Coffee information from The Coffee Brew.

Coffee Story – The Legends and the Reality.

It doesn’t matter which country in the world you happen to live you couldn’t help but wonder how the small coffee bean seed could generate so many romantic tales, passion and hard-headed business deals. Yet from its humble beginnings in the highlands of Ethiopia to the present, this dark brown drink with a flavour and aroma to die for has intrigued, cured and enriched billions of people the world over.

Legends thrive and flourish about the origins and history of the coffee plant. The most reliable information puts coffees discovery in Ethiopia around about 500 BC. After discovering the stimulating effects of these berries, travellers brought it to Arabia where it acquired the name coffee which is derived from the Arabic word Qah'wa.

Not only were science and art given birth during The Renaissance period but there was also the commercial production and world distribution of what would later be called 'that heathenish liquid'. By the late 18th century both coffee plantations and drinking popularity had spread to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South and North America. Coffee houses had come of age and a new social class was evolving.

Throughout those long centuries the health effects ascribed to coffee were thought to border on the miraculous. But as with most claimed miracles, there is some fact to substantiate the rumour.

There are studies to suggest that mammalian sperm swim faster, farther and longer in liquid laced with coffee. The theory goes that the caffeine stimulates them.

One Harvard study followed over 100,000 individuals for almost 20 years and came to the conclusion that moderate use of coffee can help reduce diabetes. Others research shows a reduction in cirrhosis of the liver and a decrease of asthma severity.

Similar to wine, the antioxidants in a coffee drink have been touted as helping keep hearts healthier although plenty of debates rage about whether the pros outweigh the cons. Coffee is a diuretic and encourages more frequent urination, and some assert that the stimulation from caffeine leads to long term nerve degeneration. It is also believed that caffeine withdrawal can lead to increased sleeplessness.

And another interesting point - caffeine is deemed to be a natural insecticide.

But whatever we think about the effects – either good or bad – coffee drinking is definitely here to stay – there is certainly no end in sight. The economics and infrastructure developed around the roasted coffee bean guarantee its place in world trade for many years to come.

Whether traded on exchanges in London, New York, Hong Kong or Lima, with over 400 billion cups consumed annually, this 'black gold' continues to grow in popularity. Although only 10-20% of adults enjoy and consume one or more cups daily, the total annual retail sales float around the $9 billion mark.

Add to those figures the number of raw beans, grinders, roasters, brewers and cups bought for the home and the above figures become astounding.

Today, when we look at the rise in popularity of companies like Starbucks with over 10,000 coffee outlets around the world plus the growth in franchises like Gloria Jean’s and the many other privately owned specialty retail outlets, the future for coffee businesses continues to spread and look extremely prosperous.

Coffee bean producers and specialty coffee shops are not the only outlets offering a wide range of blends and styles. 1901 saw the introduction of the espresso machine and this opened up a whole new world of discovery for home roasters and brewers. Being able to enjoy straight shots, long shots or double shots of their favourite beverage was now a snap now with the new fangled coffee making machine.

For all its interesting history, legends and superstitions it is hard to beat the reality of this beverage that just requires the addition of hot water – it is a time honoured tradition around the world.

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The Coffee Brew - Coffee information.