History of coffee

  • 1592
    The first description of a coffee plant was made in 1592 by Prospero Alpini and, a century later, Antoine de Jussieu (1713) called it Jasminum arabicanum (he considered it a jasmine). It was Linnaeus (1737) who classified it into a new genus, the genus Coffea, with only one known species: C. arabica. Today, 103 species are recognized, however, only two are responsible for 99% of world trade: Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora. They are native to Africa, or Madagascar (including the Comoros). Coffee beans are the seeds of a fruit popularly called cherry. These cherries are composed of an outer cover, the exocarp, which determines the color of the fruit; inside there are different layers: the mesocarp, a gum rich in sugars adhered to the seeds is known as mucilage; the endocarp is a yellowish layer that covers each grain, called parchment; the epidermis, a very thin layer known as the silver film; and the grains or seeds, the endosperm, known as green coffee, which are the ones that toast to prepare different types of coffee.
  • Commercial species and their origin
    Commercial species and their origin
    Coffea canephoraPierre exFroehne has a wide geographical distribution and is found wild in Africa, as in Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and Northwest Tanzania and Angola. Approximately, 35% of the coffee sold in the world is of this species, known as Robusta. The varieties of Robusta, usually, have small organs (leaves, fruits, flowers and grains) and are known as Conilon, Koulliou or Quillou. The tropical lowlands of Africa, allowed this species to develop over the centuries resistance to numerous pests and diseases. It is therefore more resistant to many of the diseases of coffee, especially rust (Hemileia vastatrix), and this characteristic determined its cultivation in the world at the beginning of the last century. It is generally grown at altitudes below 1000 m. It is cross-pollinated, so that for its cultivation several compatible genotypes should be sown. It is not grown in Colombia. Its caffeine content is greater than 2%; Your cup is more bitter and flavored with cereal. More recent research has determined that the Robusta species is one of the oldest species to originate more than 5 million years ago; there are even those who consider that it can be about 25 million years old. Coffea arabica L. es actualmente la principal especie del género, y constituye más del 60% del café que se comercializa en el mercado internacional. Es una especie autógama, es decir, se autopoliniza o autofertiliza. Su centro de origen se encuentra en el Sudeste de Etiopía, el Sur del Sudán y el Norte de Kenya. Es una especie tetraploide (tiene 44 cromosomas), que proviene de formas antiguas de dos especies diploides Coffea eugenioides (22 cromosomas), probablemente como madre, y C. canephora (22 cromosomas), como padre. Estudios científicos la catalogan como una especie relativamente “joven”, que hizo su aparición hace menos de 1 millón de años. Se considera un café de altura, que se cultiva bien en temperatura de 18 a 23 0C. En Colombia las plantaciones están concentradas en altitudes que oscilan entre los 1200 y los 1800 m.s.n.m. el contenido de cafeína de los granos está entre 1,0 y 1,4% en base a materia seca, y es menos amargo que la otra especie cultivada. Es el café de mejor calidad en taza.
  • Coffee consumption
    Coffee consumption
    Coffee consumption began in Ethiopia with the species C. arabica. In the beginning, infusions were prepared with the leaves and fruits, while the grains were, and still are in part of Africa, chewed. It is likely that the cherries mixed in the infusions or thrown into the fire allowed them to feel a greater aroma and a better taste and start modern consumption. It was the Yemenis who popularized it and with respect to the beginnings of its use numerous legends have been disseminated, of which the most widespread is the one that tells a young pastor named Kaldi. This shepherd one day noticed in his flock, a strange behavior: his goats jumped and ran infected with an overflowing euphoria. Seeing this strange behavior, curiosity led Kaldi to observe that animals changed their behavior after eating the leaves and fruits of a bush that produced small red cherries. The fable says that the little shepherd tasted the fruits and soon felt himself possessed by a strange joy that drove them to sing and dance. Kaldi brought some branches and fruits to the top of a convent located near his grazing field. He told the abbot what happened with his flock. The superior of the convent accidentally threw the fruits into the fire and it was the first time that the man experienced the aroma of coffee. The most recent versions of the legend indicate that the shepherd was originally from Ethiopia, while the oldest suggest that Kaldi was grazing in the mountains of the Arabian Peninsula. That is why until the middle of the last century coffee was considered to be originally from Arabia, which makes it consistent with other of the best-known legends that explain the origin of drinking, such as Shadhiliya and Omar.
  • Name
    It seems that the primitive Arabs called Bunn the cherry and the bush, Quishr the pulp and Bunchum the drink. Later, and to prepare the drink in the form of wine, the Arabs gave the coffee the name of qahwah, generic of the wines, this degenerated into cahueh. The Turks took it to call it cahve, the etymological origin that the Royal Spanish Academy gives to the word. According to the encyclopedia of Islam, Kahwah is an Arabic word of uncertain etymology, which is the basis of the word coffee, it was spread through the Turkish word Kahweh, with different spellings according to the languages but with the same root as: coffeees castellano , Portuguese and French; coffea in Latin (its scientific name); coffee in English and Kaffee, in German, Swedish and Danish.
  • Dispersion of coffee in the world
    Dispersion of coffee in the world
    The role played by the people of Muslim religion and culture, particularly the Arabs, in the dissemination of coffee consumption and cultivation was very important. Many authors consider that the dispersion of coffee to Arabia occurred between the eighth and the thirteenth century. It was the Arabs who, by the fifteenth century, first consumed the product regularly. The coffee drink soon spread to Mecca, Medina and Syria, and from there to Aden and Cairo, encompassing the entire Muslim world around 1510. It reached Turkey by the year 1554. The greater consumption generated an expansion in its production. In the fourteenth century, the Arabs took the plant to Yemen, where the first plantations that generated a great economic return appeared. The Arab monopoly of coffee production was based on the prohibition of the export of seeds and the maintenance of a careful secrecy about cultivation techniques. As a result of this strategy, the Yemeni port of Mocha, on the Red Sea, became the main coffee trading center until the 17th century. In the early seventeenth century, coffee consumption was taken from Turkey to Europe. He entered the port of Venice in Italy and then went to Holland, France, England and Germany. Consumption spread throughout Europe and coffee establishments emerged. Then, in 1689 in Boston, United States, the first place for coffee was inaugurated. The expansion of coffee cultivation in different continents was initiated by the Dutch to avoid having to depend on the Arabs. The Dutch managed to access the seeds and they were the ones who developed the first intensive crops in India and in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 17th century, and in Indonesia at the end of that century and the beginning of the 18th century. The merchant Nicolás Witizen, after many attempts, managed to obtain some seeds that took the old Batavia (now Jakarta, on the island of Java in Indonesia). The coffee trees planted belonged to the variety known, later, as Typical. In 1711 the first shipment of 894 lbs. It was sent to Amsterdam. In this way Holland came to dominate the world production of coffee. By a peace treaty, in 1713, France received its first Dutch-owned coffee tree the following year and arrived at the court of King Louis XIV, who entrusted its cultivation to the eminent botanist Antonio de Jussieu, at the Botanical Garden in Paris. It is believed that the Dutch were also the ones who introduced the crop to South America in 1714 in Dutch Guiana (now Suriname). The first coffee bushes arrived at the islands of the Caribbean at the beginning of the 18th century, carried by the French, and from there passed to Brazil and Colombia, where it was consolidated as an important crop in the 19th century. In the second half of that century coffee rust, a disease caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, devastated coffee crops in Ceylon, then the world's largest producer of arabica, which favored the South American countries as suppliers of the drink in the world. Also, as a consequence of rust, the cultivation of Robustas coffees, which have resistance to this disease, began at the end of the 19th century.
  • Coffee processing
    Coffee processing
    In the eighteenth century, in the context of the Industrial Revolution, and especially in the nineteenth century, the greatest advances in coffee processing were generated due to the rise of mechanical methods of roasting, grinding and preparation. At the beginning of the 20th century, conservation methods and packaging were also developed. Among the many inventions patented at the time are, for example, soluble coffee and vacuum packaging for coffee. The industrialization of coffee had begun. These advances allowed the expansion of their consumption throughout the twentieth century to develop. More recently, and thanks to the development of the segment of coffee shops in the United States, coffee consumption returned to one of its most important attributes, that of being a social drink, positioning it among the consumers of the new generations. The consumption of coffee has not been alien to social and political phenomena of transcendence. Revolutions have been detonated around coffee, and cooperation schemes have also been designed. Coffee is, in short, much more than a drink.