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Introduction

A cup of coffee

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa (specifically having its origin in Ethiopia and Sudan) and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds (referred to as "beans") are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and then brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee.

Coffee is darkly colored, bitter, slightly acidic and has a stimulating effect in humans, primarily due to its caffeine content. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and it can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways (e.g., espresso, French press, caffè latte). It is usually served hot, although iced coffee is a popular alternative. Clinical studies indicate that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults, with continuing research on whether long-term consumption lowers the risk of some diseases, although those long-term studies are of generally poor quality.

The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in modern-day Yemen in southern Arabia in the middle of the 15th century in Sufi shrines. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a manner similar to how it is now prepared. But the coffee seeds had to be first exported from East Africa to Yemen, as Coffea arabica is thought to have been indigenous to the former. The Yemenis obtained their coffee via Somali traders from Berbera (who in turn procured the beans from the Ethiopian Highlands) and began to cultivate the seed. By the 16th century, the drink had reached Persia, Turkey, and North Africa. From there, it spread to Europe and the rest of the world.

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Coffee beans being sorted and pulped by workers and volunteers, on an organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee plantation in Guatemala.
Organic coffee is coffee produced without the aid of artificial chemical substances, such as certain additives or some pesticides and herbicides. According to the center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Costa Rica (CATIE), 75% of the world's organic coffee comes from Latin America. The world's primary producer and exporter of organic coffee is Honduras. Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are also major coffee producers. Organic coffee production is generally on the rise in Latin America. As of 2010, about 10% of one-time organic growers had given in to conventional production due to price competition. However, this trend is reversing as consumers increasingly demand organic goods and investors step in to supply loans with manageable interest rates.


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Vietnamese iced coffee ready to be stirred, poured over ice, and enjoyed
Credit: Mike Verdone

Vietnamese iced coffee at its simplest is made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice.

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...that Rüdesheimer Kaffee is an alcoholic coffee drink from Rüdesheim am Rhein in Germany invented in 1957 by the German television chef Hans Karl Adam?
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Cyrus Melikian (1920–2008) was an Armenian-American coffee industry pioneer credited with several inventions that propelled coffee use into the American public. He is credited, along with his business partner, Lloyd Rudd, as the inventor of coffee vending machines and the first US fresh-brew machine. Furthermore, Cyrus was instrumental in several other inventions, including coffee pods, post-mix vendor icemakers, and in-machine coffee bean grinders.

He initiated the Culinary Institute at Rockland Mansion in Fairmount Park. Melikian also established the Flavor-Maker Culinary Chef’s Training School, and taught there for 10 years. Melikian was awarded with the Person of the Year Award by the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal in 2002.


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