History of Coffee

Here is some interesting information about the history of coffee. Coffee was first discovered in Africa, Ethiopa to be exact, in the tenth century. Through the years, via expanded trade routes & colonization, its use spread rapidly through the Middle East & on to Europe where its popularity blossomed. From there, it spread to the rest of the world.

There are two major species of coffee trees producing very different qualities of beans. Arabica trees produce the highest quality beans & they are grown at altitudes of 4,000 to 6,000 feet. Robusta trees produce very poor quality beans. They are grown at altitudes of sea level to 2,000 ft. The best gourmet coffee is produced from only the top 10% of Arabica trees.

If you ever wondered why coffee seems to be so expensive, maybe this will help you understand. A new tree takes 3-5 years to produce its first crop of coffee berries & each tree only produces enough for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of beans per year! Hand picked berries contain two beans inside that are separated, dried & graded. Now they are ready for roasting.

After oil, coffee is the second largest commodity & is produced in over 75 countries at an annual rate exceding 10 billion pounds. That's jobs for over 20 million people. One third of this coffee is consumed in the U.S. Seattle meanwhile, is known as the espresso capital of the world with gourmet coffee sales accounting for 40% of the total coffee market share. Thus the term "Sleepless in Seattle".

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