Guest Post: The History of Mankind’s Social Beverage – Coffee & Coffee Beans
Coffee we take it for granted both as a beverage and vehicle of social interaction. Yet few of us marvel at coffee – the origin of coffee from coffee plant beans and how on earth coffee was discovered and its very history and origins.
Ever since its migration from north-east Africa to Arabia itself many hundreds of years ago, this vital bean has played a multi-faceted role in the molding of history and indeed of man’s development , social interactions and indeed societal and continental development and explorations. The short hop across the Red Sea helped alter social , political and economic life not only in the continents of Africa and the Middle East themselves , but as well in mainland Europe, Britain and “the Americas” as well and in addition. Coffee and those coffee beans and plants have made the fortunes and even misfortunes as well of more than a myriad few souls , firms and even whole countries.
Coffee and those little beans have oiled the wheels of communication and mans progress, along the way inspired creative minds, stimulated the tired and for countless imbibers the world over has become a daily necessity.
Coffee both as a beverage itself , a social vehicle and a conduit of great social and intellectual interactions and interactions has had such an influence on mankind and mankind’s social and philosophical interactions and developments there are no shortage of historical claims of whom invented ( of found the lord’s gift to coffee drinkers) , who domesticated the product and developed agricultural methods to increase production of the bean from a few stray bushes to an international industry and as well who developed and grew the international commerce in the trade from simple local trading at the marketplace to worldwide global trading as a commodity. Coffee and the history of the coffee bean has a life , traditions and fables all of its own of which there is no shortage and shortages of people , cultures and communities willing to take credit for.
Yet to begin with what is the basic botany of the plant and bean? Coffee it seems grows from a nut or what some call a “fruit” (even though it’s a hard bean) from a low lying shrub whose lineage and genetics is part of the “evergreen family”. That is not to say that your daily coffee drink comes from a plant related to your yearly Christmas tree. Coffee plants don’t grow worldwide. They are sequestered generally and flourish in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe and are not found in colder Northern or even areas south of equator where temperatures are not good and hot for the growing seasons of the beans. The trees (or shrubs) produce almost fragile bundles of jasmine scent flowers and fruits which you might think are simply nuts. These bundles of the beans from the flowers since they are referred to as “fruit” or “fruits “ of the coffee plants are also labeled in the trade with fruit type monikers and are known in the trade as “cherries”. Hidden in each of these cherry fruit compartments, protected by both pulp and parchment from the harsh elements of the climate are two single – essentially a pair – of coffee beans themselves. It’s an amazing fact of the commercial coffee trade that since approximately four thousand individual beans are needed to produce one single pound weight of coffee, few commodities requires so much effort in terms of human effort, energy, devotion and care.
Yet if you were to ask your local coffee drinker in line at a nearby coffee or donut shop they would tell you that all the effort and painstaking attention to those coffee shrubs and beans is more than well worth the efforts for the final result for their daily morning “java”.
About the Author: Lyall B. Pollock involved in Wedding Planning services including King Cole Catering who provide Winnipeg Wedding Catering (Plan your spring 2012 weddings now) or Book south Wpg Fort Garry banquet hall rental, photographers and florists. Image credit: f_mafra on Flickr