A good cup of coffee can be black, hot, freshly brewed, or it can be a frothy latte or a slowly sipped espresso. We love this magic coffee bean. It’s stimulating and satisfying and incredibly popular.
How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee
A Good Cup of Coffee
To make a good cup of coffee, use fresh-roasted coffee beans, freshly ground and freshly brewed. For the best cup of coffee, buy whole beans, and use them within a few weeks. Store the unopened bag of coffee in a cool, dry place. Grind the beans just before brewing, using a fine grind for a vacuum pot, fairly fine grind for auto drip, and coarser grind to use in a coffee press. Start with fresh, good-tasting cold water. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee with 6 ounces of water. Too little coffee won’t make a weaker brew; it will make a bitter brew. If you want your coffee weak, dilute it with hot water after brewing. Use clean equipment, and enjoy the coffee immediately. If it sits on a warming plate it will taste burnt. It can be stored for an hour or two in a thermal carafe.
How to Make Iced Coffee
To make the best iced coffee, brew your coffee double strength and use it hot. Add lots of ice to a cocktail shaker, add the coffee and shake it for ten or twenty seconds. It helps to use a stainless shaker with a built in strainer, but any container will do. You might freeze coffee in an ice cube tray and use the coffee cubes instead of ice. Sweeten the hot coffee before shaking, so the sugar dissolves well. Two tablespoons of heavy cream poured into the shaker will make a rich drink.
How to Make a Cup of Expresso
Note the Reddish Crema
A cup of espresso is made with an espresso machine that forces hot water under pressure through ground coffee. This brews espresso with 10 times as much coffee as the usual cup of coffee. An espresso has a reddish-brown foam called crema that floats on the surface. Espresso can be served plain, or with sugar, milk or cream.
How to Make a Cafe Latte and Cappuccino
Three Cups of Coffee
Specialty coffee drinks, like cafe latte and cappuccino, are very popular. Here are the recipes.
- If you add steamed milk to your espresso, 3 parts milk to 1 part espresso, it is called a café latte.
- If you add 6 ounces of hot water to a shot of espresso, it’s called café américano.
- A cafe au lait is made with equal parts of milk and brewed coffee, instead of espresso.
- Using equal parts espresso, steamed milk and milk froth makes a cappuccino.
- A dollop of hot, foamed milk on top of espresso creates a caffè macchiato.
- Caffe Mocha, or Café Mocha, is a sweet combination of espresso, steamed milk and chocolate.
The Benefits of a Cup of Coffee
Squirrel with a Cup of Coffee
Heaven Help Us
Studies show that there are positive benefits to drinking a cup of coffee. Coffee has 4 times the antioxidants of green tea, which prevents the cell damage caused by free radicals. Coffee reduces the risk of colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s diseaase, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and gout. However, coffee does increase the risk of acid reflux, and may cause magnesium deficiency. No one is sure whether coffee prevents heart disease or causes it.
A cup of coffee naturally contains caffeine, a mild stimulant, which keeps you alert, enhances mood and interferes with sleep. Caffeine relieves pain, and reduces asthma symptoms and migraine headaches. Caffeine is mildly addictive, and may cause withdrawal headaches. Unlike soda beverages, no additional caffeine is added to coffee.
The History of a Cup of Coffee Begins with Dancing Goats
Coffee Tree in Flower
According to legend, coffee was discovered in the ninth century by an Ethopian shepard named Kaldi. He noticed that goats who grazed on wild coffee berries had great bursts of energy and appeared to be dancing. Then Arabians made coffee popular and were the first to roast the beans. They called coffee “the wine of the bean.” The word coffee probably comes from the name Kaffa, the province in Ethiopia where it was grown.
Arabs tried to keep the coffee business for themselves. They exported boiled coffee beans, but never allowed coffee plants or fertile beans to be exported. Around the middle 1600s, Baba Budan, a holy man from India, traveled to Mecca on a pilgrimage, where he first enjoyed coffee. He smuggled out seven coffee beans wrapped around his stomach, and planted them successfully in India.
Coffea Arabica Plant
and Coffee Berries
When the Dutch traders sailed to India in the 17th century, they brought coffee back to Europe. There it was marketed as a cure for headaches, consumption, dropsy, grout and scurvy. Monks also ate the beans whole to stay awake during their prayers.
In other countries, coffee was available only by prescription from an apothecary. In Italy, a cup of coffee was known as the Devil’s Cup, until Pope Benedict VII baptized coffee beans, so that coffee could be enjoyed without guilt. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the Coffee Cantata in honor of his favorite beverage.
Coffeehouse in Palestine 1900
Coffee was already popular by 1650 when the first coffee house in London opened at Oxford University. There were more than 2000 coffeehouses in London by 1700, where physicians, actors, musicians, lawyers and clergy gathered for conversation, politics and doing business. Coffee Houses were known as Penny Universities, because the price of a cup of coffee brought the patron a lot of information. The famous insurance partnership Lloyd’s of London began as a coffeehouse for merchants, sailors and insurance underwriters. Other coffeehouses evolved into banks, newspapers and stock exchanges.
The coffee plant is an everygreen shrub or small tree with dark green glossy leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers. The oval coffee berry is small and green. After 7 to 9 months it ripens to yellow and then red. When it is dried in the sun, it turns black.
Once ripe, coffee berries are picked by hand, processed, and dried. The beans from different coffee crops and different countries are carefully blended before roasting to create a new and interesting balance of acidity, body and aroma.
Roasted Coffee Beans
Roasting the coffee beans is the next step to create a cup of coffee. Roasting turns the beans dark and gives the coffee its flavor and aroma. Lighter roasts have more caffeine, and a stronger, slightly bitter flavor. Darker roasts are smoother with less fiber content and more sweetness. A darker roast offers a cup of coffee with intense flavor and body. The roasts shown in the image on the right are green bean, light roast, cinnamon, medium roast, high roast, city, full city, French roast and Italy roast.
Finally, the roasted beans are ground and brewed with water to make the cup of coffee.
The Difference Between Coffee Beans
Cup of Coffee Black
Coffee beans come from only two commercial species of the coffee plant, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica grows in the mountainous subtropical climates of Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia and Asia. It is the source of all the world’s best coffee and accounts for three-fourths of all coffee grown.
The Robusta species tends to be bitter, but it resists disease and is easier to grow. Commercial coffee companies use Robusta as an inexpensive substitute for Arabica in coffee blends. Kraft, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble and Sara Lee, which are the four largest roaster companies, use 50% of all Robusta coffee crops.
Coffee beans from different countries have unique flavors. Columbian coffee from Columbia, Java coffee from Java and Kona coffee from Hawaii are called varietals, subspecies named after the region where it is grown.
Coffee Is Big Business Around the World
A Cup of Coffee for Energy
Coffee beans are big business. Coffee is the top agricultural export for 12 countries. It is the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export, measured by value. Coffee is a vital cash crop for over one hundred million people in developing Third World countries who depend on coffee as their primary source of income. Coffee has become the main export of African countries like Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia as well as Central and South American countries like Colombia and Guatemala. Costa Rica produces some of the best coffees of all.
What Is Shade Grown Coffee
The traditional method of growing coffee under the shade of existing trees is being replaced by sun cultivation. Grown in full sun, coffee berries ripen faster and bushes have higher yields. However, sun cultivation requires the clearing of trees and the use of fertilizer and pesticides. Sun cultivation brings environmental problems like habitat destruction and soil depletion. Shade grown coffees are said to taste better.
What Is Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade coffee is coffee produced under a certification program. Growers saw coffee prices collapse worldwide from 1989 to 2004, to historic lows. The coffee price collapse was caused by an oversupply of cheap, low-quality coffee from newly-planted growing regions that depressed the market price below the point of profitability
As a remedy, the Fair Trade Certification Program was proposed to provide a living wage to small coffee farmers. Coffee labeled “fair trade” guarantees coffee growers a negotiated pre-harvest price. Fair trade has significantly improved the quality of life for small-scale coffee farmers, and provides credit, training and stable living conditions. Only about ½ of 1% of coffee produced is fair trade, but fair trade has benefited all coffee producers by supporting local coffee prices. The philosophy of many coffee lovers is that fair trade coffee makes the best cup of coffee.
The Gourmet Coffee Experience
The origin of the coffee bean and its roasting give the beverage a unique flavor. Coffee connoisseurs, much like wine connoisseurs, search for the best coffee. They pay attention to the aroma and fragrance. Coffee can have a floral flavor and a fruity citrus or berry taste. Experts savor the bright tang or, in some coffees, the dryness. They analyze how it feels in the mouth. Then they evaluate the aftertaste or finish, which is the taste or bouquet that remains in the mouth after the coffee is swallowed.