Coffee

Coffee the beverage that history loves

Around the time of A.D 850 legend has it that a lone shepherd and his flock happened upon a strange new plant that was growing upon the slopes of lonely hillside. Before the shepherd could intervene some of his herd had started to chomp away at this newly discovered delicacy. After about a quarter of an hour the shepherd began to notice that the entire flock were acting in an extremely lively manner. They appeared to be not only very alert but even hyperactive. Now the shepherd being slightly weary and more than a little tired decided that he also should sample the berries and see what, if any effect they would have on him. He secretly hoped that the dramatic effect that he had observed the berries to have on his greedy flock of sheep would also be his experience. Just as had happened with his herd, he too started to feel the benefits and in a matter of minutes he also [pardon the pun] was “extremely full of beans”. A few hours passed and along came a wandering monk. The herder proceeded to tell him of the plants amazing qualities but he was immediately scolded for his outlandish ways and foolhardy behaviour. After he had finished telling the shepherd just what a sinner he had been the monk went on his way but not before he had hidden a little something in his bottom of his backpack.

Back at the monastery the monks decided to try this new and exciting substance. Soon the endless hours of praying were endured with the greatest of ease. Coffee, the drink had been revealed to the world. Its widespread use then took a grip in the Ethiopian lands before then migrating on to the Arabian outlands. Here it was to be held for many years as a sacred substance but was eventually to be unlawfully exported by a merchant called Baba Budan. Word of its qualities were soon to spread and within a few years coffee was to emerge as one of the most valued commodities of all time. Now would you believe that each year we drink an amazing four billion cups and there are those among us who would cry at the thought of starting their day without it.

Although coffee is mainly known as a sleep suppressant there are those who consider coffee to have many health benefits. It is thought that people who suffer from asthma and partake of the beverage have at least 25% less symptoms which may be due to a substance in coffee called theophylline. This is known as a bronchodilator and quite simply it is thought to help those who suffer with the disease to breath with a little more ease. Drinking coffee on a daily basis is also thought to help lower your chances of developing colon cancer by a figure also in the region of about 25%. This may be due to the fact that coffee helps to keep you regular. Coffee can do more than just help you get through your day!

Its curious that the vast majority of folk have no idea of the different tastes and delights that this king of all drinks has to offer us. One of the swiftest growing trends of the last few years has to be the rising popularity of buying coffee via the internet. Never before have we been able to so easily get hold of such a large and voluptuous variety of blends, tastes and tantalising aromas from all over the world. With the aid of the wonderful web, trekking around the local neighbourhood to try and find some new exciting coffee blends has became a thing of the past. Sitting at home I can now search out an almost infinite variety of coffees from all over the world and order them at the click of a mouse. I tend to place numerous orders via the web and I always make a point of recording blend, country, and from exactly whom I purchased.

Now you know the history of this magical bean I hope that if in the days to come you are thinking of visiting your local coffee shop you recall the information you have read on this website and make the most of this wonderful drink. Go on and try some new varieties. Not only will you impress your friends, your tastebuds will be thrilled as well.

Latte or Cappuccino?

Coffee Five Ways!

coffe makers, cioffe grinders, coffee brewing, coffee

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Coffee has five primary ways of being brewed. Each method has brewing variables – introduction of water, brewing temperature, and separating the brewed liquor from the coffee grounds. These five methods are called Turkish brewing, concentrate brewing, percolating, drip brewing, and French Press brewing.

“Turkish” or “Greek” Coffee

Turkish coffee or kahve is the traditional name is made in small containers directly on the flame with water and finely ground kahve comes to a boil. Often times it is brewed up with sugar already introduced. In some traditions they will pour off a little into each cup and then bring it to a second boil, pouring the rest off into each cup insuring an even distribution of grounds. In some regions they serve the kahve with added spice which is usually cardamom. The coffee is not filtered from the liquor which leaves a thick pungent and muddy brew. The mud settles to the bottom of the tiny demitasse cups the coffee is served in. In many countries they read the coffee mud after you have drank your coffee and tell you your future.

Concentrate Brewing

Concentrate brewing is very popular in Latin America and other parts of the world. It is beginning to make a come back in the U.S.. Concentrate brewing takes large amounts of coffee that is brewed with small amounts of water to brew a concentrate. To make a cup of coffee you mix some of the concentrate with hot water. The concentrate is brewed either hot or cold. When it is brewed cold you must let the coffee sit for at least a day. This method creates a mild light-bodied coffee with little aroma and a little acidity with a muted flavor.

Percolating

This procedure involves a continuous brewing of the coffee grounds using boiling water which then turns to boiling coffee liquor brewing over the grounds. This method is practical but is an insult to the coffee bean. Brewing with boiling water is bad enough, then boiling the liquor is asking for a thin, bitter and tarry coffee.

Though this produces an awful cup of coffee many people still prefer percolation. If its for you then more power to you!

Auto drip

This is the most popular way to brew coffee in the U.S.A. Pouring hot water over grounds in a filter and letting the brew drip out the bottom, simple. Drip brewing can produce an excellent cup of coffee if the proper equipment is used. One of the biggest issues with auto drip machines is they don’t brew at the right temperature. Bunn is one of the few companies which calibrate their machines to the proper temperature. If you have a good auto drip brewing machine then the next hurdle to tackle is the filter. Paper filters can deposit a flavor in the coffee and also do not allow a lot of the coffee oils and organic compounds through. A gold-plated reusable filter is the perfect option for drip brewing. It will not deposit a taste in the coffee and doesn’t trap as much of the coffee’s essence as paper filters do.

French Press or Press Pot

French Pres brewing gives you complete control. It is more labor intensive than auto drip the brewing variables can be better controlled. Coarsely ground coffee is placed in a glass carafe. The hot water is then poured over the grounds. When the brewing is complete the top is placed on and a plunger that consists of a metal mesh plate is pressed down pushing the grounds to the bottom. The coffee liquor is on top ready to be poured off. The mesh filter allows the oils and fine coffee particles through without a problem. Also because a coarser grind is required a longer brewing time is required. A general rule of thumb is four minutes for a French press. This direct contact of the grounds to water allows a more complete, controllable, and even extraction. Even with the coarse grind though a coarse grind will still produce some fine particles. A cup of French-pressed coffee will be fuller, more body, and more flavor. It will also have sediment on the bottom of the cup.

Espresso or Cappucino – How to add some “oomph” into your cuppa!

” Oomph is the intricate inner feeling of that touch of power, unexplained yet real, that comes with the drinking of coffee”

I had been a long term tea drinker, preferring tea to any other beverage for years, until one day, I had a new assistant. I was working as a dealer representative for stocks and shares at that time, and that means in a really stressful environment, being in the trading room all the time. So taking some time off to catch a cuppa and to be back to trading and watching the trading screens for the best prices was the perfect break anyone could hope for.

My new assistant was a young lady in her mid twenties, and it was interesting to see her prepare her drink.

No, she wasn’t a tea drinker like me. Instead, she was a coffee fan, perhaps even an addict to coffee, you may say. On her first day at work, she took out of her handbag three packs of instant coffee 3 in 1 – namely instant coffee, sugar and non-dairy creamer, and then proceeded to empty the three packs into one cup,adding hot water, making a strong coffee. She wasn’t through yet, because she also opened another pack of chocolate powder and sprinkled the chocolate powder on to her hot coffee, creating a tremendous aromatic smell that pervaded the trading room.

That was some “oomph” in her coffee.

After a period of three months, I found I was suddenly drinking coffee myself and wasn’t a pure tea drinker anymore. It was a subtle conversion process, and soon I found I really need that coffee in the afternoon trading session.

Now, looking back, I have learnt a lot of techniques to add more “oomph” to my cup of coffee.

One way is to enhance the taste with some special add-on ingredients.

My most popular add-on ingredient is powdered ginseng. Ginseng is the traditional chinese herb which is a root, and american ginseng is preferred to korean or chinese ginseng. This herb makes one alert when taken, and is normally taken to strengthen one’s immune system or body. You can get the ginseng powder from the Natural Herb Store or in the form of capsules that you can empty into a cuppa when you need the “oomph”.

Be reminded that the ginseng root powder carries a somewhat bitter taste. So don’t equate quantity with more “oomph”. You just add sufficient to give you the enhanced aroma and the “oomph” you need.

Another way is to add the “tongkat ali” root powder, which may be slightly harder to obtain. This root is from an original plant in Malaysia and is a well researched herbal root with aphrodiasic features. The aborigines of the tropical jungles of Malaysia use this to enhance their “maniless” and this they prove by having big families. Commercially, you can get a bottle of this Tongkat Ali powder under the brand name “Power Root” throughout the world. Just add a small pinch and you will find the difference in your taste and feel the subsequent well-being.

Now you can have that extra edge and “oomph” when you next take your coffee, irregardless whether it is an espresso or a latte.

How To Select A Coffee Roaster

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If you have decided to roast your own coffee then your first port of call will be to consider how to select a coffee roaster that is right for you. This decision is probably one of the hardest coffee-related choices you’ll have to make – there’s nothing worse than buying the wrong kind of roaster for your needs.

We’re going to be primarily looking at automated custom coffee bean roasters for the purposes of this article. But, it’s worth noting that you can roast your own coffee beans fresh at home without having to buy a roasting machine.

It is possible to roast beans in or on the stove, on a barbeque or fire or even, sometimes, in a popcorn popper. But, if you take your home roasting seriously and want some help with the process (the do it yourself approach can take a lot more time and effort) then a proper roasting machine may be your best option.

So, why do people roast their own beans at home? Well, it’s basically all about freshness and the quality of the roast you will ultimately get. If you buy green coffee beans – i.e. beans that are unroasted – you can simply roast them at home when you need to use them in batches so they’ll be ultra fresh. Green coffee beans are cheaper and last longer than ready roasted beans into the bargain. By the way, more information on bean roasting can be found here: http://www.coffee-n-beans.com/roasters.html

The ability to roast your own beans is a desirable must with many coffee aficionados – you can do away with stale coffee, get the level of roast you want when and where you want it and save yourself some money into the bargain!

In very simple terms there are two main types of machine to consider when you’re deciding how to select a coffee roaster which are Fluid Bed/Air Roasters and Drum Roasters.

Fluid Bed/Air Roasters

If you want to roast your own coffee beans at home then the first thing you should look at is getting hold of a standard fluid bed based roaster. These machines are small, can be compact and are primarily designed for small-medium home use. So, they will roast your beans for you fairly quickly and with minimal fuss – you don’t have to stand over them for example, as you would if you were home roasting on the stove top.

These kinds of roasters kind of work like popcorn makers in that they use hot air during the roast process. You can see how the roast is progressing in most cases so you can control it more effectively and you will sometimes also be given pre-set roasts to choose from in any case. If you’re a home roasting ‘newbie’ then this kind of machine may suit you best as you will get a feel for the whole process as you go along – you can always upgrade to a bigger and more complex roaster at a later date when you have more experience. These machines are also cheaper than other options and are relatively easy to use in the kitchen.

There are a couple of downsides with this kind of roaster, however. You will find that some models won’t roast that much coffee at once and will burn out if you use them too often. Some models also don’t have such great controls or pre-sets (some don’t have any) – so it may take a while for you to get used to using the machine if this is the case.

Drum Roaster

If the option of a fluid bed roaster doesn’t seem quite right to you when you’re thinking about how to select a coffee roaster then you could also look at drum roasting as an alternative. Drum roasters were once only seen in coffee shops and stores that roasted their own coffee beans but, nowadays, it’s real easy to buy machines for domestic use.

Drum roasting machines can basically roast more beans at once – in most cases – than fluid bed machines as they are bigger. Most will work on a convection or conduction method. With this kind of machine you place your beans in a drum, close it up, set it running and wait until the roast is done.

This is more of a pro machine – although they are designed for use at home – simply because they can be more complex to operate than fluid bed roasters. But, the majority of true coffee fans will prefer this method over time as it is held to produce better results in coffee taste terms.

The downsides with many drum roasters is that they don’t have a window so you can’t always look inside them as you can with most fluid bed roasters. So, you may have to rely on your sense of smell or hearing (as you listen to the coffee bean cracks!) to work out when your roast is perfectly done. This is one of the reasons why these machines may not suit ‘newbie’ roasters to start off with.

Some of these drum machines can also give off a lot of smoke so you may need to sort out adequate ventilation or even do your roasting outside if this is the case. And, as you might expect you’ll pay more for drum roasters than for fluid bed machines. At the end of the day you’ll need to think long and hard about how confident you are with the home roasting process – if you haven’t roasted at home before then you may be better off starting off with a fluid bed machine but if you feel more confident and need the extra functionality then a drum roaster may suit you better.

Whichever type of machine you choose to buy do remember that it’s absolutely vital to read some user reviews on the Internet before you buy a roaster as these will tell you stuff the manufacturer won’t. These reviews are written by people who have used these machines and they will give you a real good idea of the pros and cons of any machine from people that have used them regularly.

Some example tips to look out with for fluid bed roasters include:

– How well do the programs (if there are any) work?
– How easy is it to use and what kind of functions does it have?
– How well made is the roaster?
– How evenly does it roast?
– How well can you see into the roasting chamber?
– How noisy is the machine?
– How easy is it to clean the machine/parts?
– What happens to the chaff?

Some example tips to look out with for drum roasters include:

– How well do the programs (if there are any) work?
– How easy is it to use and what kind of functions does it have?
– Does it produce a lot of smoke?
– Can you see inside the drum from the outside?
– Does the machine get too hot?
– What happens to the chaff?
– How easy is it to clean the machine/parts?

A Brief History of Espresso

Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business invented Espresso at the turn of the century. Luigi Bezzera was simply trying to figure out a way to brew coffee faster. He figured if he could just add pressure to the brewing process it would speed things up. Thus the “Fast Coffee Machine” was created. His idea of a fast cup of coffee turned out much better than he had planned, what he ended up with is a better, fuller tasting cup of strong coffee, as well as a much faster process. He found that the quicker more efficient brewing method allowed for the quality of the beans to be extracted as opposed to over extracting he had previously experienced. The term “Espresso” means fast in italian, hence the term.

It wasn’t until later when Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights from Mr. Bezzera for the espresso machine that it became popular. Pavoni was extremely successful in marketing the product and probably changed the way people drink coffee from then on. Just look around! Coffee and Espresso shops are popping up everywhere, even in the U.S. it has become not only popular for the delicious beans, but has given us a new place to socialize.

Espresso Timeline:

In 1901 Luigi Bezzera filed a patent for the espresso machine that contained a boiler and four “groups”. Each group could take different size filters that contained the coffee. Boiling water was forced through the coffee and into a cup. Ambrogio Fumagelli says that this was the birth of (fast) espresso coffee.

In 1903 Luigi Bezzera’s patent was then purchased by Desiderio Pavoni and put to market in a big way.

In 1905 The Pavoni company begins manufacturing the espresso machines soley based on Bezzera’s patent.

In 1927 First espresso machine was installed in the United States. It was a La Pavoni Espresso Machine installed at Regio’s

in New York.

In 1938 Cremonesi designed a piston pump that forced hot water through the coffee. It was installed at Achille Gaggia’s

coffee bar.

In 1946 Gaggia begins manufacturing the commercial piston machine. Resulting foam or cream layered coffee or cafe’.