Coffee is a drink that can be consumed hot or cold. In fact it is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the whole world and one of the most widely traded commodities.
The coffee drink comes from coffee cherries which grow on trees in Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America. The cherries house the seeds which are known as coffee beans (although not actually a true bean) and it is these beans that are roasted to make the drink. The degree to which the beans are roasted affects the flavour of the final drink. Different varieties of the evergreen coffee tree (Coffea) are grown and the most prized is Coffea Arabica which is grown commercially. Coffea canephora (robusta) is also a widely grown variety and it is more resistant to disease than the Arabica.
The drink produced from the beans is very dark and has an acidic flavour and a stimulating effect on the human body. This stimulating effect comes from the caffeine content and it is the caffeine that also gives the bitter taste. Caffeine is the plant’s natural herbivore and omnivore deterrent. Caffeine levels vary between the different coffee varieties. Arabica contains far less than robusta. Caffeine was first isolated from coffee by Friedlieb Runge in 1820.
Coffee drinking has been around for hundreds of years and the first country of origin was Ethiopia. The popularity of coffee spread from the Muslim countries to the rest of the world and there are no signs that people are tiring of it.
Coffee is served in many ways these days. Café’s offer a sometimes bewildering selection from espresso, cappuccino, American and latte to iced coffee or decaf.
The most expensive coffee and rare coffee is Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee. Civets are very good at picking out the best coffee cherries and the seeds contained in them pass through the animal unhurt. The seeds are then collected and turned into coffee. Although perhaps the best coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak is controversial because in many cases the animals are farmed and caged, and animal cruelty has been witnesses, making the product unethical for a lot of people. » Read more: The Coffee Drink