I. A. About the Industry
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a distinct aroma and flavor, prepared from the roasted seeds of the Coffea plant. A coffee plant is usually a bush or small tree that grows to 10-12 feet (although it can grow up to 32 feet) and can produce coffee beans for decades. It can live for between 60 and 70 years. It can take up to four years for a coffee tree to reach maturity and bear fruit. The English word coffee originates from the Arabic word ‘kaweh’ meaning strength or vigor. The seeds are found in coffee "cherries", which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Coffee is slightly acidic (pH 5.0–5.1) and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content. Commercial coffee is grown in an area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn affectionately known as the “bean belt”. In order for the coffee plant to thrive, it needs moderate sunshine and rain, porous soil and constant temperatures between 65 and 75ºF. Before the coffee bean can be used to make coffee, it has to be roasted. The roasting process changes the color of the green coffee beans. First they turn yellow and then brown. The longer they roast the darker they become. The strongest roasts result in black beans. At the same time, the heat causes changes in the taste and smell of the beans. Aromatic oils are released that bring out the flavor of coffee. In the nineteenth century, people roasted their coffee at home on their stoves or over open fires. Nowadays, the commercial coffee roasters use enormous ovens to roast the coffee. Temperature and time are carefully controlled, sometimes by computers, because just a few seconds can dramatically change the final flavor of the coffee. The roasting can be done in just a minute. In general, a light roast gives a mild taste, a medium roast produces a well–rounded, rich flavor and aroma and a high roast gives a strong, distinctive flavor. Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks after water. Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world after oil. Over 1400 million cups of coffee are drunk around the world each day. The majority of coffee is consumed at breakfast.
Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seeds, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are also the most highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the "robusta" form of the hardier Coffea canephora. The latter is resistant to the devastating coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix). Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.
An important export commodity, coffee was the top agricultural export for twelve countries in 2004, and it was the world's seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005. Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Consequently, organic coffee is an expanding market. The top 10 coffee-producing countries are: Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Guatemala , Vietnam, Côte d’Ivoire, Mexico and Uganda.
The emotional and physical benefits of coffee are numerous. Not only does coffee taste good, it can stimulate, relax and refresh the body. Coffee stimulates the senses through its caffeine content which stimulates metabolism and supports mental alertness and concentration. The body absorbs it within 30 minutes, and its positive effects may last 2-5 hours. Coffee relaxes the body because it hydrates it. Because water is the main ingredient in a cup of coffee, it helps the body work towards its daily water needs and is practically free of calories. Coffee...