Anthropologist William Roseberry (1996) reports that coffee drinkers would have been hard pressed to find specialty coffee in the United States in the 1970s—most of the coffee in the groceries came in cans, “the roasts were light and bland,” and the decaf versions were terrible (764). There was little exciting about coffee, and in fact, coffee drinking had been on a decline:
The second postwar development involved the long-term decline in consumption beginning in the 1960s. Through the 1950s, consumption was essentially flat, with minor fluctuations. From 1962, one can chart a consistent decline. In that year, 74.7 percent of the adult population was calculated to be coffee drinkers; by 1988 only 50 percent drank coffee. Even those who drank coffee were drinking less. In 1962, average coffee consumption was 3.12 cups per day; by 1980 it had dipped to 2.02 cups and by 1991 had dropped to 1.75 (Roseberry 1996: 765).
Waning consumer interest was compounded by frost in Brazil in 1975, which drove the price of the beans higher. Consumer groups called for a boycott—they would not pay more for bland coffee. The market grew even smaller at the onset of the 1980s when coffee growers and retailers realized that the current 20-29 year old generation had little interest in coffee, which they associated with their parents and grandparents. This group preferred “soft drinks”. So-called “coffeemen” didn’t know what to make of them.
The “Me” Generation
For the coffee industry to survive, it needed a new marketing strategy. Kenneth Roman, Jr., the president of Ogilvy and Mather, one of the PR firms that supported Maxwell House, made a suggestion: emphasize quality, value, and image by creating segmented products to increase appeal (Roseberry 1996: 765). The consumer was changing according to Roman, and coffee-players needed to pay attention:
We are entering the ‘me’ generation. The crucial questions ‘me’ oriented customers will ask, of all types of products, are: “What’s in it for me? Is the product ‘me’? Is it consistent with my lifestyle? Does it fill a need? Do I like how it tastes? What will it cost me? Is it necessary? Can I afford it? Is it convenient to prepare? How will it affect my health?” (1996: 765).
Coffees are a naturally diverse product; their value is derived from where they are grown, size and texture of the bean, and how they are processed and roasted. Once traded, they can be blended with coffees from other places to produce complex aromas and tastes that mark each brand as distinctive. But pricing to the roasters is based primarily on where the coffees are grown. Prior to the re-branding of coffee, this aspect of price was largely invisible to the ordinary consumer. The roasters managed a mix that offset these pricing differentials to produce coffee of the lowest common denominator (Roseberry 1996: 766). Place was not important to the consumer at this time.
To emphasize value, quality, and image as Roman had suggested, the consumer needed to be made more aware about what made coffee worth the price. And so the specialty coffee was born. The vision was a type of coffee to appeal to every person, including flavored coffees for the “soft drink generation.” Coffee for the aficionados, the penny-counters, those on-the-go, and certainly the senior community who were already strong supporters. Coffee was meant to permeate every aspect of life, and thanks to the response of growers and retailers it did. Smaller roasters marketing individual brands found a niche, and consumers complaining about paying $3/lb for tasteless coffee were more than willing to purchase specialty coffees for the additional dollar or two more in cost.
The movement toward specialty coffees was taken up by small roasters. While bigger brands followed, the size of smaller brands initially helped them establish credibility with the specialty coffee crowd—they weren’t seen as mass producers, they were viewed as having a closer relationship to the coffees they were trying to sell, and as such could produce a more flavorful coffee experience. Individual blends were not free from corruption however: “‘Peter’s Blend’ or ‘House Blend’ says nothing about where the coffee comes from, allowing the roaster or retailer near flexibility, but so again does the sale of ‘Mocha style’ or ‘Blue Mountain style’” (Roseberry 1996: 769). Many roasters dressed up less impressive and flavorful coffees with fancy names. Still, other small roasters were able to establish a brand through their blend of coffee, and the more aggressive of these entrepreneurs, such as Starbucks were able to expand nationally (Roseberry 1996: 771).
The Office Brew
Coffees became more personal, more accessible. The group that the market feared it had lost, the 20 – 29 year olds, had been netted. People began to drink coffee because it meant something to them: a flavor for everyone, a style for every lifestyle—we have methodically been taught to socialize over coffee, to look for a boost in productivity from this drink.
Chances are you have a coffeemaker in your workplace. It may just produce instant coffee, but it still produces a cup of caffeine when you need it. What about at home? And how far away are the nearest coffee houses—even if they are major chains? We’re surrounded by coffee and caffeine. Why? We live in a society that demands productivity during certain hours&38212;and if you live in a large urban center like New York City, there is a demand for productivity at all hours. We have standardized labor production so that we don’t necessarily work when it’s best for us (unless you’re a freelancer, and can work during hours that make sense to you), and coffee not only gets the day started (even if that day is actually a night shift), it gets us through the day.
Any amount of oxygen absorbed by coffee eventually leads to staleness. However, as the result of sugar browning reactions during roasting, freshly roasted coffee exudes carbon dioxide for up to a week in its whole bean form. For this reason, the highest quality coffees are typically packaged as soon as possible after roasting in a moisture-proof laminated bag containing a one-way valve. This valve allows the carbon dioxide to escape without “ballooning” or rupturing the bag, but does not allow oxygen to enter.
Other Valve Type Bags
Other types of valves allow carbon dioxide to be expelled through a plastic covered pinhole. This prevents carbon dioxide buildup within the package, but once the carbon dioxide is no longer creating a positive pressure on the coffee side, oxygen can leak into the bag. This is a good solution if the product will move through a system quickly.
If the coffee is to be packaged using no valves (including fractionally packaged ground coffee), the coffee must rest (“degas”) before it is packaged. It will pick up some oxygen during the degassing process which will limit shelf life, but otherwise the bag will balloon and possibly rupture, exposing the coffee to ambient levels of oxygen.
Packaging material: Coffee is packaged in materials ranging from paper bags to heavy foil laminates and cans. The packaging type also plays a marketing role. In terms of coffee shelf life, the type should be sealed easily (usually by heat) and moisture-proof.
Oxygen content of no more than 3% in the package is suggested. To ensure freshness at the brew stage, a “use by” date printed on the bags as well as the Julian calendar number printed on the case for the benefit of the retailer might be desirable. If ground coffee is packaged for an individual serving, the weight of coffee per package can be measured (see “Water to Coffee Ratio” in the “Brewing” section following). The actual “use-by” date depends upon the standards of the manufacturer.
Coffee grounds contain still a lot of their active ingredients and benefits. What we throw away every morning actually has a lot of potential if only we knew it.
Along with other chemicals, coffee grounds contain nitrogen phosphoric acid, potash, many minerals including trace minerals carbohydrates and some sugars which makes them a loved “food” for plants that love/need “ an “acid diet”. The caffeine applied to the surface of our skin helps to redistribute fat cells and to decrease the formation of cellulite.
From plant fertilizer over cellulite remedy to being a flea fighter it can be useful in different situations of our daily life and by the way it safes you money.
„Coffee grounds won’t solve the world’s energy problem. Even if all the coffee grounds in the world were used to make fuel, the amount produced would be less than 1 percent of the diesel used in the United States annually. But our objective is to take waste material and convert it to fuel.”
Apart from being the early morning fuel for billions of office workers, researches from the University of Nevada, Reno, discovered that coffee, in the form of spent grounds, makes a pretty decent biofuel.
Until recently, biofuel use was limited to local markets and they played a marginal role in the global energy mix. Currently biofuels are acquiring a global dimension with the potential to grow even more.
Spent coffee grounds contain 11-20 per cent oil, depending on their type.This is competitive with other major biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed oil, palm oil or soybean ail say researchers writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Scientists used an inexpensive process to extract the oils from the leftovers and to turn them into biofuels.The Team estimates that of the 16 billion pounds of coffee bean grown annually- which when spent ends in the trash or on compost heaps- up to 340 million gallons of biodiesel could be made
The diesel-extraction method for coffee grounds is similar to that used for other vegetable oils. It employs a process called transesterification, in which the grounds react with an alcohol in the presence of a catalyst.
The coffee grounds are dried overnight and common chemical solvents, such as hexane, ether and dichloromethane, are added to dissolve the oils. The grounds are then filtered out and the solvents separated. The remaining oil is treated with an alkali to remove free fatty acids. Then the crude biodiesel is heated to about 100°C to remove any water and treated with methanol and a catalyst so that the transesterification takes place. When cooled to room temperature and left to stand, the biodiesel floats up, leaving a layer of glycerineat the bottom. These layers are separated and the biodiesel is cleaned to remove any residues.
Oil and Diesel
It is easy and economical to extract oil from used coffee grounds compared to traditional feedstocks, said Mano Misra, an author of the study.
Further, coffee oil has some antioxidants which are required for biofuel stability.
After the oil extraction the remaining solid waste from processed coffee can be used as garden compost or fuel pellets.
The process of turning coffee grounds into biodiesel fuel is not new, but the MU team found a way to extract the oil without drying the grounds, which saves time and energy.
Wet coffee grounds contain 70 percent water and can take up to eight hours to dry.
The system devised by the researchers should save money, as well as time.
“If you use soybeans, you have to pay for the raw materials, that is one of the reasons for high biodiesel costs. If we can recycle some of the materials that we are consuming on a day-to day basis, we might reduce the biodiesel production costs.”
Food or Fuel
A major issue that arises from the creation of biodiesel made from soybeans, canola oils, animal fats, palm oil, sunflowers and sugar cane is that FOOD is being used to fuel people’s cars.
A benefit to the coffee-derived biodiesel is that it doesn’t affect the prices of the raw material used for processing food or food for animals.
Manorajan Misra, an ecological and chemical metallurgical professor at the University of Nevada, Reno is happy to work with waste and not with food because of issues like world hunger and the rising cost of food, not posing the question: Food or Fuel?!
Biodiesel made from spent coffee beans does not take away from the land used to produce food, nor does it affect the biodiversity of a country.
Sources like corn, soy and sugarcane are of course renewable, but people face extreme trade-offs.
Harvesting plants for fuel could be more detrimental to the environment, researchers say. Sometimes we emit more CO2 into the air by harvesting fuel.
This all takes not away from the fact that it is a good idea to look into alternative fuels, but fuels depend on crops have to be localized for that specific region. The localization would help transportation cost and would help be more efficient.
In general, developing countries have a larger potential to produce biomass than industrialized countries due to better climate conditions and lower labour costs.
So what or who is providing us then using coffee as fuel not only for ourselves, but also for our cars?
Governments? Oil companies? Coffee Houses? Farmers? Climate Change? Or maybe us, the consumers?
In general, developing countries have a larger potential to produce biomass than industrialized countries due to better climate conditions and lower labour costs. Under this assumption, international trade in biofuels and/or feedstocks from developing to developed countries is expected to increase with significant positive implications for development according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2009.
Although biodiesel production is on the rise, the industry is still not running at anywhere near full capacity.
In 2008, biodiesel production amounted to almost 7.8 million tonnes, whereas production capacity was more than twice as high. Despite the low capacity factor the EU’s production capacity increased substantially between 2008 and 2009.
In order to promote and promulgate the use of biofuels among Member States, the legislative body of the EU has established several Directives at the supranational EU level. Most Directives require Member States to implement targets for the market share of biofuels or allow them to support biofuels, for example, by allowing tax exemptions.
The Directive EC 2003/30/EC on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels first came into force in 2003.
It aims to increase the use of biofuels in the Union in order to achieve objectives such as climate change commitments, an environmentally friendly security of supply and to promote renewable energy sources.
Besides setting indicative targets for market shares, Member States are required to ensure that sufficient information on the availability of biofuels is given to the public,
The 2005 target was far from being reached and from today’s point of view it also seems to be very unlikely that the 2010 goal can be accomplished—expectations are for around 4.2 per cent.
Financial and Economic Impact
The comparison of the financial and economic impacts of biofuel and fossil fuel use suggests a substitution potential for biofuels that is highly dependent on the level and quality of demand, and national energy priorities.
The major exceptions are competitive biofuel systems that rely on wastes. In fact, competitive, efficient biofuel waste systems should be encouraged by national and international agencies, particularly in the rural industrial sector in which the savings to the country from the promotion of these industries are significant.
Whereas at present biofuel provides limited, but important, economic potential in the industrial and transport sectors, biofuel systems are still the least-cost and primary option on a financial and economic basis in the residential cooking sector for most developing countries. In fact, the greatest global potential for biofuel programmes could be from energy conservation through improved technological innovation in this sector.
Another study shows that the climate benefit of biofuels (using current production techniques) is limited because of the fossil fuel used in the production of the crop and processing of biomass (Brinkman et al., 2006). However, advanced synfuel hydrocarbons or cellulosic ethanol produced from biomass could provide greater supplies of fuel and environmental benefits compared to current technologies.
It is widely believed that the biofuels industry has a unique role in climate policy because it represents a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Nevertheless, the industry may face challenges in taking full advantage of this potential if CO2 markets do not take into account all emissions related to biofuels production and use. Indeed, the effectiveness of biofuels as a low-carbon alternative depends on how they are produced and how emissions related to land use are managed.
Because technology flows are typically driven by the private sector, the business community can play a critical role in diffusing biofuel technologies to developing countries.
Because of increased patenting and venture capital investments in the advanced biofuels sector, probably only the most advanced developing countries with existing biofuels capacity and innovative strength will be able to forge ahead into second generation biofuel technologies.
Coffee grounds won’t solve the world’s energy problem, Misra said of his work Even if all the coffee grounds in the world were used to make fuel, the amount produced would be less than 1 percent of the diesel used in the United States annually. But our objective is to take waste material and convert it to fuel.” And biodiesel made from grounds has one other advantage, he said: the exhaust smells like coffee.
The amount of coffee produced annually is decreasing
Today, the signs of climate change are plentiful. Average temperatures have risen nearly 2 degrees in some areas over the past 30 years.
Hotter, rainier weather nourishes pests and disease, particularly coffee rust, a fungal plague that’s ascended Colombia’s mountain peaks, which were formerly too chilly for the organism.
Heavy rains damage Arabica’s delicate blossoms—the same blossoms that eventually turn into coffee cherries, whose seeds are coffee beans. As heat and pests climb Colombia’s mountains, “the lower limit at which coffee is grown is starting t go up.
As growers move higher into the mountains, they run into another problem: mountains have tops.
There is much research concerning both the negative effects of coffee drinking as well as the benefits. Much of the press focuses on caffeine; however there are many other not so researched chemicals that contribute to both the negatives and the positives. At the moment coffee is seen as “generally safe”.
Many of the Pro’s and Con’s, from various studies that can easily be found on the Internet, so just get informed and make up your own mind ;)
Coffee with imperfections, such as black or dark brown color, insect damage, spots, bits, from immature fruits, etc., is graded during processing and termed as low-grade coffee beans. These beans comprise about 15–20% of coffee production. On the other side, spent coffee, viz. residues from the instant (soluble) coffee production after extraction and concentration of water solubles, is also an important by-product of the coffee industry, considering that almost 50% of the world coffee production is processed for soluble coffee. Disposal of both by-products is an environmental concern;therefore, they have attracted attention as a source of bioactive compounds. Extracts from both sources have been evaluated for biological activity.
They have shown strong radical-scavenging, antioxidant and anti-tumor activity, although only limited anti-inflammatory and antiallergic action. Their antioxidative properties could be the consequence of the presence of caffeine, trigonelline and chlorogenic acids
Silverskin remnants still attached to the green coffee beans are removed during roasting (Belitz et al., 2009). They can be easily found as a coffee processing by-product in coffee roasting plants and are presently used as fuel or for composting.
Researchers recommended the use of silverskins as functional ingredient, based on the low amount of fats and reducing carbohydrates, high contents of soluble dietary fiber (60%) and marked antioxidant activity.
The latter is probably consequence of the high contents of melanoidins generated during roasting, because silverskin has low contents of free phenol compounds.
Additionally, silverskin supports growth of bifidobacteria in vitro, which might have some beneficial effects,
Coffee Skin, Husk and Pulp
Coffee skin and pulp have a similar composition to that of the husks, viz., protein (7.5-15.0%), fat (2.0-7.0%) and carbohydrates (21-32%).
Coffee husks are composed by the coffee berry outer skin, the pulp and the parchment, mainly resulting from the coffee dry processing. They are rich in carbohydrates (35%), proteins (5.2%), fibers (30.8%) and minerals (10.7%) depending on the manufacturing process.
Direct use of these by-products for animal feed has not been possible due toantiphysiological and antinutritional factors (e.g., tannins and caffeine) present.
However, coffee husks, skin and pulp can be a source of phytochemicals for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Lafarge’s Hima cement plant in Uganda, decided to use surplus coffee husks as a substitute fuel.
Uganda produces large quantities of coffee, which accounts for more than 50% of the country’s total exports Contractors continually deliver clean, dry husks to the cement plant, where they are fed directly into the combustion flame using a feeder system designed and installed by Lafarge.
Fossil fuel consumption has been cut by 30% and the total energy bill has been reduced considerably. The use of an alternative fuel and less truck transport of fuel oil also decreases the quantity of CO2 discharged to the atmosphere, while conserving fossil resources.
The coffee harvest in Brazil, produces the coffee husks that are compressed to a form known as pellets. At the end of this year, the entire production (c. 5.000 tonnes) from this first year, will be used in The Netherlands to generate green electricity at Essent’s Amer power station in Geertruidenberg. If the whole process is successful, there will be a second load of c. 20,000 tonnes. In Brazil there is a potential of 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes of coffee husk pellets available on an annual basis. This is sufficient to provide more than 100,000 households with green electricity for a year.
Coffee is not only about caffeine and there is more to coffee than being “just” a really good drink.
What most people aren’t aware about is that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in our daily diet.
An important family of chemicals present in coffee is called chlorogenic acids. Scientists
are discovering that chlorogenic acids may provide health benefits beyond caffeine’s effects. These molecules make up between 6% and 12% of the chemicals present in green coffee beans, while caffeine is only 1% to 2% of the total.
Chlorogenic acids belong to a group of chemicals called antioxidants, which protect cells against damage from free radical molecules formed inside cells. Free radicals can damage DNA and have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Chlorogenic acids slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal, thus lowering blood sugar levels. Other studies show that they reduce the risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Other beneficial physiological outcomes associated to coffee consumption are the stimulating effects observed on gastrointestinal tract and liver, probably from caffeine, chlorogenic and caffeic acids, inhibition of the onset of liver cirrhosis and alcoholassociated pancreatitis, reduction of the odds of having asthma symptoms and prevention of clinical manifestations of bronchial asthma. Chlorogenic acids also may have other health properties, still being investigated.
Moreover, it has been observed that roasted coffee extract has antibacterial activity against several microorganisms, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus mutans (Daglia et al., 2002; 2007) and several strains of enterobacteria, probably due to the antibacterial activity of several coffee characteristic components, such as caffeic acid, trigonelline, caffeine, chlorogenic acid and protocatechuic acid, as well as of melanoidins generated during the roasting process.
Researchers found that extracts of Robusta coffee had higher antioxidative efficacy than those from
Arabica coffee beans and, also, that the most efficient method for extraction of antioxidants was boiling ground coffee beans in water under elevated pressure.
There is contrasting evidence regarding the contribution of caffeine to the antioxidant capacity of the coffee brew.
While Brezová, Šlebodová, & Staško (2009) found a high antioxidant activity of caffeic acid but not of caffeine, others indicate that caffeine seriously contributes to the antioxidant properties of coffee brew (Vignoli et al., 2011).
Surprisingly, caffeine and cholorogenic acids may have opposing effects in the brain. Researchers have found that chlorogenic acid derivatives stimulate adenosine molecules to bind to brain cells, thus acting contrary to caffeine. So, when you drink coffee, the effects of caffeine and chlorogenic acids on brain cells seem to balance out.
Sleep, Appetite, Mood and Pain
Another interesting finding was recently made by another group of researchers. They discovered that coffee contains tryptophan, a chemical converted by the body into a brain chemical called serotonin that helps regulate sleep, appetite, and mood, and inhibits pain.
When sleep-deprived rats sniff coffee, proteins in their brain cells are activated to protect them from stress-related damage. In other words, chemicals in coffee’s aroma, alone, can relieve stress. “These results may provide a new way of relieving stress and maybe of helping in the treatment of mental disorders related to stress, including depression, autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,” researchers say.
Green Coffee Oil
Green coffee oil is used in cosmetics for its properties maintaining natural skin humidity and might also have a potential as sun protector due to the ultraviolet absorption property of the main fatty acid, linoleic acid.
Experts on the world coffee market often make reference to the “coffee paradox”. A coffee crisis in producing countries with a trend towards lower prices, declining producer incomes and profits with important consequences for the export revenues of leading coffee exporting countries and the living standards of millions of people in developing nations A coffee ‘boom’ in consuming countries with rising retail sales and profits for coffee retailers A widening gap between producer and consumer prices
The world coffee market today is vast, coffee being the world’s second most widely traded commodity after crude oil. World coffee production in 2004 is projected to be around 6.3 million metric tonnes, a reduction from 2003 figures due to stockpiling equivalent to 1.3 million tonnes. Ten years ago the global coffee economy was estimated to be worth some $30 billion, of which producers received $12 billion. Today it is worth around $50 billion with producers receiving a mere $8 billion of that (source Global Exchange, 2004).
Brazil, Columbia and Vietnam are the world’s biggest coffee producers, accounting for around half of global production in 2001. Because of the central importance of coffee exports to their economies, a number of Latin American countries made arrangements before World War II to allocate export quotas so that each country would be assured a certain share of the US coffee market. The first such coffee quota agreement was arranged in 1940 and subsequent agreements were renegotiated in 1968, 1976, and 1983. However due to a shift in the balance of production, participating nations failed to sign a new pact in 1989 and world coffee prices have been in free-fall ever since as production continues to outstrip demand, and a “global coffee crisis” ensued.
"Fair Trade" measures designed to help the struggling farmers only account for only 8 million of the 2.6 billion pounds, or 0.3% of the coffee sold annually in the USA. With an estimated 20 million coffee workers worldwide, developing nations have been hit hard by this global coffee crisis as trade prices have fallen short of production costs. New yield technologies in combination with overproduction, especially by the developing economies of Vietnam and the Ivory Coast, have largely contributed to the crisis. The human cost is demonstrable.
In Latin America tens of thousands of farmers and labourers have begun migrating to look for alternative work as plantations close down. This is not the only toll of overproduction however, as the drive for cheaper, faster growing coffee has led to widespread clearance of the forest cover normally associated with high quality blends. In Vietnam alone, which produces around 11% of the world’s coffee, nearly 1.5 million acres are now under cultivation causing the clearance of vast areas of forest.
Who are the biggest coffee drinkers?
Just as there are big global producers, there are big global consumers, and all the coffee producing nations combined consume less than a quarter of what they produce. As one might expect, there are wide variations in domestic coffee consumption from one nation to the next. Germans consume around 7 kilos of coffee each a year, the Austrians 8, the Dutch 9, the Belgians 6, the Italians 5, the Danes 10, and the Swedes and Finns a mighty 11 kilos per person, well above the European Union average of 5 kilos per person.
Americans and Canadians consume around 4.4 kilos each a year, and further down the scale the tea drinking Irish and British consume around 1.5 and 2.5 kilos per year per person respectively. Many major coffee producers such as Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Vietnam consume less than 0.2 kilos each a year domestically (International Coffee Organization 1997), suggesting that coffee is largely a cash crop. Europe in contrast consumes over a third of all world coffee production, and North America a fifth, although it is quite interesting to note that coffee consumption per person increases in more northerly climes and during the winter months.
What this translates to at the level of the US economy is 108 million coffee consumers spending an approximately $17.9 billion on coffee annually (SCAA 1999 Market Report). A quick calculation suggests that coffee drinkers spend on average $164.71 per year on their favourite stimulant.
The National Coffee Association suggests that 54% of the adult population of the United States drink coffee daily and 25% occasionally (NCA, 2000). Among actual coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is around 3.1 cups of coffee per day. In comparison Italians consume 14 billion espresso coffees annually, and Italians consume approximately 3.7 kilos of coffee per capita and employ over 270,000 as “baristas”. The United States imports around 120 million kilos of coffee a month, the Germans 60 million, the Italians 30 million and the British 15 million.
With all these facts and figures it is safe to assume that our coffee consumption has a major effect on our societies and economies. This can only have profound effects upon our health and behaviour, but what are the effects of coffee on our minds and bodies?
Coffee science begins with the growing process, where many factors influence the overall quality and chemical composition of the raw coffee bean: the location, altitude and weather of the plantation, the composition of the soil and its fertilization, and finally the cultivation, harvesting and drying methods used.
Most of the delightful aromatic character of coffee is the result of the roasting process. From the chemist’s point of view, the coffee beans undergo what is known as Maillard reaction browning—the process by which water and carbon dioxide are released and a reaction between sugars and amino acids results in the formation of the roasted color and flavor. The high temperature and elevated pressure inside the bean trigger a vast number of chemical reactions that alter or create volatile aroma compounds, acids and other critical flavor components.
The overall balance of these components is highly sensitive to the roasting time, temperature and technique—parameters which are under the control of the coffee roaster and which make coffee roasting something of an art as well as a science.
The first phase of roasting is where heat transfer begins to take place; in other words, the raw bean starts to absorb heat as it slowly dries and takes on a yellow color. As the process continues, a pleasant toasted smell begins to develop. In the second roasting phase, the bean puffs up, doubling in size and becoming a light tan color. Next, as the roasting temperature continues to rise, the color deepens and the bean loses weight and becomes more brittle, Its density decreases and CO2 is released, a process that continues for several days after roasting. At higher temperatures and longer roasting times, the volatile aroma compounds responsible for coffee flavor are actually destroyed, rather than created. The roast degree determines the final color and flavor of the bean and is largely a matter of personal preference.
From humble origins in Africa, coffee cultivation wandered east and west, eventually forming a belt roughly bounded by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Growing regions typically offer moderate sunshine and rain, steady temperatures around 70ºF (20ºC), and rich, porous soil. In return the delicate tree yields beans that are an economic mainstay for dozens of countries and about 25 million people—and, among natural commodities, have a monetary value surpassed only by oil. Of the two main coffee trees, arabicas beget the better beans—and about 70 percent of the harvest. The harsher beans of the hardier robusta tree account for about 30 percent.
The delicate balance in those ecosystems is being thrown off kilter. In Colombia, the world’s third-biggest coffee producer, agricultural scientist Peter Baker has watched while record rainfall, increased heat, and frequent plagues have devastated farms across the country’s Andean coffee- growing region. It was 2005 when Baker “started to think seriously that climate change was not just about the future but was already happening.” Today, the signs are plentiful. Average temperatures have risen nearly 2 degrees in some areas over the past 30 years, “especially nighttime minimum temperatures,” says Baker, “a tell-tale signature of [man-made] climate change.” Hotter, rainier weather nourishes pests and disease, particularly coffee rust, a fungal plague that’s ascended Colombia’s mountain peaks, which were formerly too chilly for the organism. Heavy rains damage Arabica’s delicate blossoms—the same blossoms that eventually turn into coffee cherries, whose seeds are coffee beans. As heat and pests climb Colombia’s mountains, “the lower limit at which coffee is grown is starting to go up,” says Baker. As growers move higher into the mountains, they run into another problem: mountains have tops.
There are many stories and legends about how and where coffee was discovered.
It is said that when Maometto, a friar, was feeling ill, archangel Gabriel descended from heaven handing him over a potion deriving directly from Allah. It was dark as the holy stone of Mecca, called “qawa” and able to cure him from his illness.
Another ancient stories narrates of a drink, fountain of ecstasy, able to transport the spirit unto the heavenly spheres.
The most told tale though narrates the story of Kaddy, an arabian shepherd, that bringing his goats to the meadows discovered signs of excitement in his cattle after they had eaten the beans of a particular plant. The shepherd, unable to explain to himself the happened showed the mysterious beans to the eldest of the village. Discovering this “fruit of the devil” the eldest threw the beans into the fire…. The heavenly smell of the roasted beans convinced them though.
They made a bitter and hot drink out of it that could heat the body and free it of tiredness and sleepiness.