| Coffee is a beverage like no other. It is THE most popular drink on the planet: more than 400 billion cups are consumed worldwide each year. The global market is valued at over $10 billion, making coffee the world's second most traded product behind oil.
The black beverage radiates a magic aura of mystery
and exoticism, yet it also exudes familiarity... It gives energy, warmth,
and lifts spirits. This is caused by caffeine, which stimulates the
nervous system and swells blood vessels. A cup of coffee enhances concentration,
speeds up thinking, improves memory and, according to some research,
may even act as a mood uplifter. Properly prepared, coffee affects
as much as three of the five senses. Its aroma is made up of around
800 diverse volatile compounds.
Coffee has long featured on our menu, albeit in various forms. In the
1st century B.C., for example, coffee cherries were eaten with salt and
butter. The black beverage as we know it does not appear until 13th century.
The processing and roasting methods were invented after Arab merchants
brought coffee beans to Yemen , whence the product spread all over Europe
Contrary to popular belief, only two species of coffee are in wide
commercial circulation, providing the basis for the vast majority of
blends: arabic coffee ( coffea arabica ), commonly known as
Arabica, which accounts for two thirds of global production, and congolese
coffee ( coffea canephora ), also called basket coffee or -
more commonly - Robusta.
Arabica is the oldest and most popular variety. Experts regard Arabica
beans grown in Yemen as the best coffee material. It is also cultivated
in other parts of Africa, in Asia and South America . When roasted, the
greenish, hard and oblong beans produce a fragrant drink containing up
to 1,7% of caffeine. The Arabica brew carries a gentle, aromatic, faintly
sourish (but not sour) taste, sometimes with a chocolate or spicy aspect.
Robusta, which wasn't discovered until 19th century, is quicker to grow
and bear fruit. Being more climate-resistant, it can be grown in the lower
mountain reaches. It is cultivated in a hot and humid climate, in Cameroon
, Uganda and Vietnam . The beans are green-and-yellow, usually smaller
and more oval-shaped than Arabica beans. Robusta is more caffeine-rich
(2,4 - 2,8%), but sharp and bitterish in taste, with an earthen fragrance.