Coffee Past, Present and Planet

Know where that coffee you drink came from?

So, you drink coffee, huh. You, like millions of others worldwide, enjoy a cup of “joe” morning, noon or afternoon. Perhaps you sip it from your reusable coffee cup (trendy) or enjoy it from a “café near me” or one of the many coffee shops dotting the metropolitan and urban areas.

  

Goat Flips Out – Coffee Discovered

    • Goat chews red beans
    • Turns out to be coffee
    • Abbot drinks coffee – prays all night long
According to legend you can thank a goat centuries ago in Ethiopia that wandered off and chomped on some red beans and became very energetic, and was noticed by its goat herder. Given the crazy antics of most goats, one has to wonder how the goat herder even noticed this. Was it doing back flips? Trying to ride other goats? Who knows? We can but imagine.
   
The goat herder took his observation to the local monks where the abbot brewed a drink from them, drank it and found they could stay wide-eyed well into the evening as they prayed. The abbot passed his finding on to other monasteries, no doubt convinced the gods above had bestowed a blessing on them, and soon the message of the energy increasing beans began spreading. (National Coffee Association USA).
  
 

Before oil came coffee

    • The first black liquid gold from Arabia
    • Coffee houses all over Europe
    • Pope versus the bitter invention of Satan
    • Riches follow coffee

The Arabian Peninsula is well known today as a major source of oil, yet by the 16th century it was a hub of coffee cultivation and a source of wealth – the first black liquid gold. Yemen's climate and fertile soil offered the ideal conditions for cultivating rich coffee harvests. It must have been a marvel for travelers to behold – a land of alert, clear thinking, and wide awake inhabitants.

So impressed were the travelers and the results of gulping down coffee, over a hundred years later Europe was catching the coffee fervor with coffee houses springing up all over London – perhaps a foreshadowing of Starbucks to come 300 years later.

Though not everyone was happy. It was labeled the “bitter invention of Satan,” by the naysayers and a wellspring of protest grew so great that Pope Clement VIII intervened, tasting it and gave it God’s blessing. The Monks were vindicated.

With the renaissance and the age of enlightenment fully in hand by the 17th century, and religious restraint loosened, and of course, exploration of the new world (the Americas), coffee seeds were trapeised all over the world by merchants, shippers, brokers, missionaries, travelers, traders, colonists and artists – in short, the dark black beverage began waking the world up. By the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops (Home Ground).

 

Coffee Improves society

Prior to coffee’s introduction beer and wine were drunk as breakfast ailments. The mind boggles as to the state of the workplace and society after breakfast time – tiddly people wandering about though their happiness quotient would be high. As coffee consumption at breakfast increased, society must have become a more clear- headed productive place (Home Ground). Could we go as far as to say that coffee was instrumental in improving society? Perhaps.

 

The Coffee Industry As We Know It Today

Approximately 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year (Home Ground) – sixty six times more than people alive on the planet. 

Coffee is huge business and there are claims that it is the second-largest traded commodity on the planet, second only to oil. It’s of international importance. If you are a coffee drinker or coffee trader/grower, imagine waking up one morning only to discover that drones had obliterated one of the world’s major sources of coffee and the price had soared or coffee supplies dried up. Jobs and industries would be ground to a halt overnight. Cafes would be putting up out of stock signs, and people dragging their decaffeinated minds through the slog of the day.

Many of us have come to depend upon its uplifting properties and are now beholdened to it. The humble coffee bean is still the same, though of course it is now cultivated in South America and anywhere else it can thrive, and we have moved light years past the Monk’s first brewing attempt of simple hot water and coffee beans. Coffee is now roasted, ground, packaged, blended, graded, and served in a variety of ways.

 

Coffee Growers

A portion of the few dollars you pay for your coffee wend its way back to the coffee beans growers, arguably the most important people when it comes to your morning latte. However, as most coffee producing countries are still widely underdeveloped, it pays to enquire about the source of your beans,

Advocates like Fair Trade, who say there are over 125 million people globally whose livelihood depend on the coffee trade, are primarily focused on improving the lives and businesses of coffee producers by guaranteeing their fair pay and ethical treatment. 

Support of sustainable growers has been increasing steadily over the past few years and is projected to keep increasing. But with a trade this big we could be much more conscious of seeking out coffee beans that have been sustainably grown without causing deforestation, land erosion, or water erosion. If you want to know where you can get Fair Trade options you can see a great list here.

 

References

https://www.dailyemerald.com/arts-culture/the-environmental-impacts-of-a-cup-of-coffee/article_91d1dd12-29d4-11e9-a9f8-57afefbf473a.html

https://www.homegrounds.co/history-of-coffee/

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/2356/top-coffee-trends.html

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/coffee-pods-nespresso-recycling

http://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/history-of-coffee

https://www.marketplace.org/2019/01/23/cold-brew-coffee-straight-hotness-right-now/

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