and smooth, its aroma and flavour make it a virtual Arabica.

Puerto Rico Yauco Selecto: a rare and pricey full-bodied coffee. Strong and abundant in flavour and aromatic character. An excellent daytime coffee.



GLOSSARY


acidity
A desirably pointed taste sensation affecting primarily the front part of the palate (like lemon).

aroma
Coffee can deliver at least 800 known aromas that are generally described in cooking terms: e.g. toast, chocolaty, spicy, fruity, wild, etc. The natural aroma of coffee is extremely frail and subject to oxidization when exposed to light, humidity and air.

bitter or burnt
A harsh, unpleasant taste which overpowers any other mouthfeel sensation.

body
Used to describe the complete rich, heavy, or thick texture and sensation in the mouth.

cherry
The same term applies to the fruit of both the cherry tree and coffee tree because they look so much alike: same colour, same shiny aspect, same shape and size. The coffee tree cherry, however, contains two beans which, one roasted, become coffee beans. Botanists refer to the coffee tree cherry as a drupe.

corretto
Italian term used to describe the adding of an alcoholic beverage to one's coffee: calvados, rhum, cognac, brandy, liqueur or any other blend depending on one's taste.

crema
The creamy foam that covers the surface of a well brewed cup of espresso. If the foam is too thin or too pale, it generally points to a watery brew caused by either too coarse a grind, weak steam pressure from the espresso machine, or the use of cold water. Conversely, a dark brown foam indicates too fine a grind, the use of boiling water or too high a level of steam pressure in the machine.

fragrance
Flavour is the range of sensations felt in the mouth. Aroma is detected through the nose. Fragrance combines both flavour and aroma.

frothy (or "monsoon" froth)
Term that applies strictly to coffees produced in India. It refers to a process in which green coffee beans are voluntarily exposed to humid air during the monsoon season. Coffee beans turn a yellowish colour and make for a mellow brew.

full-bodied
A full-bodied coffee leaves an unequivocal, powerful and lingering taste in the mouth, a characteristic that is typical of espresso coffees.

rio
Iodine-like flavor (simultaneously salty and bitter) typical of Brazilian coffee. From the word/capital city Rio.

ristretto
Italian term for a "short" or "shrunk" espresso that is more concentrated because it uses the same amount of coffee but less water than usual. Conversely, an espresso "lungo" or "long" refers to espresso made with more water than usual.

roasting
Green coffee beans are tasteless and odorless until roasted. The roasting process lasts 12 to 20 minutes. Lighter roasts produce coffee that is mellower, lighter and more aromatic. Darker roasts make for coffee that is blacker, more full-bodied, caramelised and perhaps even more bitter.

soft
Describes low-acid, mellow-sweet coffees.

washed
Washed coffee (wet processed) is the opposite of "natural" coffee. It undergoes five stages — including grading, selection, wash and sundrying — which ultimately transform the coffee berries into roast-ready beans. Natural coffee is prepared with the dry method (no grading or sundrying) to produce what is known as green coffee.

wild
Nuances in aroma and flavour characteristic of Ethiopian Mocha coffee; leather-tasting.

winey
Implies low or medium acidity, a characteristic prized by coffee lovers.


COFFEE MAKERS

There are as many types of coffee makers as there are palates. The true coffee lover might own up to two or three different models. Morning coffee differs from the afternoon cup and, of course, the evening brew. Each coffee type requires its own unique preparation.

Here are some examples of coffee makers, or pots.

Percolator

Derived from the Italian word "percolare," which means "to filter." Basically, all coffee makers make use of the percolation process. This model is so widely used, at the very least in North America, but not recommended. The brew water heats in a large "kettle," rises up toward the coffee-filled filter only to drive back down, and up and down, and so on...

This brewing method flies in the face of every good coffee-making convention, and serves only to produce a bitter burnt cup. Avoid using a percolator — please!

Turkish coffee

Perhaps the oldest brewing method in the world. It is the only method that requires bringing the finely grounded coffee to a boil. To make two cups, pour two teaspoons of coffee in two cups of water (and later, two pods of cardamom). Boil three times. Add a few drops of fresh water prior to serving. Allow a few moments after it is poured to let the grounds settle.

Drip coffee maker (integrated or independent)

Perhaps the simplest and most widespread coffee brewing method. Although drip coffee makers come in a variety of looks and sizes — porcelain, earthenware, metal or pyrex (for Melita coffee makers that use paper filters) — the brewing process is always the same: the top part is equipped with a filter which contains the coffee grounds, while the bottom section receives the liquid once it has driven through the grounds and filter. When using paper filters, wet them carefully prior to filling them with coffee grounds — it helps eliminate the taste of cellulose that is released from the paper.

Neapolitan coffee brewer

A variation of the previous model, it consists of two parts. Fill the lower part with water. Pour the coffee grounds between the two filters. Finally, screw the top part on with the pouring end upside down. Once the water begins to simmer, flip the brewer over and allow the water to drive through the grind one drop at a time until the coffee is ready to serve.

French Press pot (e.g. Mélior or Bodum)

A French Press coffee maker consists of a cylinder generally made of glass placed above a base. Simmering water is poured atop the ground coffee and drives down to the bottom of the cylinder. After one or two minutes, a steel plunger (a perforated metal disc that fits snugly inside the cylinder) is pushed down in order to separate the coffee from the beans, causing the liquid coffee to rise to the top and the coffee grounds to stay at the bottom.

Vacuum pot (e.g. Cona)

The vacuum pot is by far one of the most original coffee making contraptions ever created. What coffee connoisseur wouldn't love to own one? An English invention patented in 1840, it has become a staple of decorative arts museums. Designed to look like laboratory glassware, it consists of two bowls atop one another and fastened to a base. The lower bowl is filled with fresh water. The tulip-shaped upper bowl is pitted to the whole by a permanent filter. A burner heats the water, which eventually rises from the lower bowl to the upper. Once all the water has reached the ground coffee in the upper bowl, the pot is removed from the heat. As the pot cools, the vacuum formed in the lower bowl slowly pulls the brewed coffee down through the filter from the upper bowl. Remove the upper bowl and serve.

Moka pot

Invented in Italy during the 1950s, the Moka pot is a press-type coffee maker made of stainless steel and comprising three sections. The bottom section is for heating the water. A long filter funnel runs down the water. The pressure forces the steam and water up the filter and into the top section firmly screwed onto the lower part. The pouring tip is incorporated into the top section. The result is an intensely aromatic coffee with a pronounced taste which resembles that of espresso, minus the latter's consistency.

Espresso pot

Another Italian invention. In 1948, a certain Achille Gaggia, taking his cue from the percolators of his day, built the espresso maker we know today. It works by allowing high pressure to drive the simmering water up a metal filter containing finely ground coffee in no more than 25 or 30 seconds. The result is a highly concentrated coffee, unctuously rich with an intense aroma and taste. Ideal as an afternoon or evening cup. You can judge a fine espresso by the quality (colour and texture) of its "crema" or creamy topping.


To each pot its own grind
Measure roughly 10 g (or 1 teaspoon) of ground coffee per cup.
Pot   Grind
percolator   coarse
French Press   medium - coarse
Vacuum   medium
Neapolitan   medium
Moka   fine
Espresso   extra fine
Turkish coffee   powdery


FAMOUS COFFEE DRINKERS

Bach (1685-1750)

Most know of Johann Sebastian Bach's sacred liturgical music, but how many have heard of his ode to coffee? Bach, in the throes of the coffee mania that was sweeping all of Europe, composed in 1732 a coffee cantata based on a satirical text he commissioned from the poet Picander.


Balzac (1799-1850)

In a treatise devoted to the stimulants of his day, Balzac naturally wrote several pages on the subject of coffee. Keep in mind that the writer was an avid coffee drinker. He said that the beverage produced in him "a sort of restless energy."

Would la Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy) ever have been written, were it not for coffee? Coffee may not induce creativity, but it has provided mankind with a faithful weapon against the sweet slumber of sleep that would have aborted the many masterpieces concocted in the middle of the night with coffee in one hand, a pen in the other, and feet soaking in warm water.


Louis XV (1710-1774)

The reign of Louis XV is fondly remembered for giving rise to aristocratic cuisine. The cuisine itself was on the path to refinement, and the noble men and women of the king's court were known to partake of the actual cooking. Louis XV went as far as to grow his own crop of coffee beans in greenhouses on the Versailles Palace grounds. He handpicked the beans, roasted and ground them. He derived the greatest pleasure from making his entrance in a salon with coffee pot in hand, ready to pour for his guests. Needless to say, when a certain Madame du Barry exclaimed "Hey, la France, your coffee's lousy," she was not addressing the king, but rather, a steward by the name of La France!


Voltaire (1694-1778)

The learned Voltaire was known for his perspicuity, sarcastic wit and his passion for coffee. Brillat-Savarin credited the beverage for the remarkable clarity in Voltaire's writings. An incorrigible lover of coffee and Parisian coffee houses, the writer and philosopher was a regular at the Le Procope café and helped convert the establishment into one of the most popular literary meeting grounds in Paris. To those who implored him to reduce his coffee intake, he replied: "I've been drinking coffee for over 50 years. That it is poison, I am convinced, but its ill effects have yet to have any bearing on my health."




FIVE COFFEE MYTHS TO AVOID
1. Storing coffee in your freezer. Whether ground or whole bean, store your coffee in a cool place, but avoid the freezer as it generally hastens flavour loss.

2. Boiling coffee. To fully bring out coffee's natural aromas, brew water should be heated to no more than a simmering temperature.

3. Reheated coffee. Never reheat coffee. Make it fresh each time and serve immediately after brewing — unless, of course, you prefer your coffee bitter burnt.

4. Adding more coffee to your usual preparation. Contrary to popular belief, this does not make for stronger, tastier coffee — just more bitter. Instead, switch to a new coffee blend or grind.

5. Adding very hot milk. The sugar contained in the milk will caramelize and alter the coffee taste. Ideally, milk should be heated at low temperature or steam heated in your espresso maker.