Coffee is a brewed drink made from the roasted beans of many species of plants of Coffea genus, different for height, but above all for aroma and for the caffeine content. The most commonly used plants are the highly regarded Coffea Arabica, the “robusta” Coffea Canephora (with a more bitter taste), and Coffea Liberica.
Coffe beans must be picked, processed and dried in order to get the seeds, that are then roasted. The roasting process strongly influences the taste, so it may have varying degrees, depending on the desired final flavor. Then seeds need to be ground, and they are finally brewed to create coffee. You should store Coffee in an airtight container.
First coffee cultivation was in southern Arabia. That’s why its name derives from the Arabic word qahwah, indicating a stimulating beverage.
The main Coffee producer countries today are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Out of the Middle East, the first country where Coffee was exported was India. Then it spread to Venice, important Italian commercial port in Italy, and later ot the rest of Italy and Europe as well.
According to the legend, in IX century an Ethiopian goatherder, Kaldi, discovered coffee: he noticed his goats got excited after eating the beans from a specific plant. So he decided to produce a beverage with those beans, hoping to receive the same energy of his flock.
Thanks to its caffeine content, Coffee has strong stimulant effects. Anyway, coffee’s health benefits are not solely a product of caffeine. In fact, decaffeinated coffee also exhibits beneficial effects. Studies have stated that, in healthy individuals, a moderate regular coffee drinking is either benign or at least mildly beneficial, but still more research needs to be done. Till now, studies suggest coffee consumption reduces the risk of a few diseases, such as prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Besides that, excessive amounts of coffee can cause, especially for elderly, advers effects. They are mainly due to its caffeine content, so you can avoid them by drinking decaffeinated coffee.
Here in Italy Coffee is like a medicine: we use to consume from 2 to 5 small cups of espresso coffee per day. The first one on waking up, sometimes another one in the middle of the morning, after lunch, to avoid feeling drowsy, in the afternoon after having a nap, and in the end of the day, to help digestion and have some relax with friends. Actually, we consider Coffee like a symbol for relax and social relations: we have plenty of coffee bars, born to let us have a break with friends and collegues.
Coffee is also used amongst the ingredients to make custards and desserts, like in Italian Tiramisu.
Fun fact: Although it is a form of processing rather than a variety of coffee, Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, is considered as the finest and most expensive coffee in the world. It is only produced in the Indonesian Archipelago, and commercialized with retail prices reaching €550 / US$700 per kilogram. Its name refers to coffee beans once they have been eaten and defecated by a local small mammals, the Asian palm civet, hence the taste may vary with the type and origin of beans ingested. Then, these beans are collected, roasted, aged and brewed.