Coffee 101: The Discovery of Coffee

Coffee 101: The Discovery of Coffee

We’re back with our second post in our Coffee 101 Series: The Discovery of Coffee! Coffee has a long and interesting history, including dancing goats, smuggling and bouquets of flowers spiked with coffee seedlings. Coffee is native to Ethiopia, in Africa, where it is still a popular part of local culture and traditions. Today over 12 million people in Ethiopia are involved in coffee production. A common phrase in Ethiopia is “buna dabo naw,” which translates to “coffee is our bread.” Evidence of humans drinking coffee can be traced to the middle of the 15th century in Yemen’s Sufi monasteries. It is not known who actually discovered coffee, but there are several interesting theories and stories.   One story credits the discovery of coffee to a Yemenite Sufi mystic who was traveling through Ethiopia. He noticed some very energetic, lively birds and decided to sample the red berries he saw them eating. He quickly felt the energizing effects of the berry. Another tale tells of a man named Omar, who was exiled from Mocha to a desert cave. He was starving and only found red berries from a small shrub to eat. They tasted bitter so he tried roasting, and later, boiling them. The fragrant smelling liquid he created from boiling the berries kept Omar alive for many days, allowing him to eventually return to Mocha with his “miracle drug.” In the tenth century, coffee is said to have been eaten and fermented into wine. Ethiopian tribesmen used the coffee berries as an energy ball, crushing and mixing them with animal fat to sustain them on long journeys. The...
Coffee 101: What is Coffee?

Coffee 101: What is Coffee?

We’re starting a series of blog posts here on Joe on the Go! to share one of our biggest passions with you, coffee! We’re calling this series Coffee 101 and we’ll cover everything we can think of related to coffee. From how to order a coffee or espresso based drink at Winans…  to how coffee was first discovered… to how we roast coffee today. We’re excited to share our enthusiasm for our favorite drink and hope you are too! Let’s start with the very basics. What is coffee? Coffee means a lot of different things to different people, but not everyone knows where coffee comes from, or that a coffee bean isn’t actually a bean at all! The “bean” which makes delicious beverages enjoyed by many, is actually the seed of the coffee berry, called a cherry. Coffee cherries grow on trees in the Coffea species. Most of the coffee trees grown for human consumption are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora var. robusta. The beans used at Winans Chocolates + Coffees are arabica beans, as are 70% of the beans consumed worldwide. The majority of robusta beans grown are used to make instant coffee. Coffee trees are tropical, evergreen plants that grow in between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer (coffee connoisseurs refer to this area as the bean belt!). The trees do well in areas that receive 40 to 60 inches of rain per year and grow best between 1,300 and 1,500 meters in altitude. Coffee trees flower continuously throughout the year, so it’s common to see flowers, immature green fruit and bright red, ripe...