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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.