- Food and Cooking»
Value the Flavor and the Work - Coffee
It's a bean found in a cherry! Interesting!
The roasted seeds of the coffee plant are called coffee bean and are found in the so-called coffee sherries. These trees grow in over 70 countries all over the world, but especially in Latin America South- and Southeast Asia and Africa. The green, thus unroasted, beans are one of the most traded agricultural products around the world.
And apparently I am not the only addict; coffee is the most consumed beverage in the World!
While it's not a medicine like tea can be, it has a vital role in many societies. We Americans usually enjoy it as a vitalizing beverage that gives us 'energy' for long day. But this vitalizing effect discovered in the northeastern part of Ethiopia and spreading into the Arabian World also turned into a ritual that belongs into anything from forming and strengthening friendships to creating a relaxing atmosphere for business meetings. It even had some religious purposes at one point and time. But for us serving it is usually a welcoming gesture.
Despite having been banned by the Ethiopian Church and even the Ottoman Turks for a while, its popularity grew. One of the most common species are the Coffea Arabica and the Coffea Canephora. Canephora gained its popularity because if its resistance against the coffee leaf rust that devastated many coffee plantations.
To achieve the different flavors, the seeds are roasted to various degrees and then either sold whole (to be freshly ground) or as coffee grounds. Some people like my Mom will actually brew the coffee with grounds directly added to the water. She swears it takes less grounds and tastes better.
Coffee is such a valuable item that it was reported in 2004 as the top agricultural product exported by twelve different countries! But there are controversies concerning the impact of coffee cultivation on the environment and its impact on human health.
It has been found that the methods of brewing it impact these health effects!
More than just a Beverage
For me coffee is more than just a beverage.
Yes, it kept me awake when those long shifts working Frankfurt Airport as Border Patrol and the long driving back and forth seemed to mold into each other. Or when we were working long shifts in exercises or during deployments and it was the only thing that seemed to keep us functioning besides our sense for duty.
But coffee has so many more uses!
A good cup of coffee is a good start for a day and reminds me of the good things out there. It is a great way to 'hang out' with friends and talk about important or unimportant things.
If I do invite anybody to my house and serve a cup of coffee, it is symbolic; not only through the rare invitation but as kind of a ...peace offering. I don't share my 'good' coffee with just anybody!
After a long and often stressful day a cup of good and flavorful coffee enjoyed on my back porch is the perfect way to relax, reflect and enjoy the peace!
Coffee seems to bring people together and offers a reason to start conversations. I am honestly almost disappointed if I go somewhere for some training or business meeting and no coffee is offered! Especially if it promises to be a boring one!
But it can't be just any coffee. The lousy stuff some fast food restaurants offer is right there with the watered down lousy beer some Americans seem to favor. Or the soapy tasting chocolate an American company sells as 'kisses'.
I am a little spoiled! I have grown up with German coffee and thus like mine black to the eye and a little stronger. But being a bit of a sweet tooth I do add flavored creamers to it; and not just two!
Some of the best coffees I had were actually sold by some truck stops. Maybe because their coffee doesn't stand the chance to sit there long enough to be burned to a bitter brew.
Some of the worst were created by 'Archie', a former boss of mine in the Air Force. I guess somebody forgot to tell Archie that making fresh coffee does not mean to add more grounds to the old ones until the filter can't handle the mass anymore. His coffee, we joked, needed to be cut with a sharp knife to allow consumption; but had to be one of the most effective methods to be able to stay up for hours or even days at the time I have ever used!
I still think he should have been in a different business! His coffee was strong enough to awaken the dead; even if they lost their lives during the times of the old Egyptians!
Coffee is a wonderful brew if done with care. Many people worked for bringing it on our tables and allowing us to enjoy it. So why ruin it by burning it to death for hours in lousy coffee machines. It doesn't take long to make it fresh!
Like so many other things in our lives we have taken it for granted and forgot how much work other people put into it so we can drink our daily cup!
So the next time when I will enjoy a cup of my favorite brew on my back porch, I will take a moment to thank whoever made this wonderful creation possible!