Coffee is the eye opening component that starts those brain functioning engines that wake us up in the morning and keeps us going through the day. But just how much do we depend on that aromatic caffeine rush to help keep us awake and mobile well into the lunch hour? The survey says it could almost be compared to life support when it comes to our dependency to that first morning cup of Joe, and later it may be followed by an afternoon caffeine pick me up just to get those dying engines sputtering to life until dinner time.
It is completely evident as to why there was no turning back once we discovered the many benefits of relaxing with a hot cup of coffee, and thankfully the heavenly dark and robust brew is here to stay. And who would have guessed that a little bean once roasted would become a popular drink consumed by virtually every culture. The varied range of flavors from trial and error through the roasting process has only added to the hype and popularity of how coffee is enjoyed in almost every household today.
In 1583 coffee was described by Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician; as the beverage that is as black as ink, but possibly useful against many illnesses. You would think that a statement like that would have previously steered most of us away from the distinctively powerful java, but think again. A freshly brewed hot cup of coffee is a human magnet for tranquility here on Earth, and if the alluring aromatics don’t draw you in the taste most certainly will. I’d bet that the liquid once described as black ink is more then likely here to stay.
Luckily we have perfected the science of making coffee and have broadened the spectrum of color, taste, body and texture, making it one of the most popular drinks requested in restaurants worldwide. It is estimated that Ethiopians from the small town of Kaffa were enjoying the aromatic brew somewhere around the 9th century. Since then it has traveled worldwide making it one of the most consumed beverages in the world.
The coffee beans are actually berries that contain two beans which are picked from a tree, dried and stripped down to a green bean. This is where the roasting process begins, and the coffee bean doubles in size as water is extracted from the bean. The beans are then put through the process of roasting which eventually leads to a light, medium, or a dark brown color, depending on the desired flavor. Cream, sugar, flavorings, syrups, and swizzle sticks have become popular additions for enhancing the flavor of coffee, and are often seen at coffee stations in stores that sell the dark brew.
Coffee has become a popular part of American society since it was first introduced in 1607 by Captain John Smith. The Jamestown colonists in Virginia are believed to have been the first consumers of the aromatic brown beverage, but the first coffee house is believed to have opened in England around 1652 with the price of a cup of coffee being offered for one cent.
Coffee lovers will be delighted to know that a festival honoring the aromatic beverage is being held November 5-14, 2010 in Hawaii at the 40th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. A prelude for events to come starts on October 30th & 31st with a concert and pageant. Coffee tasting, a parade, recipe contest, art stroll, lantern stroll, and Kona coffee competition are all part of the festival. For more information go to: http://www.konacoffeefest.com/default.htm
Extreme Coffee Pots
Iowa’s Water Tower Coffee Pot
Just how important coffee has become to our society here in the United States can be seen in the proof along roadsides from California to Maine and again from Washington to North Carolina with Godzilla sized coffee pots with staggering heights of two-story buildings in most cases. In fact Stanton, Iowa wins the contest with a 90-foot towering Swedish style coffee pot that was erected in 1971 on Grand Avenue. The world’s largest coffee pot is a tribute to the birth place of the famous Mrs. Olson who kindly reminded viewers that Folgers coffee was “mountain grown, the richest kind of coffee.” http://thom.org/gallery/unnat/IASTcoffeepot/
Washington: Bob’s Java Jive
Another big roadside coffee pot can be seen in Tacoma, Washington. Visitors can unwind inside of a coffee pot while enjoying a steamy cup of robust house java. The attraction stands at a whopping 25-feet high and is 30-feet wide, and can be seen at 2102 S Tacoma Way just off of I-5 to the 38th St. exit. Turn right at S. Pine Street, and then you make a right at S. Tacoma Way. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2977
Pennsylvania: The Coffee Pot
Highway 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway is famously known for its wonderful historical buildings and roadside attractions, but one unique building stands out and alone. The two-story coffee pot has been greeting tired drivers since 1927 with fresh, strong cups of coffee. The building has had a recent make-over and now looks brand new as visitors come to see the famous landmark in Bedford at the entrance to the fairgrounds just off of highway 30. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/6177
The term “cowboy coffee” came to life when the old timers put coffee grounds into a clean sock and dipped it into a pot of cold water while heating it over an open flame or campfire. They would pour the coffee into tin cups and savor the dark rich flavor. The expression used to describe “cowboy coffee” also could mean that the coffee you are about to drink will put hair on your chest from it’s severe strength or that the coffee is as thick as mud and just as dark brown.
Italians favor espresso and usually drink it with sugar. Hot chocolate is favored by Belgians and Germans. In Mexico coffee is most often enjoyed with cinnamon. Bedouins typically add cardamom, ginger and other spices. A dollop of whipped cream is a favorite of the Austrians, and the Egyptians prefer plain, but dark robust coffee.
French Roast: Deep and smoky, dark roasted beans. Full bodied.
Arabica: Rich taste, smooth, mellow, and medium roasted beans and medium bodied. Less caffeine then other cultivated species.
Kona: Unless it states that it is 100% Kona, it is a 10% Kona-90% cheaper bean blend. Genuine Kona coffee is grown in deep volcanic soil and is considered fruity and sweet to smooth and mellow.
Espresso: Extremely dark coffee served in a mini cup due to its kick. It is also the base for other drinks from mochas to lattes.
Cappuccino: Diluted espresso. Equal parts of steamed milk, espresso and foamed milk make up the components of a cappuccino.
Latte: Espresso and steamed milk with flavored syrups topped with foamed milk. It can be served hot or cold.
Barista: Italian in origin, it was originally a term that referred to a male or female bartender, who typically worked behind a counter. Starbucks made the name synonymous with coffee lovers everywhere when they hit the scene in 1971 and eventually opened more then 15,000 stores in over 50 countries. A Barista is an Italian term for skillful and experienced espresso bar operator.