Organic Coffee and It's Benefits for Health

Organic coffee is coffee that has been grown according to organic farming standards and techniques, without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
Many producers exclusively use the three main coffee certifications: shade-grown, organic, and Fair Trade. They do this in an effort to create a more environmentally and socially responsible product as well as to market it to more affluent socially responsible consumers.
The term organic can also refer to farms, or products from them which incorporate socially responsible activities such as recycling, composting, soil health and environmental protections.
Some of the health risks associated with drinking large amounts of coffee can be attributed to the chemical and pesticide residues as opposed to the coffee beans or the brew itself. Organic coffee reduces these risks because of the lack or reduction in synthetic additives used in organic coffee plantations. Shade grown coffee ensures the preservation of nutrients that naturally occur, by reducing sun exposure that bleaches important compounds in the top soil.
Organic coffee contains caffeine in its purest form, high in antioxidants, vitamins and mineral content. That's why organic coffee become better defense against a wide range of diseases.
The primary producer and exporter of organic coffee is the South American nation of Peru. Mexico and Ethiopia are also major producers of the coffee. According to the center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Costa Rica (CATIE), 75% of the world's organic coffee comes from Latin America, and that 10% of growers have reverted to conventional production due to price competition. [source Organic Coffee]

A Brief History of Coffee

The use of the word coffee in English started in the 17th century. The word is derived from Italian word ‘caffé’ which again was derived from the Turkish word ‘kahveh’. This Ottoman Turkish word was derived from the Arabic ‘qahweh’. The origin of this Arabic word is not known but it is thought that it is associated with Kaffa region of Ethiopia where coffee was first grown.
Coffee plant was discovered in the 9th century on Ethiopian highlands by shepherds grazing goats. They discovered that their goats were getting extra energy after consuming wild berries of coffee plant. Thus, consumption of coffee started. Soon, its use spread to Egypt and Yemen. By the 15thcentury, people in the Middle East, Persia, Armenia, Turkey and North Africa were drinking coffee.
The method of roasting the beans and preparing the beverage was first developed in Arabia. Thereafter, the use of Coffee spread from the Middle East first to Italy and thereafter to the rest of Europe. The drink got official approval when Pope Clement VIII declared coffee as a Christian drink in 1600. The Dutch used to import large quantities of coffee and they were the first European people who defied the Arab ban on exporting coffee plant or its seed.
The Dutch man Pieter van den Broeck brought coffee from Aden in 1616 by defying this ban. Thereafter, Dutch people started cultivating coffee in Java and Sri Lanka. British East India Company also made coffee popular in England.
Drinking of coffee was introduced in Northern America when it was under the British rule. But, drinking coffee did not become as popular as it was in Europe and tea was the most preferred hot drink. But during US War of Independence, tea supply became restricted because of the restricted supply of British traders. Consequently, the demand of coffee started to increase in the United States and traders used to hoard its supplies.
After the War of 1812, Britain temporarily stopped exporting tea to the United States. This led American to become very fond of coffee and demand increased even more during American Civil War. At this time, Americans also introduced their own way of brewing coffee. [source : Coffee]

Green Coffee Means

Green Coffee is coffee that remains unroasted. Usually, green coffee beans are picked, processed wet, dried and then milled. However, they are not roasted because that process is usually left to the end consumer. 

Green coffee can also refer to coffee cultivated and harvested in an environmentally friendly way, but this is a rare use of the term.

Green coffee offers several advantages to the traditional way coffee is delivered to the consumer. Green coffee is one of the freshest ways that coffee can be delivered to the consumer. The coffee beans stay fresher much longer in an unroasted state and, therefore, those coffee connoisseurs who are interested in having the freshest coffee possible will likely be more inclined to choose green coffee.

It should be noted that because green coffee maintains its freshness much easier in its native form, the best advice may be to not roast any more than may be consumed in a day or two. Therefore, the consumer is always guaranteed of having the freshest coffee possible. Green coffee will stay fresh in its unroasted form for months. However, once it is roasted, the beans have a much shorter time before they become noticeably less fresh. For the experienced coffee drinker, this will lead to a substandard coffee-drinking experience. [source : Green Coffee]

The Robusta Coffee Origins

The Robusta Coffee (Coffea Canephora) is a species of coffee which has its origins in central and western subsaharan Africa. It is grown mostly in Africa and Brazil, where it is often called Conillon. It is also grown in Southeast Asia where French colonists introduced it in the late 19th century. In recent years Vietnam, which only produces robusta, has surpassed Brazil, India, and Indonesia to become the world's single largest exporter. Approximately one-third of the coffee produced in the world is robusta.

The Robusta coffee plant is a hardier and more easily cultivated variety of coffee. It will grow at lower subtropical altitudes and is less susceptible to diseases and pests. It also has a higher yield than the Arabica.

The Robusta coffee bean lacks the depth of flavor of the Arabica bean but has a higher level of caffeine content. The Robusta variety is believed to have originated in Uganda, and is now widely grown in Africa, Brazil and Vietnam.

Robusta coffee plants
The value of Robusta beans is lower because it is easier to care for and cheaper to produce. This economic consideration has led to the common use of Robusta beans in coffee blends. Their lower price has also led to most instant coffee being derived from Robusta beans.

However, the higher caffeine content, the Robusta bean's role in creating the famous crema top found on a good espresso, and the sheer volume of demand for coffee, are other reasons for the popularity of Robusta coffee. Processing methods have been developed that can reduce the less desirable harsher "burnt rubber" taste of Robusta coffee. [source : Coffea Canephora]

The Arabica Coffee Origins

The Arabica Coffee (Coffea Arabicais a species of coffee originated in the Ethiopian region of Kaffa in northeastern Africa, and long ago became a popular beverage in the Arabian region.

Coffea arabica was first described by Antoine de Jussieu, who named it Jasminum arabicum after studying a specimen from the Botanic Gardens of AmsterdamLinnaeus placed it in its own genus Coffea in 1737.

The first written record of coffee made from roasted coffee beans comes from Arabian scholars who wrote that it was useful in prolonging their working hours. The Arab innovation in Yemen of making a brew from roasted beans, spread first among the Egyptians and Turks, and later on found its way around the world.

The beans of this variety of coffee are known in the coffee trade as Arabica coffee and are widely regarded as having a superior flavor. This region's influence is also seen in the common use of the term mocha in coffee circles, which is derived from the name of the once leading coffee export port in Yemen.

Arabica Coffee Plants
Arabica coffee is now mainly grown in East Africa, Central America and Indonesia, and requires certain growing conditions in order to thrive. Almost all coffee is grown in the equatorial belt between twenty five degrees north and thirty degrees south. Arabica grows best at higher and cooler subtropical altitudes of between six hundred and two thousand meters. It also grows best with plenty of rich moist volcanic soil with plenty of shade as well as sun. It is estimated that around 70% of all coffee production is from the Arabica bean.

Reflecting the spread of Arabica coffee around the world, the old Indonesian coffee exporting port of Java has also contributed its name for common use in coffee circles. [source : Coffea Arabica]

Gourmet Coffee, Actually

Coffee is quite a popular drink all over the world and it is grown in many different regions of the world. Some people advertise their product as Gourmet Coffee. Actually  ‘Gourmet’ could be defined as a fine food or drink that has been adjudged by experts as excellent.
The method of cultivating coffee beans is similar all over the world. These beans are picked, dried and sorted in similar fashion everywhere. Only difference could be the climate and altitude of the place where the beans are grown or the fertilizer and pesticides used for growing the crop. Most important factor for producing coffee of good quality is the roasting process.
If the roasting is not done properly, either coffee produced would be weak or it would taste burnt. There are varieties of coffee which are not easily available, like coffee grown in Jamaican Blue Mountain which is quite well known for its rich taste and great smell. When they are properly roasted, the coffee produced might be the best tasting coffee in the world.
While roasting coffee beans, some roasters add flavorings like caramel or chocolate syrup. The coffee produced using such a roasting process is known as Gourmet Flavored Coffee.
Some types of coffee beans are known as gourmet coffee beans. These beans produce gourmet coffee with rich flavor. These gourmet coffee beans are cultivated in volcanic regions and on the mount slopes of a volcano. Coffee produced by using these beans is very smooth and full of flavor because of volcanic soil and high altitude. These beans are grown in tropical rainforest amongst exotic plants and animals.
When we buy coffee from a store, we are not sure about its quality and freshness. It could be lying on the stores shelf for a long time thereby losing flavor. Those people, who are accustomed to drink such coffee, might not be aware of the taste and flavor of gourmet coffee.
Gourmet coffee beans are freshly roasted and carefully packed so that no harsh element is stored inside the pack. To preserve the freshness of coffee, they are packed in one-way valve foil coffee bags which prevents air to come in contact with the beans.
Gourmet coffee is similar to wine. The taste and flavor of coffee would depend on the region where the beans were grown. By taking a sip of coffee, a connoisseur of coffee would be able tell the region where the bean for the coffee was grown. [source : Gourmet Coffee]

Different Types of Coffee

Regardless of coffee’s origins, all beans go through a similar process in preparation for brewing. trees reach maturity between three and four years when their clusters of fruit turn deep red. Farmers pluck the ripe cherries by hand and transport the full baskets by mule or truck to the processing plant. Since the coffee bean is the seed inside the sweet cherries, the fruit is forced through a manual machine to extract the seeds. While the pulp is salvaged for use as fertilizer, the seeds – or coffee beans – are soaked in cool water to stimulate a fermentation process. Next the beans are spread over mats to dry in the open sun. Rotten or disfigured beans are removed so only the highest quality coffee beans remain. Next the thick, parchment-like hull is removed to reveal a coffeebean. 

There are several species of coffee trees but most commercial growers use primarily the Arabica and Robusta species. trees are believed to produce the highest quality . However, Robusta trees are more economically viable due to their heartiness. Coffees are rarely designated as Robusta or Arabica . The soil and environmental conditions play such a significant role in flavoring the beans, that all coffee beans are labeled according to their geographic origins. Kilimanjaro coffee comes from the Tanzanian foothills near Mount Kilimanjaro, for example, while Java coffee derives from the Indonesian islands. 

Coffee roasting process
For many years, consumers purchased green coffee beans and roasted them at home. Today nearly all beans are roasted by the manufacturers who possess the appropriate equipment. Roasting the beans enhances the coffee’s flavor and releases pungent oils. Although there exist no strict conventions for classifying different types of roasts, there are some well-known roasts that have maintained a certain consistency between manufacturers. American roast produces a medium bodied coffee. This roast is used almost exclusively in average American store brands and in restaurants across the country. Brazilian roast is a slightly darker roast than the American roast. Despite its name, the roast has no connection to Brazil. An increasingly popular roast is the French roast. French roasted beans are the color of dark chocolate. The roast produces a deep, hearty brew and a touch of the bean oil should be visible on the coffee’s surface. The darkest roast is Espresso. Beans are roasted until they are nearly burnt which gives the roast its distinct, sharp flavor. 

Coffee grinder
All coffee is best bought as whole roasted beans. The minute the beans have been ground their flavor diminishes. Whole beans can be frozen for several months, but ground beans will last in an airtight container no longer than a few weeks. Coffee is brewed by two methods: decoction or infusion. Decoction refers to boiling the beans until the flavor is released. This method was popular before coffee machines but is now only reserved for traditional Turkish coffees. The most popular means of brewing coffee is by infusion. Infusion includes steeping coffee grounds in hot water or filtering the grounds with hot water through paper or cloth. The ideal cup of coffee depends upon one’s preference, but the standard ratio is two tablespoons of coffee grounds to three-quarters a cup of water. Brewed coffee must be served immediately as oxidation will ruin the flavor.

Many coffee drinks have become popular with Americans in recent years. Espresso, made by brewing espresso roasted beans under high pressure, is a strong, black coffee served in small cups. Machiatto is espresso with a touch of steamed milk. Cappuccino is even thirds of espresso, steamed milk, and a ‘cap’ of milk foam. Café latte is one-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk. The favorite French drink, Café au Lait is made with strong coffee (never espresso) and generous portions of hot milk. Flavored coffee -- such as hazelnut, maple walnut and raspberry -- is produced by adding flavored oils to the beans during roasting. Depending on the manufacturer, the flavors can be natural or artificial. 

Coffee connoisseurs rate coffees based on their aroma, acidity (liveliness), body and flavor. High quality coffees have strong, fragrant aromas. High acidity levels in beans is preferable, but their body can range from light (Mexican coffees) to heavy (Sumatra coffees). Connoisseurs describe the flavor using adjectives such as earthy, mellow or grassy. Although your average coffee consumer in America could not distinguish an earthy flavor from a mellow one, the busy neighborhood Starbucks is evidence enough that Americans love all varieties of coffee regardless.
[source : Coffees]

Kopi Luwak : The Most Expensive Coffee In The World

Kopi Luwak or civet coffee, is the world's most expensive and low-production coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world.

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee. Luwak is a local name of the Asian palm civet in Sumatra and Johor, Malaysia. Palm civets are primarily frugivorous, feeding on berries and pulpy fruits such as from fig trees and palms. Civets also eat small vertebrates, insects, ripe fruits and seeds.

Early production began when beans were gathered in the wild from where a civet would defecate as a means to mark its territory. On farms, civets are either caged or allowed to roam within defined boundaries.

Coffee cherries are eaten by a civet for their fruit pulp. After spending about a day and a half in the civet's digestive tract the beans are then defecated in clumps, having kept their shape and still covered with some of the fleshy berry's inner layers. They are gathered, thoroughly washed, sun dried and given only a light roast so as to keep the many intertwined flavors and lack of bitterness yielded inside the civet.

Kopi Luwak is produced mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, and also in the Philippines (where the product is called motit coffee in the Cordillera and kape alamid in Tagalog areas) and also in East Timor (where it is called kafé-laku). Weasel coffee is a loose English translation of its name cà phê Chồn in Vietnam, where popular, chemically simulated versions are also produced.

The origin of Kopi Luwak is closely connected with the history of Coffee production in Indonesia. In early 18th century The Dutch established the cash-crop plantations in their colony in Dutch East Indies islands of Java and Sumatra, including Arabica coffee introduced from Yemen. During the era of Cultuurstelsel (1830—1870), the Dutch prohibited the native farmers and native plantation workers to pick coffee fruits for their own use. Yet the native farmers desired to have a taste of the famed coffee beverage. Soon the natives learned that certain species of musang or luwak (Asian Palm Civet) consumed these coffee fruits, yet they left the coffee seeds undigested in their droppings. The natives collect these Luwak's dropping coffee seeds; clean, roast and grind it to make coffee beverage. The fame of aromatic civet coffee spread from locals to Dutch plantation owners and soon become their favorites, yet because of its rarity and unusual process, the civet coffee was expensive even in colonial times.

Kopi luwak is a name for many specific cultivars and blends of arabica, robusta, liberica, excelsa or other beans eaten by civets, hence the taste can vary greatly. Nonetheless, kopi luwak coffees have a shared aroma profile and flavor characteristics, along with their lack of bitterness. Coffee critic Chris Rubin has said, "The aroma is rich and strong, and the coffee is incredibly full bodied, almost syrupy. It’s thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste."

Kopi Luwak raw beans
Kopi luwak tastes unlike heavy roasted coffees, since roasting levels range only from cinnamon color to medium, with little or no caramelization of sugars within the beans as happens with heavy roasting. Moreover, kopi luwaks which have very smooth profiles are most often given a lighter roast. Iced kopi luwak brews may bring out some flavors not found in other coffees.

Sumatra is the world's largest regional producer of kopi luwak. Sumatran civet coffee beans are mostly an early arabica variety cultivated in the Indonesian archipelago since the seventeenth century. Tagalog cafe alamid (or alamid cafe) comes from civets fed on a mixture of coffee beans and is sold in the Batangas region along with gift shops near airports in the Philippines.

Kopi luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between US $100 and $600 per pound. The specialty Vietnamese weasel coffee, which is made by collecting coffee beans eaten by wild civets, is sold at $6600 per kilogram ($3000 per pound). Kopi luwak is sold by weight mainly in Japan and the United States and served in Southeast Asian coffeehouses by the cup. Sources vary widely as to annual worldwide production.

In November 2006 Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms, a small cafe in the hills outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia, put kopi luwak coffee on its menu at AUD50.00 (US $46.00) a cup, selling about seven cups a week, which gained nationwide Australian and international press. In April 2008 the brasserie at Peter Jones department store in London's Sloane Square began selling a blend of kopi luwak and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (US $79.00) a cup. Pecks in downtown Milan sells a small espresso cup for 8 euros. [source : Kopi Luwak]

Coffee Bean

A coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant (the pit inside the red or purple fruit). Even though they are seeds, they are referred to as 'beans' because of their resemblance. The fruits, coffee cherries or coffee berries, most commonly contain two stones with their flat sides together. In a crop of coffee, a small percentage of cherries contain a single bean, instead of the usual two. This is called a peaberry. Coffee beans consist mostly of endosperm that contains 0.8 - 2.5 % caffeine, which is one of the main reasons the plants are cultivated. As coffee is one of the world's most widely consumed beverages, coffee beans are a major cash crop, and an important export product for some countries. It is considered a regularly consumed beverage in the United States - as popular as soft drinks and even water - and because of the volume consumed, it is there that coffee is highest in demand.

coffee plant
Cultivation of the coffee bean originated in Yemen, in approximately 850 C.E. Farming of the coffee plant then spread to the rest of Arabia, where it was first mentioned in writing around 900 C.E. The Yemenites guarded it carefully, but some plants were eventually smuggled out to the Dutch, who kept a few plants for gardens in the Netherlands.

The Americas were first introduced to the plants around 1723. South America is now responsible for over 50% of the world's total coffee production.

The coffee tree averages from 5-10 m (15–30 ft.) in height. As the tree gets older, it branches less and less and bears more leaves and fruit. The tree typically begins to bear fruit 3–5 years after being planted, and continues to produce for 10-20 more years, depending on the type of plant and the area.

Coffee plants are grown in rows several feet apart. Some farmers plant fruit trees around them or plant the coffee on the sides of hills, because they need specific conditions to flourish. They require a warm climate (but not too hot, either) and at least 1.8 m (70 inches) of rainfall year. Heavy rain is needed in the beginning of the season when the fruit is developing, and less later in the season as it ripens. The harvesting period can be anywhere from three weeks to three months, and in some places the harvesting period continues all year round.

When the fruit is ripe, it is almost always handpicked, using either selective picking, where only the ripe fruit is removed or strip-picking, where the entire tree is shaken when most of the fruit has matured. Because a tree can have both ripe and unripe berries at the same time, one area of crop has to be picked several times, making harvesting the most labor intensive process of coffee bean production.

There are two methods of processing the coffee berries. The first method is wet processing, which is usually carried out in Central America and areas of Africa. The flesh of the berries is separated from the seeds and then the beans are fermented - soaked in water for about two days. This dissolves any pulp or sticky residue that may still be attached to the beans. The beans are then washed and dried in the sun, or, in the case of commercial manufacturers, in drying machines.

The dry processing method is cheaper and simpler, used for lower quality beans in Brazil and much of Africa. Twigs and other foreign objects are separated from the berries and the fruit is then spread out in the sun on cement or brick for 2–3 weeks, turned regularly for even drying. The dried pulp is removed from the beans afterward.

After processing has taken place, the husks are removed and the beans are roasted, which gives them their varying brown color, and they can then be sorted for bagging. [source : Coffee Bean]

Café : A Terminological Description

café, also spelled cafe, may in the United States mean an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches, while in most other countries it refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse. Origin of the term "café" is from French for coffee.

The English words coffee and café both descend from the continental European trans-lingual word root /kafe/, which appears in many European languages with various naturalized spellings, including Italian (caffè); Portuguese, Spanish, and French (café); German (Kaffee); Polish (kawa); Ukrainian (кава, 'kava'); Indonesian (Kopi) and others. European awareness of coffee (the plant, its seeds, the beverage made from the seeds, and the shops that sell the beverage) came through Europeans' contact with Turkey, and the Europeans borrowed both the beverage and the word root from the Turks, who got them from the Arabs. The Arabic name qahwa (قهوة) was transformed into kaweh (strength, vigor) in the Ottoman Empire, and it spread from there to Europe, probably first through the Mediterranean languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Catalan, etc.) and thence to German, English, and others, though there is another well-based theory that it first spread to Europe through Poland and Ukraine, through their contacts with the Ottoman Empire.

In most European countries, the term café implies primarily serving coffee, typically accompanied by a slice of cake/tart/pie, a "danish pastry", a bun, or similar sweet pastry.  Many (or most) cafés also serve light meals such as sandwiches.   European cafés often have tables on the pavement as well as indoors.  Some cafés also serve alcoholic beverages, particularly in Southern European countries.

In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland a café (with the acute accent) is similar to those in other European countries, while a cafe (without acute accent) is more likely to be a greasy spoon style eating place, serving mainly fried food, in particular breakfast dishes.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, a café is the equivalent of a bar, and also sells alcoholic beverages. A coffeeshop in the Netherlands sells soft drugs (cannabis and hashish) and is generally not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

A café or coffee shop is a restaurant with full-service tables and counters and broad menu offerings over extended periods of the day. In hotels, the coffee shop is a more popular-priced alternative to the formal dining room. Coffee shops often encourage families and provide special menus for children. To establish a family-friendly atmosphere, in many localities they do not serve wine or beer. [source : Café]