Coffee – I don’t know about you but here we drink far too much of the smooth, smooth beverage. It keeps us going through good and bad times like a faithful friend, always there, a mug on your desk, table, countertop, anywhere you go, it appears. Almost unconsciously, when one cup is empty, the kettle goes on and another is brewed.
Of course, to make a great coffee, first off you need a reliable kettle – one that’s efficient and boils rapidly – no one wants to wait hours for it to heat up.
Secondly, an awesome french press. This wonder gadget ensures that no grounds can infiltrate your coffee, and allows you to brew the perfect strength for you.
There is one ingredient that’s crucial, though – the coffee itself.
The History of the Bean
According to The National Coffee Association, no one is sure how and when coffee as a drink originated, but the beans were being grown and harvested on the Arabian Peninsula by the 15th century, and thanks to trade, by the 16th century had spread eastwards into Turkey, Egypt and beyond.
As it grew in popularity, coffee houses, or qahveh khaneh, opened, and became places to meet, talk, enjoy music and chess. People could pass on news and exchange information, and coffee houses grew rapidly in importance, often being referred to as ‘schools of the wise’.
By the 17th century, coffee had reached Europe, with the first European coffee house opening in Venice in the 1640s. However, due to its apparent energizing properties, the Catholic Church branded it ‘the bitter drink of Satan’. It gained papal approval, though, when Pope Clement VIII tried it and found coffee to be pleasant and satisfying. This, obviously, boosted its popularity greatly, and the rise of the coffee house continued across Europe to England.
Around this time, coffee arrived on American shores, gaining in popularity after the previously favored beverage – tea, lost its place. This was due to a rise in taxes placed upon it, which led to the Boston Tea Party revolt. Coffee eagerly stepped in, spreading across the continent, and the rest, as they say, is history……..
Types of Coffee
Nowadays, coffee has become a multifaceted drink with too many permutations to remember, but we all have our go-to favorites. If you haven’t tried any of these, you don’t know what you’re missing.
- Breve: An Italian word meaning ‘short’ referring to an espresso coffee drink made with a half-and-half light cream or semi-skim milk instead of full fat milk. It is creamier and richer than a traditional latte.
- Con Panna: This is similar to a “macchiato”, but whipped cream is substituted for steamed milk, making a deliciously rich and indulgent drink. In France and the UK, this traditional coffee is often called a ‘café Viennois’.
- Corretto: Espresso “corrected” with a touch of grappa, cognac, sambuca, or other spirit.
- Doppio: Italian term for double. Double Espresso or twice the amount of coffee and twice the amount of water. Essentially it describes two shots of espresso in one demitasse container.
- Espresso Lungo: American term where a shot is extracted longer for a bit of extra espresso. Tends to maximize the caffeine, but can often produce a bitter drink.
- Hammerhead: A coffee drink only served in the USA. It’s a shot of espresso in a coffee cup that is topped up with drip-filtered coffee. Often known as a ‘red eye’ and a variation is 2 shots of espresso topped up in a 16oz travel mug with drip coffee.
- Ristretto: This is the richest and most concentrated espresso drink. Less water but the same amount of coffee is used to make the beverage and creates a less bitter espresso. The extraction time is shortened producing as little as 3 oz of liquid per serving. Pure and intense espresso served in a demitasse cup.
- Macchiato: Described as ‘strong, marked or stained’. A touch of steamed foamed milk added to a double shot of coffee extract made from 24gm of fresh ground beans producing 75ml of essence. Served in glass.
- Mazagran: A French drink comprising of cold coffee and seltzer water. First created by the French soldiers in 1840 in the town of Argelia. A variation includes iced coffee made with maraschino.
- Quad: An espresso drink made with four shots of coffee.
Nothing can beat a decent cup of coffee – it brightens the day, brings friends together and makes the world go round. So go on, pop the kettle on and perk up your day with a dosage of caffeine!