September 19, 2020

A mug of coffee, anyone?

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Many of us have drunk a mug of coffee during the quiet moments of our day. We drink it to jolt our systems when our system is falling asleep and we still need to work.

Once upon a time, an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi found his goats dancing joyously around a dark green leafed shrub with bright red cherries in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.  Kaldi soon determined that it was the bright red cherries on the shrub that were causing the peculiar euphoria and after trying the cherries himself, he learned of their powerful effect. Monks at a local monastery learnt of this and exploited it to stay awake during extended hours of prayer. They distributed it to other monasteries around the world.

Well, so legend has it. It is now acknowledged that the first coffee plants came from Ethiopia and ended up in the Yemen where it was cultivated since the 6th century. In Cairo and Mecca coffee is now a passion and not just a stimulant. Thanks to the varying tastes of people, many delicious blends have resulted and not just from Arabia. Coffee is now grown all over the world and each area produces coffee that is unique to the soil it grows in. These are the main countries: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republix, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Coffee is a complex drink that is drunk at any time during the day. It is enjoyed by many millions.There are so many varieties and blends that it can be bewildering. As the character Tom Hanks played in “You’ve Got Mail” said, “It is a challenge to choose (coffee) for those, who have difficulty making decisions, to go into a Starbucks shop, because suddenly you are asked to make six, all
in one go.”

It is always good to learn new things and try out new tastes, but it helps if you can learn what blends may match your taste without your having to waste money on a mug that you discover is absolutely unappealing after the first sip. Coffee is like wine. To truly appreciate it you need to use all your senses and savour not only the taste of each brew but its aroma as well. The scent alone of coffee is enough for some of us to relax. Coffee reminds us of home or a place to just hang out, kick back and relax even if you are sitting in the middle of a crowded cafe, or worse still, taking a coffee break at WORK!

Learning how to make great coffee at home instead of always buying from the local cafe is actually more rewarding. There are many Internet blogs that give practical tips on how to make coffee. I find them invaluable. For various coffee recipes, be it brew or food flavoured with this delicious ingredient, add an interesting and helpful touch. It’s always nice to work with recipes that other people have already found to be successful. I have also found that a really good website is www.coffeeresearch.org. Founded in 1999, CoffeeResearch.org was the first Web site dedicated to coffee education with comprehensive coverage on all aspects of coffee. The research on their site is the culmination of a year of travel studying coffee with the foremost experts around the world.

These are the general rules they recommend to make a good mug of coffee. Coffee should be brewed for 4.5-5 minutes using a ratio of 55 grams of ground coffee per litre of filtered water (195-205°F). It is convenient to use 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of filtered water. Filtered water and spring water are recommended. Tap water imparts off flavours to the coffee and some minerals are essential to coffee flavour. Distilled water is not recommended for brewing coffee as it lacks the minerals to bring out the natural flavours of the coffee.

There is much to experience about coffee and many people to enjoy it.  You may want to enjoy a mug while reading today’s iNews.

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