Coffee is a beloved beverage that can help people stay alert and focused. It also can have health benefits.
Evidence from observational studies based on cohorts indicates beneficial associations between coffee as an exposure and a variety of health outcomes. However, some of these associations may be confounded by residual factors such as smoking and age.
The exact origin of coffee is a subject of controversy. One story claims that it was discovered in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed that his goats became lively and energetic after eating the red cherries of a certain tree. He tried the cherries himself and found that he had the same reaction as his goats. He then shared the fruit with his fellow herders who all experienced the same energy boosting effect. The herders then decided to roast and grind the berries into a beverage, which they called qahwah (or kahveh in Arabic).
The earliest documented use of coffee is from the mid-15th century. By this time coffee had become a popular stimulant in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. It was used by the monks to stay alert during their nighttime prayers. It soon gained popularity amongst other people as well and the brewing of coffee beans into a drink is said to have started in the city of Mecca around the same time.
Regardless of the exact origin, the coffee plant is believed to be of the Coffea genus, which encompasses around 500 species and 6,000 trees and shrubs. It is a tropical evergreen that is known for its invigorating effects due to the alkaloid caffeine, which it contains. Coffee is the third most popular international beverage after water and tea, and has a wide range of uses.
Aside from its stimulating properties, coffee is also known for its aromas and flavors. Depending on the roasting process, the beans can take on sweet, fruity, chocolatey, or nutty notes. Coffee can be consumed hot or cold, and is often mixed with milk and sugar for a richer taste. It can even be used in cooking and baking.
There are many different types of coffee from around the world, but there are a few key regions that are known for their superior quality. The coffee growing countries of Africa are famous for their unique, earthy and complex flavor profiles. Many of these coffees are washed, which is a process that removes the outer layers of the bean to bring out a brighter, more acidic profile.
South America is another major producer of coffee, and its beans are renowned for their sweetness and body. The continent is home to the Andes mountain range, which stretches through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, giving the country a varied geography that can influence the coffee grown in it. The Andes can create an ideal micro climate for coffee cultivation, as it is a high altitude mountainous area that is protected from the cold winds coming from the north.
The best coffees from the Americas typically have a full, bold and balanced body with notes of blueberry and blackberry. The climate in these countries is ideal for cultivating coffee, as they are situated close to the equator, meaning the weather is warm year round. This makes it easy for the plants to thrive and produce an abundant harvest.