One Cup at a Time A Global view on coffee

The Coffee Belt

All commercially grown coffee comes from a region known as the coffee belt. It is located between latitudes 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South. Coffee plants thrive in this area due to nutrient rich soils and an optimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee is grown between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Brazil is the top coffee producer of the world. It averages 22.5 million 60-killogram bags per year. Columbia is the second highest coffee producing country with 10.5 million bags produced. Its coffee is grown in the moisture and altitude of the Andes Mountain Range. Ethiopia is home to the most popular coffee tree, the Arabica. Ethiopia is Africa's top exporter of Arabica beans and is the leading country in Africa for coffee consumption. It produces 3.8 million bags of coffee annually. Hawaii is the only state in United States that grows coffee.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. Over 1,400 million cups of coffee are consumed around the world daily.

The Origins of Coffee

The English word "coffee"comes from the Arabic word "kaweh," which translates to strength and vigor. The coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century and it spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

The most notable story of the origins of coffee is related to King Louis XIV of France. The first coffee tree was planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. It's known as the Noble Tree. The Dutch began growing coffee on the Island of Java, current day Indonesia, in 1696. The Dutch gifted the Noble Tree to King Louis. The French wanted to contain coffee within their territories because it was in high demand. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu smuggled a seed from the Noble Tree and introduced coffee to South America at Martinique.

Early Day Coffee Houses

The first coffee house in the world was found in Arabia in the 16th Century. The first coffee house in Europe opened in Venice in 1645. Furthermore, coffee houses sprung up around England. Coffee houses were a social hotspot at the time. They were called "penny universities" because a cup of coffee cost a penny. By the 17th century, London had more than 300 coffee houses.

America opened its first coffee house in 1676, which was located in Boston, Massachusetts. Almost one hundred years later, the Sons of Liberty partook in a political protest known as the Boston Tea Party. The tea was dumped into the Boston Harbor as a message to King George III of England that America was fed up with his taxation. After that, coffee became the drinking preference of early America.

"Coffee- the favorite drink of the civilized world." - Thomas Jefferson
Boston Tea Party, 1773.

Anatomy of a Coffee Cherry

The beans that are used to brew coffee come from a fruit, called the coffee cherry. The outer surface of the cherry is covered in exocarp. Beneath that is a pulp layer, known as mesocarp. The beans themselves are covered in endocarp, or the parchment. There are two beans within the cherry. Each been is covered in a thin membrane that the coffee experts refers to as the silver skin. Only 5% of the world's coffee cherries contain one lone seed. This is a natural mutation that is called a peaberry. Some people think that peaberry cherries produce sweeter coffee with bolder flavor.

From Seed to Cup

Coffee plants live between 60 to 70 years. Most species take about 4 years to reach maturity. The average coffee tree produces 10 pounds of coffee cherries per year.

The Steps of Production

  • Planting the Seeds
  • Harvesting Cherries: Cherries take 3 to 4 years to reach maturity. They are ready to harvest when they are deep red in color.
  • Processing: Cherries need to dry until their internal moisture level is equal to or less than 11%. The Dry Method lets cherries soak up the sun to dry them out. This takes a few weeks. The Wet Method is used more frequently. The cherries go through a pulping machine, are sorted by weight, and then soaked in a fermentation tank for 12-48 hours. Then the beans are dried.
  • Milling: The endocarp of the layer is removed from the beans. Polishing of the beans is optional and has no effect on the taste. Beans are sorted by weight and size. All defective beans are removed.
  • Exporting: Beans leaving for exportation are called "green coffee." The coffee beans are left green to ensure freshness. The USDA estimated that in 2015/2016 the world would ship 152.7 million 60-killogram bags of green coffee.
Coffee Cherries, Milling Process, & Green Beans.


Turkish Coffee Reading

Tasseography- the divination or fortune reading in tea leaves, coffee, or wine sediments.

The practice of coffee reading dates back to the 16th century. Turkish coffee reading involves using thick, ground coffee. You drink the coffee from a white cup, and only put your mouth on one spot of the cup. This ensures the lines created from the coffee sediments are distinct and easy to read.

Rules to Turkish Coffee Reading:

  • Never interpret your own cup. Someone should read the sediments for you.
  • The reading starts from the cup handle and moves outward.
  • Leave one sip of coffee left in your cup so the sediments can easily move around.
  • Make a personal wish. This is the most important step, because the reader will tell you if your wish will come true.
  • Swirl the coffee three times and then flip it onto a saucer. The cup should sit for about five minutes so the coffee sediments have time to dry.
  • If you want to investigate love or relationships, you should put a ring on the bottom of the cup. If you want to investigate money or finances, you should put a coin on the bottom of the cup.
  • Cup readings involve the sediments in the cup and sediments on the saucer.

Interpreting the Sediments

  • When the reader lifts the cup up from the saucer . . . if big chunks of grounds fall onto the saucer then your troubles are leaving you. If a pile of grounds forms then money is coming your way. If the reader can pick the saucer and cup up as one unit then it is called a prophet's cup; so all your wishes will come true.
  • Before beginning, a personal wish was made. If the sediments are light in color then your personal wish will come true. Your personal wish won't come true if the sediments are dark in color.
  • There are 5 major categories to section off your cup for a reading. The most common is the 5-section reading. In this style, the left area represents present time. The right area presents the future. The handle area represents love related events. The front rim represents financial matters, and the bottom area represents family affairs.
  • Symbols formed from the sediments should be interpreted as a whole. Individual symbol interpretation is not accurate.

The Red Cup

Every year since 1997, Starbucks launched it's annual red holiday cup on November First. For most Starbucks addicts, the red holiday cup represents the beginning of the holiday season. This year's red cups feature various designs created by 13 costumers from different countries around the world. The cups will be served in more than 25,000 Starbucks stores across 75 countries. That way, holiday spirit from around the world can be shared.

The 2016 cups have been the focal point of hundreds of photos across all social media platforms.

"Tis the Season"
"Favorite time of the year"
Red Cup Fashion Design

Interestingly enough, Starbucks launched this years red holiday cup on November Eleventh due to a surprise green cup.

The Green Cup Controversy

Starbucks green cups were released on November First. The cup was created by artist Shogo Ota. The cups were intended to represent unity among all people, but the good intent was backlashed by angry Starbucks costumers. Instead of enjoying the green cup, people demanded Starbucks to bring back the annual red cups.

"Mosaic of more than a hundred people drawn in one continuous stroke."

Starbucks received harsh responses to the cup on all social media sites, but the most notable was Twitter. Most people claimed was affiliated with politics because it was released a week before the very controversial 2016 United States Election.

Would You Drink Poop?

The world's most expensive coffee is Kopi Luwak, and it can sell for as much as $80 per cup in America. The reason why this coffee is so expensive is because it is collected from feces of a catlike animal, called a civet.

Now, coffee plantations are keeping civets in captivation. This is a popular practice in Indonesia. Farmers only feed the animals coffee cherries because the digestive enzymes of civets change the protein structure within the beans. This results in beens that are less acidic, so the coffee taste smoother. The poop is collected, the beans are removed, and then the beans are sold at a high price.

Created By
Rea Sanger


Created with images by tsaiproject - "Coffee"

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