There are several legends and historical accounts that provide insights into its invention and early use of coffee.
One popular legend attributes the discovery of coffee to a goat herder named Kaldi in the region of Ethiopia. According to the story, Kaldi noticed that his goats became unusually energetic and lively after eating the red berries from a certain tree. Curious about the berries’ effects, he tried them himself and experienced a similar burst of energy. He shared his findings with a local monastery, where monks used the berries to create a drink that helped them stay awake during long hours of prayer.
Coffee likely began to be cultivated and consumed in monasteries in Ethiopia, as it was appreciated for its stimulating effects. Monks made a beverage from the roasted and ground coffee beans, which helped them stay alert during nighttime prayers and long hours of meditation. Over time, this knowledge of coffee spread beyond the monastic communities.
The knowledge of coffee eventually made its way to the Arab world. By the 15th century, coffee was being grown and traded in Yemen, where it was known as qahwa. The Arab world played a significant role in the early cultivation, preparation, and trading of coffee. Coffee houses, called qahveh khaneh, became popular gathering places for conversation and entertainment in cities like Cairo and Istanbul.
Coffee was introduced to Europe in the 17th century, primarily through trade routes and coffeehouses established in major European cities. The first coffeehouse in Europe is believed to have opened in Venice in 1645, followed by coffeehouses in England and other European countries. Coffeehouses soon became hubs of intellectual discussion and social interaction.
Coffee was introduced to the Americas in the 17th century. It is said that the first coffee plants were brought to the Caribbean and later to Central and South America, where coffee cultivation thrived. The tropical climate in regions like Brazil, Colombia, and Central America proved to be ideal for growing coffee, and these areas have become some of the world’s major coffee producers.
Arabica coffee, also known as Coffea arabica, is one of the two primary species of coffee beans used in the global coffee industry, with the other being Coffea canephora, commonly known as Robusta. Arabica coffee is highly regarded for its superior flavor and aromatic qualities, making it the preferred choice for many coffee enthusiasts and specialty coffee producers.
Arabica coffee beans are known for their more complex and nuanced flavor profile compared to Robusta beans. They often have a mild and smoother taste, featuring a wide range of flavors, including floral, fruity, nutty, and sometimes even chocolaty or sugary notes. Arabica beans tend to have a pleasant acidity and a well-balanced body.
Arabica coffee plants thrive at higher elevations in regions with cooler temperatures and a more temperate climate. They are grown at altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level, which contributes to their unique flavor characteristics. Arabica plants are also more susceptible to diseases and pests compared to Robusta plants, which makes their cultivation more challenging.
Arabica coffee beans generally contain less caffeine than Robusta beans. The lower caffeine content contributes to the milder and less bitter taste of Arabica coffee. Arabica coffee is primarily grown in regions with the right altitude and climate conditions. Some well-known Arabica-producing regions include Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, and many others.
Arabica beans are the preferred choice for the production of specialty and gourmet coffees. These beans are often carefully harvested, processed, and roasted to preserve their distinct flavors and aromas. Arabica beans are frequently used in coffee blends to enhance the flavor complexity and overall quality of the blend. Many espresso blends, for example, incorporate Arabica beans for their desirable taste characteristics.
Arabica coffee represents a significant portion of the global coffee market, but its cultivation and production are often more limited due to the specific requirements for its growth. It is worth noting that Arabica coffee can be more expensive than Robusta due to its higher quality and the challenges associated with its cultivation.
Geisha coffee, also spelled Gesha coffee, is a highly sought-after and prized variety of Arabica coffee. It is renowned for its unique and distinctive flavor profile, often described as exceptionally floral, tea-like, and complex. Geisha coffee has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most expensive and sought-after coffee varieties. Here are some key points about Geisha coffee.
Geisha coffee originated in the Gesha region of southwestern Ethiopia, near the town of Gesha. The name Geisha is derived from the region where it was first discovered. Geisha coffee variety is now grown in various coffee-producing regions worldwide.
Geisha coffee is known for its exceptional and unique flavor characteristics. It often features floral and fruity notes, such as jasmine, bergamot, and tropical fruit. The taste is delicate, with a bright and pronounced acidity and a tea-like quality. The complexity of Geisha coffee is highly prized by coffee connoisseurs. Geisha coffee plants are typically cultivated at higher elevations, usually between 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The elevation, combined with the specific climate and soil conditions, contributes to the distinctive flavor profile of Geisha coffee.
Geisha coffee is relatively scarce and commands premium prices in the coffee market. Due to its limited availability and the meticulous care required for cultivation, processing, and harvesting, it is often one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Geisha coffee is a coffee varietal, which means it is a distinct subspecies or variety of Arabica coffee. Different varietals have unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Geisha is particularly recognized for its exceptional flavor.
Geisha coffee is considered one of the pinnacle offerings in the world of specialty coffee. It is often featured in high-end coffee shops and is favored by coffee aficionados who appreciate its exquisite taste. Geisha coffee is often processed using special methods, such as natural or honey processing, to further enhance its flavor characteristics.
Geisha coffee has gained a cult following among coffee enthusiasts, and it is often associated with competitions and awards in the specialty coffee industry. The demand for Geisha coffee has driven increased cultivation and exploration of different regional expressions of this unique coffee varietal.
A 7-pound batch of geisha coffee that was cultivated over 6,500 feet at an extremely high elevation and processed with honey was just auctioned off, making it the most expensive coffee in the world. In 2022, this unroasted geisha green coffee sold for an astounding $6,034 per pound.
As coffee’s popularity spread, various brewing methods and techniques were developed. This led to the creation of different coffee styles, such as espresso, French press, and drip coffee. Today, coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with a rich and diverse culture surrounding it. The methods of cultivation, roasting, and brewing have evolved over the centuries, and coffee has become a global commodity, enjoyed by people from all walks of life.