10 Fun Facts About Coffee
A coffee bean is the seed of a little red fruit, called a coffee cherry. There are two coffee seeds in each cherry. A drink made from just the fruit of the coffee cherry is becoming more popular, called cascara tea.
Coffee was believed to be discovered around the 9th century in Ethiopia or Yemen. While the exact history of its discovery is unknown, several legends exist, including one about a goat-herder noticing his herd getting hyper after eating some red berries.
The history of coffee as a brewed beverage began in Yemen, and the global coffee trade began through the port city of Mocha. Although Yemen monopolized the coffee trade for some time, selling only coffee beans and not live plants, Dutch traders eventually smuggled live coffee plants from Mocha to the Indonesian island of Java. Mocha Java is still a familiar term for coffee blends today.
Coffee is now grown around the world in the “coffee belt” between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The soil, climate, altitude and other growing conditions of the area all affect the quality and flavor of the coffee grown there. Every cup of coffee is unique!
Most coffee around the world is still grown on small family farms. Coffee farming is very labor intensive and can be a challenging livelihood. Sustainable coffee sourcing involves creating partnerships with coffee producers that benefit the farmers, the land and the quality of the coffee.
Turkish coffee resembles some of the oldest coffee traditions. Very finely ground coffee is boiled in a small brass pot called a cezve, and it is served unfiltered. Many Middle Eastern and Southeastern European countries prepare coffee in this way.
In Ethiopia, a coffee ceremony is a common gesture of hospitality, and it begins with roasting green coffee beans in a pan over a fire. The coffee is often served with popcorn or peanuts. All around the world, coffee is prepared differently, but it is almost always used as a way to bring people together.
Roasting coffee creates a chemical reaction in the coffee bean that caramelizes sugars and turns fat into aromatic oils. Different amounts of roasting can bring out different flavors and aromas. We proudly serve Counter Culture coffee roasted in Durham.
Steaming milk breaks down complex milk sugars (lactose) into simpler ones (glucose and galactose) which actually taste sweeter to our tongue. That’s one reason why steamed milk is such a pleasant accompaniment to a shot of espresso.
There are thousands of volatile compounds in roasted coffee that create aroma and flavor. The variety of flavor notes that can be detected in coffee is vast, ranging from all types of fruits, florals, chocolates, and nuts to grains, spices, savory and earthy flavors, and more. Growing, processing, roasting, and brewing all impact the flavors that end up in our cup.
Here at Apt. N, the history, science, and culture surrounding coffee fascinate us. We are always learning, and we want to share what we learn with you. We will be diving deeper into these topics and more in our new monthly blog! We hope you follow along and learn something you can share with a friend over your next cup of coffee.