A Brief History of Espresso

A Brief History of Espresso

Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business, invented Espresso at the turn of the century. Bezzera was simply trying to figure out a way to brew coffee faster. He figured if he could just add pressure to the brewing process it would speed things up, thus the “Fast Coffee Machine” was created.

His idea of a fast cup of coffee turned out much better than he had planned. He ended up with a better, fuller-tasting cup of strong coffee, as well as a much faster process. He found that his quicker, more efficient brewing method allowed for the quality of the beans to be extracted as opposed to the over-extracting he had previously experienced in his experiments. The term “Espresso” means fast in Italian, hence the name.

It wasn’t until later when Desidero Pavoni purchased the rights to the espresso machine from Mr. Bezzera that it became really popular. Pavoni was extremely successful in marketing the product and probably changed the way people drank coffee from then on. Just look around! Coffee and Espresso shops are everywhere, particularly in the USA. Coffee has become popular not only for the delicious beans, but the ritual of drinking coffee in all its delicious variations has given us a new place to socialize.

Espresso Timeline:

In 1901 Luigi Bezzera filed a patent for the espresso machine that contained a boiler and four “groups”. Each group could take different size filter that contained the coffee. Boiling water was then forced by pressure through the coffee and into a cup. Ambrogio Fumagelli says that this was the birth of (fast) espresso coffee.

In 1903 Luigi Bezzera’s patent was then purchased by Desiderio Pavoni and put to market in a big way.

In 1905 The Pavoni company began manufacturing the espresso machines solely based on Bezzera’s patent.

In 1927 the first espresso machine was installed in the United States. It was a La Pavoni Espresso Machine installed at Regio’s in New York.

In 1938 Cremonesi designed a piston pump that forced hot water through the coffee. It was installed at Achille Gaggia’s coffee bar.

In 1946 Gaggia begins manufacturing the commercial piston machine, leading to the currently popular foam or cream layered coffee, or cafe’.

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Half Full or Half Empty?

Half Full or Half Empty?

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What is Gourmet Coffee?

What is Gourmet Coffee?

The word Gourmet is used to refer to the fancier grade, cut, or quality of many of the foods and beverages we consume. Gourmet foods and drinks have long been considered as the regular fare for the rich and famous who can afford the higher pricing that often accompanies many of these finer food and beverage versions.

Coffee has been available in cheap, regular and gourmet versions for a long time and the consumption rate of coffee by people from around the world continues to increase every year. Gourmet coffee may have once only been served in the finest dining establishments and in the homes of primarily the upper class, but gourmet coffee is now widely available and affordable to nearly all economic levels and is found in a variety of settings today.

What Is Different About Gourmet Coffee Beans?

The beverage called coffee is made from coffee beans, which are found within the berries that develop and ripen on a number of smaller, tropical, evergreen bush plant species known as Coffea. After ripening, coffee berries are harvested and then undergo a processing which also includes cleaning, drying and fermenting them. What remains at the end of the process are coffee beans. The beans are then roasted to various degrees which cause them to change physically and changes the tastes they produce. Finally, the coffee beans are ground down into a fine consistency that is commonly known as coffee grounds, and packaged and shipped to destinations around the world where consumers can buy and brew coffee grounds to make coffee in commercial, hospitality, institutional, and residential settings.

The two most commercially grown species of the coffea plant that produce the coffee beans used to make the coffee that the world’s population consumes, are Robusta and Arabica. Gourmet coffee is made from the top tier coffee beans from the Arabica coffea plant. These top tier Arabica coffea plants are typically grown at very high altitudes (above 3,000 feet) with ideal soil and climate conditions. The coffee beans produced have fuller flavors, are more aromatic, and have less caffeine in them than other varieties of coffee beans such as Robustas. The coffee beans of Arabica coffea plants grown at lower altitudes are still noted among consumers as having richer flavors than the flavors produced by Robusta coffee beans, but it is only the top tier Arabica coffee beans that are considered to be gourmet.

Care Before Brewing

Some people prefer to grind their own coffee beans just before brewing them for coffee, especially the gourmet varieties, and prepackaged coffee beans that have not been pre-ground can be purchased in grocery and other types of stores. They can be ground using the grinding mills that are made available in most of the stores that sell the beans, but also with grinding machines in the home.

Both coffee grounds and coffee beans that have not been ground down need to be stored in air-tight containers and kept cool in order to prevent them from losing their flavor. The containers that coffee is typically in when sold are not the most ideal for storing coffee for a long period of time. When you arrive home after purchasing coffee grounds at the store, consider transferring the fresh coffee grounds to appropriate storage containers to extend the shelf life and full flavor. Specialized containers may be available at your local department store. Some people store their coffee in the freezer, to keep it savory longer.

Preparation

Coffee can be brewed in many ways, such as boiling, pressing, and steeping. Most of us brew our coffee using automatic coffee brewing machines and percolators which use gravity to pull hot water through coffee grounds. The hot water mixed with the oils and essences of the coffee grounds empties into a liquid holding container below. Filters are used to keep coffee granules from being emptied into the carafe or liquid holding container from which the brewed coffee can then be served, because most people dislike tasting the actual grounds. Coffee granules can be very bitter once the flavorable oils and essences have been removed through the brewing process. (Many plants and flowers love coffee grounds though, for anybody who is looking for a greener alternative to dispose of coffee grounds after brewing rather just throwing them in the trash.)

Of course, Gourmet coffee beans are only the beginning of creating a truly gourmet coffee experience for many gourmet coffee drinkers. Some people are quite content with drinking their gourmet coffee black, without adding anything like milk, creamer, sugar or other sweeteners or flavorings to their coffee. Many others want to enhance their gourmet coffee and drinking experience with tasty additions like milk that is whipped into a froth, sweeteners, or mixing in other flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and mint, to name just a few. Big name coffee chains sell a wide variety of gourmet coffees with different tasty additions and flavors to appeal to gourmet coffee lovers. However, brewing gourmet coffee at home is usually much cheaper, and you can add what you want to your coffee to satisfy your refined, gourmet tastes.

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Alternatives To Giving Up Coffee for Health Reasons

Alternatives To Giving Up Coffee for Health Reasons

So you are a coffee lover, and you have all the gadgets and gismos to make that perfect cup. You know all the different coffee types available and your idea of a perfect Sunday morning is to relax with your favorite newspaper and a giant mug of a classic Columbian brew.

So what happens when for health reasons you are told to cut down on the coffee? There are so many reasons these days why you might need to cut down on your caffeine intake, perhaps you are pregnant, or suffering from a heart condition that makes excessive caffeine consumption unwise. As a coffee connoisseur the idea of drinking decaf leaves you cold, but when it is a choice between your health and your coffee you probably don’t have much choice. To make your transition easier, there are few things to consider before you stock up on decaf beans.

Be prepared to spend a little extra on high quality decaf to get a decent taste. There are various processes used to remove caffeine from coffee beans and the most economical uses chemicals to accomplish this. Although the chemicals are washed away, small traces can remain that impact the taste of the resulting brew. Some of the good coffee flavor can also be washed away with the caffeine.

Some more expensive decaf beans go through the Swiss method, where the beans are heated with water and then passed through activated charcoal, which bonds with the caffeine, leaving the beans with reduced caffeine but the majority of their original taste.

Another, more recent addition to these processes is known as Hevla. Coffee beans are steamed at high pressure and the caffeine removed, without any real impact on the flavor. The use of this process is becoming more widespread, but is unlikely to be used on the standard decaf for sale in your local supermarket.

As well as checking the manufacturing process used before buying decaf coffee, you should also have a careful look at the caffeine content. You may think you have been clever enough to find a great decaf that tastes just like regular coffee, for a reasonable price. But you may in fact find that the caffeine content is only slightly reduced, hence the more complete taste, and you can probably do yourself almost as much damage with this as with a regular brew. Also beware of drinking decaf coffee when you are out and about. Because the same machines are often used to make decaf as regular coffee, you might unintentionally be getting a large dose of caffeine anyway.

If you really can’t stomach changing to decaf, you could just reduce the amount of coffee that you drink and really savor those occasional cups. You could also switch to a darker roast such as an Italian roast, popular for espresso making, which are naturally lower in caffeine because most of it has burnt off during the darker roasting process.

So don’t despair if your doctor gives you the bad news. Just because you have to cut down on caffeine, this does not mean that you have to give up good coffee altogether.

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How That Elixer Known as Coffee Gets to Your Cup

How That Elixer Known as Coffee Gets to Your Cup

Coffee is the brew that more than half the people around the world need to kick start the day. Ever wondered about the origins of this humble but oh so important cup of joy and how it landed up on the shelf in your neighborhood store? Did you know that every day there are about four hundred million cups of coffee consumed around the world? It all began about two thousand years ago and today it has a market in which the output as a commodity is a close second to petroleum in its dollar value.

Coffee is broadly categorized into two main types – the Arabia which started out on the Arabian Peninsula and the Robusta which has twice the amount of caffeine. Apart from this there are at least a dozen bean varieties in common use today. The beans are red or green in type. The red is known for its higher aroma and lower acid content and it is this type that is used to make some of the finer coffees of the world.

The coffee berry, or ‘cherry’ as it is called, is not of much value by itself, but the bean inside it – that’s the part that has all the importance. It is this bean that is aged, roasted, ground and then sent on for brewing. Coffee picking is done by laborers who pick a few baskets a day, and they have to be skilled in separating the red from the green beans. The sorting of the beans has a very definite role to play in the final product. The time of picking of the cherries is of the utmost importance, as it has to be done just when the berry changes from green to red.

Once picked, the fruit undergoes a process of being soaked, scoured and rubbed mechanically to remove the fruit, and the bean is then washed to ensure no flesh of the fruit remains. Then the beans are fermented. Once the proper amount of fermentation has occurred, the resulting beans are then sun-dried on large concrete or rock surfaces until their water content has dropped to about 12 percent. This is followed by the sorting of the beans based on size and color. After “polishing” to remove any remaining skin they are then either sent on for roasting or kept to age for from three to eight years.

Roasting is done at about 204 Celsius (400 F.), where the beans expand to almost double their size, then crack and turn brown as the oil inside is secreted out. This oil is where the difference in the basic flavors comes from. After the roasting, the beans are de-gassed, which means that the beans produce a lot of carbon dioxide and this is removed by airing them out or packaging them in semi-permeable bags for shipping.

At the roasting stage, a lot of in-house techniques have been developed which basically account for the difference in flavors between the different coffees. So, for example, coffee from Kenya or Java will taste different from that roasted some other country. At the grinding level there are again a lot of differences in styles and the results of those styles. The Turks pound the beans into a powdery consistency using a mortar and pestle and in some other places the ‘burr’ grinder crushes the beans to a regular sized granule. Yet others chop the beans to a less homogeneous size using a chopper.

The final cup of delicious coffee that you get is actually either boiled, which means hot water is poured and the grounds are allowed to settle, or it is pressure-prepared, which refers to the espresso type of preparation where not quite boiling hot water is poured through the grounds at very high pressure. The third way is “percolating,” where hot water drips onto the grounds and is filtered. And more rarely, coffee grounds are steeped like tea is, but in larger bags.

So there you have the journey of coffee from the plantation to your cup, and with research coming up with the benefits of drinking coffee, let’s raise a toast to the cup that cheers!

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A Brief Look At Coffee History

A Brief Look At Coffee History

Coffee is probably one of the most popular beverages consumed by adults, yet many coffee lovers do not know much about coffee’s history. Understanding coffee history will make you appreciate even more that rich aroma you love so much:

According to Arabic legend an Arabian goat herder was going about his daily activities when all of a sudden his flock of goats began dancing around a green leafy plant. The plant appeared to have cherries growing from it, so the goat herder decided to give this fruitful plant a try. He later noticed that he was experiencing a stimulating effect that allowed him to stay awake for hours. Once he let others in on his secret, they began using coffee for the same reason. It is said that once the beverage was introduced to a priest, he began promoting coffee and its effects throughout the monastery for helping one stay alert for extensive prayer sessions. Eventually, we all had an eye-opening beverage that would soon become a frequent pick-me-up favorite.

Coffee History Begins in Ethiopia

Although many believe the goat herding legend to be true, and it may be, scientists have discovered botanical evidence that indicates that coffee Arabica began in Ethiopia and then was somehow taken to Yemen, where it was then served up in Mecca in one of the very first coffee houses in history. That was back in the 6th century. It eventually became more of a personal indulgence used for enjoyment, rather than simply put to use for its stimulating effects.

America Loves It

Wherever it originated, coffee is a popular choice of hot beverages. The number of coffee houses open for business now is amazing. There is one on every corner in America and many other countries come close to that. Coffee is served in a variety of different ways. You can now get coffee drinks hot or cold, with or with out flavoring, caffeinated or decaf, and it is often made to order. Some people use instant coffee when serving coffee in their homes. This shows just how far coffee has come since it was first discovered.

Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee

It seems that modern society is obsessed with coffee, you can find it everywhere. Coffee candy, coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, coffee creamers and the list will continue to grow. Having coffee with other people has become a social standard for friendly relationships.

With coffee being such a favorite, did you ever stop to think that we had an Arabian goat herder to thank for this rich tasting drink we all enjoy so much?

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10 Facts You Probably Never Knew About Coffee

10 Facts You Probably Never Knew About Coffee

The next time you are at your favorite coffee shop and someone catches your eye, here are ten interesting coffee facts that you can use to break the ice:

1) Coffee is considered an aphrodisiac. Because it contains a high dose of caffeine and other various alkaloids, studies have shown that coffee can increase stamina and the overall length of intimate sessions.

2) Although coffee has been a part of the Arab culture for thousands of years, it did not become part of the western world until the 1500s. Before that time, priests believed that coffee was a drink of the devil. Pope Clement VIII finally ended this line of thinking by taking a sip of coffee and then giving it his blessing.

3) Japan’s official Coffee Day is October 1st.

4) A single acre of coffee trees can yield close to ten thousand pounds of coffee cherries. Once they are milled or hulled, there are still almost two thousand pounds of coffee beans.

5) Forty-nine of the fifty United States of America grow no coffee. The only state that grows coffee is Hawaii. Additionally, the only United States territory that grows coffee is Puerto Rico. The coffee tree is tropical and doesn’t grow in places with cold winters.

6) Germany is the second largest coffee consumer in the world. Forty-three percent of Germans add sweetener to their coffee, while only twenty-seven percent of Americans (the number one consumer of coffee) use any kind of sweetener in their coffee.

7) The English word coffee is derived from the Latin word Coffea. Coffea is the Latin name for a genus of trees.

8) Every single one of the fifty-three countries that grows coffee is located along the equator, between the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.

9) On average, people who purchase their coffee from drive-through windows before work will spend around forty-five hours every year waiting in line for their coffee.

10) Petroleum is the only product that is traded more heavily than coffee. The amount of coffee produced around the world is close to six million metric tons.

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What Happened to Coffee?

What Happened to Coffee?

It’s sad to know that a lot of people think that premium coffee at a fast food restaurant is as good as it gets. Coffee is more than a way to wake you up in the morning. It’s about the aroma, the flavor, the conversation, and the relaxation.

The days when we used to wake up in the morning, grab the morning newspaper, and brew up a wonderful cup of coffee, have started to disappear. If you’re a morning person who can get out of bed hours before anyone else and somehow start the day without the typical morning rush then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Most people are usually running around the house, getting the kids ready, getting themselves ready, and running out the door. Some days they manage to squeeze some time into the morning routine to roll through a drive-thru coffee stand or even worse, a fast-food restaurant, to pick up a cup of java. Or they can wait to get to the office where they brew up the cheapest stuff that their employer can get, as they load it down with cream and sugar. How can this be? How does what is supposed to be one of the most relaxing and satisfying routines of the day become part of the rat race?

As you may know, coffee is the second most important commodity in the United States. If you turn on your TV to watch the news you’ll know what is first. But the coffee industry is big business.  The coffee you get at the fast food restaurant or at the office doesn’t even touch on the quality that is available out there. It’s funny and sad that nowadays anything that doesn’t come out of the can is considered gourmet coffee.

Gourmet coffee is not something that you can’t buy at the grocery store; the most expensive stuff there doesn’t even begin to touch on the quality that is available. Coffee roasting has become an art form. In a day when big companies use computers to do the dirty work, small specialty companies are still doing it the old-fashioned way with their experience and their brains. Roastmasters spend years honing their craft, and their experience is what makes for a great cup of coffee. These companies rely on freshness and quality to compete with the big boys who stock the grocery store shelves or ship out to your local drive-thru. You won’t see any of their commercials on TV, even really late at night when there is the cheapest air-time.

These specialty companies are successful simply based on their reputations. They work to get the highest grade beans from all over the world. They test everything to make sure the quality is as good as it gets. And then they baby it. Gourmet coffee is usually roasted in small batches to guarantee that nothing can go wrong. The time and
temperature is under their complete control, and experience tells them when the beans are roasted perfectly. Any imperfections and the beans are tossed out and a new batch begins.

The really good specialty roasters can do anything with coffee. They can create the perfect blends, add the best flavors, and guarantee that you will get the best cup of coffee that you have ever tasted. They rely on word of mouth, reviews and tasting competitions to get their names out there.

In most situations the only way to place an order with them is through the Internet. Gourmet Coffee sites are everywhere on the web, but it is often hard to determine which is the best place to go. If you want a head start read some of our reviews about some of the best gourmet coffee companies out there. And believe or not, most of their coffee costs no more that what you pay for a bag of beans at the supermarket that have been sitting around for a couple of months. But best part about it is that you can have all of this in the comfort of your own home. This may give you the little extra that you need to get out of bed in the morning.

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