There are varying legends on how coffee was first discovered, what we do know is that coffee’s early uses held a mystical and spiritual importance among many cultures Initially, coffee was prepared and consumed as part of religious ceremonies, Monks used it to stay awake during periods of prayer and to attain heightened states of consciousness. So, we have evolved from only a handful of spiritual seekers consuming this beverage to today where hundreds of millions of people every day throughout the world drink coffee upon waking up in the morning.
Coffee trees and cherries
Coffee beans are not actually beans but are the seeds of the coffee cherries, a sweet edible fruit that grows on trees. Each cherry contains either 2 seeds (the females), or 1 seed (the male) also referred to as a peaberry.
When coffee is processed, the seeds are separated from the fruit and then dried. Once the seed is properly dried it can be safely stored for months and even years. But, once roasted it has a very limited life and needs to be consumed within a week to obtain the maximum amount of potency and health benefits. Roasted Coffee is a fresh living food!
Coffee - The Roasting Process
There are over 1500 chemical reactions that take place during the coffee roasting process. The seeds are completely transformed from their green, dried, inert state to their fresh roasted alive state where they can be assimilated by our bodies. During this roasting process, the seeds have become a pharmacological resource that has the ability, when consumed fresh, to benefit our brains and bodies in ways we have not yet even begun to understand!
Roasting Coffee is a lot like making popcorn. The seeds are heated and after awhile the seeds smoke and pop, or crack. There are two cracks, when the louder second crack begins, the heat is turned off and the cooling process begins.
After the roasted coffee seeds are cooled, there is a period of time they need to settle. This time period takes several hours, not days or weeks as some mass coffee producers claim. Some tests have determined a peak potency time, for espresso, of 11 hours after roasting, and a freshness cutoff date of 7 days after roasting.
Coffee – Brewing
There are many different ways to brew roasted coffee that result in different tastes and levels of potency. The method which extracts the maximum amount of flavor is Espresso. Other popular methods include Drip brewing, French Press, Turkish, Vacuum, and a Cold Brewing process that results in 70% less acid.
Coffee - Health Benefits
Recent studies indicate that Coffee has many health benefits. A few of these are:
1. #1 source of Antioxidants in the US diet.
2. Anti diabetic.
3. Prevents some forms of cancer.
4. Improves Cognitive Performance.
5. Reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Yet, all of these studies are made using old, stale, dead coffee! Fresh roasted coffee has many more health benefits that have yet to be discovered. There has not been a single study that has used coffee within a few days of roasting, yet alone it’s peak time of within 24 hours.
11 Fun Facts about Coffee
1. Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world, oil is the largest.2. Coffee is the second most popular drink in the world, water is #13. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day.4. The U.S. is the largest coffee consuming country in the world, estimating 400 million cups per day.5. There are 65 countries in the world that grow coffee and they are all along the equator.6. Black coffee with no additives contains no calories.7. It takes five years for a coffee tree to reach full maturity, coffee trees can live up to 100 years old8. The average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee.9. There are two types of coffee plants, Arabica and Robusta.10. Robusta coffee beans have twice as much caffeine than Arabica beans, but are of less quality.11. 70% of the world consumes Arabica coffee, the remaining 30% drinks Robusta