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Coffee Unstoppable Force: In today’s world, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. In fact, it has become a cultural, economic, and social phenomenon, with the coffee crop trade gaining a monopoly over the market.
Most people cannot go a day without consuming at least two steaming mugs of coffee a day. No wonder you will find a Starbucks at every corner of the street- people take their coffees very seriously.
Let’s dive into the origins of coffee to help you understand where and how this magic potion became a staple in all households.
Coffee comes from a shrub, Coffea Arabica, which is more than six meters tall. This shrub has thick, jagged leaves to keep predators naturally away from the plant. It can only grow in areas that are humid and receive extreme rainfall.
The coffee shrub also grows berry-like fruits that can be fermented to produce the caffeinated beverage. These fruits contain seeds that are roasted to make coffee.
Coffee first became popular in the Ethiopian highlands, later becoming known as coffee’s official homeland. The coffee plant produces fruits that contain seeds. These seeds are extracted from the plant and dried, and roasted to bring out the nutty taste, after which they are blended in grinders.
It is believed that the Oromo population in Ethiopia was the first to discover coffee and its brilliant, stimulating effects on the human brain and body. The magic of a cup of freshly brewed coffee became so popular that the coffee plant became Oromo’s official cultural symbol. Every traditional event required the presence of coffee beans. This was true for religious ceremonies as well.
Hence, the coffee plant became of huge cultural importance to the Oromo people, earning them a name in the history of coffee. In the 21st century, coffee remains of great importance to the Oromo population and their traditional cuisine. Ethiopia is to thank for the spread of coffee to the rest of the world.
It was not until the 1900s that coffee became a trade commodity. It started being produced in bulk in Java as the Dutch took control of the coffee market and started selling it to numerous European markets. Coffee plants were established in Sri Lanka, followed by the Philippines.
When the British discovered what an excellent commodity coffee was, they started competing with the Dutch and stepped into the trade market. It was not long before British colonies in India and the East India Company were introduced to coffee and became mass consumers of it.
In the 18th century, the demand for coffee started to boom. African slaves were sold to work as slaves at coffee plants during these years. These slaves worked long and hard hours under difficult conditions. It is estimated that four million coffee farmers worked endlessly on coffee fields during this time. However, within a few decades, this number started to fall.
The spread of coffee expanded to Middle Eastern regions, the Ottoman Empire, and slowly to the west. Back in the day, people were obsessed with coffee because of its medicinal components. In fact, these components played a significant role in the global consumption of the caffeinated beverage.
Back in the day, European coffee houses marketed coffee as a life-enhancing beverage. Only elite sectors of the population and rich businessmen would meet at these coffee shops.
The United States became the first to import coffee as it became popular in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. At first, it was only served exclusively in high-end coffee spots around the city. As more and more Americans became fascinated with how great coffee made them feel, the demand for coffee started to rise. By the 19th century, coffee had become a necessity.
Coffee beans are picked by hand and then transported to roasting facilities, where they are cleaned and sorted based on their size. Then, specialized machines are used to roast the coffee beans. Since this process takes time, the beans are roasted in large quantities at particular temperatures. Roasting the beans changes their color; the beans first turn green, yellow, and, lastly, brown.
Once the coffee beans have been roasted, they are taken to packaging plants, where they are sealed in bags. This ensures that the beans stay fresh and do not go stale. The packaged coffee beans are taken to export facilities, where they are shipped to different parts of the world. The International Coffee Organization ensures that the standards of exporting coffee to each country are met before the coffee is traded in the international market.
Many different types of coffee are produced. Each coffee is made from beans that are roasted differently. For example, espresso coffee uses strong beans that contain a higher amount of caffeine. On the other hand, Mocha uses different coffee beans to produce a chocolatey flavor. Today, you will find different blends of coffee in supermarkets, many of which have been made with a blend of coffee beans that have been roasted at different temperatures.
In the past few decades, coffee has taken the world by storm as it has become deeply integrated into our daily routines. Brands like Tim Hortons and Starbucks have made a name for themselves selling coffee, proving that the market for this commodity is extensive.
Today, two billion cups of coffee are consumed globally in homes, offices, and restaurants. America, France, and Germany are the biggest importers of coffee, who usually get their stock from Vietnam, Brazil, Kenya, and Columbia. We can’t wait to see coffee become the most consumed beverage in the world.