|Only for Coffee Lover|
|FRAGRANCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD|
|DID YOU KNOW|
|FAMOUS COFFEE DRINKERS|
|FIVE COFFEE MYTHS TO AVOID|
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.
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.
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.
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.
DID YOU KNOW...?
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
There are certain guidelines to making a good cup of coffee, no matter what the preparation. Read on.
|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|
a global commodity, coffee ranks second only to oil in terms of dollars
traded. It is produced and exported by more than
|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:
|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
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.
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.
In addition to its Epicurean virtues, coffee (or the caffeine therein), when consumed in moderation, can be beneficial to your health.
|Coffee by any other name...|
|Coffee is the most widespread beverage worldwide. This might explain why it sounds the same in virtually every language.|
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.
bitter or burnt
frothy (or "monsoon" froth)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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|
|French Press||medium - coarse|
FAMOUS COFFEE DRINKERS
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.
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.
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!
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."
|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.