If coffee is your always, soak all this amazing information about the history of coffee and how it traveled the world and let it brew in your mind as the aroma wafting from your beloved cup flirts with your senses.
The history of coffee
Coffee arabica, the tree indigenous to the Ethiopian peninsula, is known to have been discovered in the 11th century and was first exported to Yemen, Egypt and other neighboring regions in the 15th century and took nearly another hundred years to finally reach Europe.
There are several legends as to how the berries came into being a drink. Some have attributed it to the Sufi mystics for whom the fragrant brew came to be of importance in aiding concentration and revitalization. Another one dates back to the 9th century Ethiopia where Kaldi, a goat-herder, first noticed how his flocks were energized upon consuming the berries.
In 1565, the Great Siege of Malta, the Europeans found their Turkish Muslim slave prisoners making coffee and realized the drink’s potential. Booming trade and colonization also brought coffee to Europe but it only sped up in popularity in England when the import of the luxury drink tea was laden with taxes.
Coffeehouses popped up in huge numbers in the latter half of the 17th century and quickly became the hub of intellectual and cultural exchange as well as political discourse. The entry was restricted to men in some places, thus leading to the beverage earning women’s contempt, and Charles II even attempted to close them for the fear of the growing seed of dissent.
The German composer Bach composed the Coffee Cantata (Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht) in which a young girl beseeches her father to accept her love for coffee, as was the rising trend in those days.
Gabriel de Clieu, a French Naval Officer, brought coffee to the Caribbean in 1720 after a perilous journey from where coffee plantations, largely dependent at the time on slave labor, spread to the rest of Latin America. Americans turned to coffee in large numbers after the Boston Tea Party in 1773 when tea was boycotted as a sign of patriotism.
Brazil has been dominating the coffee market since 1852, contributing to nearly a third of the world’s coffee production while Columbia ranks 2nd with a share of about 15%.
Coffee, referred to as Black Gold, has developed into an industry like no other. Its omnipresence has made it an economic boon.
What’s in a name?
As the rich ‘black liquid’ traveled the world, it received less than a warm welcome in many places. Owing to its stimulating effects, coffee was banned by the conservatives in Mecca in 1511 and in Cairo in 1532. The beverage was also banned by the Church, associated as it was with the Islamic culture and had quite a bitter taste, and was labeled the ‘Devil’s Drink.’ It was Pope Clement VIII who, after having tasted it himself, blessed the drink and opened the gates for the public acceptance of coffee.
The 19th century spearheaded coffee towards global popularity and thus, the Indonesian island of Java emerged as its major producer and exporter, thus lending its name to the drink. The popular belief around the origin of the nickname ‘joe’ is that it arose as a mark of protest among sailors when alcohol was banned in the U.S. Navy Ships by the Secretary of the Navy Josephus “Joe” Daniels in 1914. The cup of Joe may also be the shortened form of jamoke, the combination of java and mocha or, as many linguists believe, may refer to the use of the word joe for a common chap.
Classic coffee beverages
Caffè mocha or mocaccino, a chocolaty variation of coffee, derives its name from Yemen’s port city Mocha, one of the first prominent centres of coffee trade.
Espresso refers to the brewing method wherein finely ground coffee beans (known as espresso roast despite not being of any particular variety) are subjected to hot water under pressure and result in a thicker product with concentrated flavor (thus, high caffeine content) and a slightly creamy consistency which is perhaps the most common base for other caffeinated beverages. This Italian technique was first patented by Angelo Moriondo in 1884 and in 1903, the ‘espresso machine‘ began to be manufactured in Milan by the La Pavoni company. The budding of espresso bars went hand in hand with urbanisation.
Vienna became the hotbed of coffee drink invention as the late 18th and 19th centuries saw the emergence of many new beverages in the menus of coffee houses. One of the very first was cappuccino that originally showed up with the name kapuziner, some time in the 1700s. It was varyingly described as coffee with cream, sugar and spices.
The name cappuccino was assigned to the drink because of its resemblance to the habits of the Capuchin monks. The present-day cappuccino, comprising steamed milk and an espresso shot, evolved in Italy. The key to cappuccino is the beloved foam on top, which is a skill to attain in the right ratio and shape, the latter having emerged into latte art.
Latte or caffelatte is the combination of espresso and steamed milk and was popularized in America in the late 20th century. Milk and coffee have a lot of regional variations, the most well-known being the Spanish café con leche, the French café au lait and the Portuguese galão.
Macchiato or espresso macchiato is an espresso topped with a dash of foamed milk. The name means ‘stained’ and refers to its darker color and it is on account of lesser milk content that it is essentially differentiated from a cappuccino.
Iced coffee drinks
The more summer-appropriate version consisting of cold frothed milk is known as Cappuccino Freddo and has found many variations across Europe. In Greece and Cyprus it is called Freddo Cappuccino. The blend of gelato and espresso, known as gelato da bere, is more popular in Italy.
Iced and frozen coffee drinks have been tracked back to the 19th century. The Algerian Mazagran, named after a fortress, is a drink served in a tall glass with hot coffee poured over ice. It is also called Portuguese iced coffee and may find additions of sugar syrup, lemon and rum.
Frappé is an iced coffee beverage hailing from Greece that makes use of instant coffee. It was invented in 1957 as a result of the experiments of Dimitris Vakondios, a Nescafe representative at the Thessaloniki International Fair, and was thus marketed as Nescafe Frappé.
Affogato (meaning ‘drowned’ in Italian) is essentially a scoop of ice cream over which a shot of espresso is poured.
Thai iced coffee or oliang is a strong brew that is made using a filter sock. It may be consumed black or with condensed milk. Various recipes may use brown sugar, cardamom, sesame seeds, soybean, corn and rice.
Aisu Kohi, the Japanese iced coffee, has quite a distinct flavor because of the way it is brewed and allowed to drop directly over the ice cubes.
Traditional coffee recipes
The South Indian filter coffee is brewed from finely ground coffee using a traditional filter and then mixed with boiled frothed milk and sugar.
Kaffeost is the traditional Finnish coffee with cubes of cheese and can be found in other parts of northern Scandinavia as well. While the cheese and coffee pairings have received much attention in recent times, this particular one is called leipäjuusto or juustoleipä (literally, ‘cheese bread’) and can be served on the side or have hot coffee poured over it.
Turkish coffee is made from finely ground Arabic coffee beans. The process involves brewing the liquid along with sugar, thus resulting in a thicker consistency. It is made in an ibrik and served in Demitasse cups and is also referred to as Greek coffee.
Cà Phê Trứng, the Vietnamese egg coffee, was the creation of Nguyen Van Giang who used an egg as a substitute for milk (whose supply was cut short after the French War) in 1946. The drink has now evolved into an extravagant treat.
Bicerin is a hot drink dating back to 1764 that comprises three layers, namely those of espresso, drinking chocolate and whipped milk. It hails from Turin, Italy and the name refers to the small glass it is served in.
Coffee meets alcohol
Coffee cocktails have been part of the menus of Viennese coffee houses since the middle of the 19th century and were called ‘gloria’ in France. Irish coffee is a hot coffee cocktail into which Irish whiskey and sugar are stirred. The drink is served with an enticing topping of fresh cream. Though there are various claims to the recipe, it is said to have been brought to America by Stanton Delaplane in 1952.
Rüdesheimer Kaffee, invented by the German chef Hans Karl Adam in 1957, is made by flambéing brandy with sugar cubes and is poured into a special cup to be then topped with hot coffee, whipped cream and chocolate flakes.
A White Russian is a cocktail of vodka, coffee liqueur (Kahlua) and cream poured over ice. Without cream, the drink is known as Black Russian.
Latest trends transforming the global coffee culture
Bulletproof coffee or butter coffee is a Keto drink that introduces healthy fats, such as grass-fed unsalted butter into coffee. It is said to be an energizing substitute for breakfast, aiding in weight loss.
Kopi Luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee, a cup of which can cost upto a $100. Hailing from Indonesia, it is made from coffee cherries that are partially digested by the Asian palm civet and then excreted.
Dalgona or Korean whipped coffee, a trend that went viral earlier this year, bears resemblance to the Indian beaten coffee. It can be served hot or cold depending on the milk that’s added to the creamy whipped mixture of instant coffee, sugar and hot water.
The Nitro cold brew coffee resembles draft beer with its creamy foam head that is achieved by infusing pressurized nitrogen to the drink. It gives a richer taste, less acidic and even carrying a hint of sweetness and has trended for providing a healthier dose of caffeine.
Avolatte was the brainchild of the Truman Café in Melbourne, Australia and is basically just latte served in avocado skin. The trend shot up in 2017 and has, since then, given rise to various experiments of serving coffee in hollowed-out edible shells.