What is Coffee, The World’s Most Popular Drink’s Origins

It is safe to claim that coffee is the world’s favorite drink. But it is more than a beverage as coffee is an art, a science, an economy, a culture, and most importantly, a passion. Whether you are a beginner in the world of coffee or espresso expert, there is always more to know about this beloved beverage.

What is coffee? To most people, it is a beverage prepared from brewing roasted coffee beans, which are berries’ seeds from certain Coffea species. When we talk about the origin of coffee, it is native to tropical Africa and is grown in more than 70 countries in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia.

The commonly grown coffee plants are the coffea arabica and C. robusta. When the coffee cherry ripens, they are picked, processed, and dried. The dried coffee cherry are roasted depending on the flavor desired. The roasted beans are ground, then brewed using near-boiling water to create the beverage known worldwide as coffee.

Coffee is a darkly colored beverage. It is bitter, slightly acidic, and has stimulating effects because of its caffeine content. Coffee consumption has risen steadily because it helps perk people up at the beginning of the day.  Coffea arabica is one of the most popular drinks in the world. 

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Coffees can be prepared and served in different ways, such as espresso, cappuccino, latte, and many more. Coffee is traditionally served hot, with iced coffee becoming a popular alternative. Many studies have shown that moderate consumption of coffee is mildly beneficial in healthy adults, with continuing studies conducted on the merit of drinking coffee to lower the risk of diseases.

Coffees, like coffea arabica, are  believed to have originated in Ethiopia and Sudan. Still, the earliest evidence of drinking coffee that is similar to the present-day beverage known worldwide appeared in Yemen in the middle of the 15th century. It was in that part of the world where people first learn to roast the mature coffee cherry and brew them in a manner that is almost the same as how people today prepare their drinks.

The coffees roasted and brewed in Yemen were brought by Somali traders from Berbera who procured their beans from the farmers of the Ethiopian Highlands. By the 16th century, coffee drinking has reached present-day Iran, Turkey, and North Africa. From those countries, coffee plants spread to Europe and the rest of the world.

Brazil is the current leading place where Arabica beans are grown. A third of the world’s total coffee production came from that country. Coffee is one of the most valuable exports by developing countries to the countries of the first world that consumes much of the coffee in the world.

What Does Coffee Do to the Body?

Is coffee bad for you? Drinking coffee brings a magical feeling, but a lot is happening inside the body when you enjoy your first cup of the day. People drink out because they like its taste, drink it out of habit, or rely on it for an energy boost. But what does coffee do after you drink it first thing in the morning?

The coffee that you drink comes from a coffee cherry that contains polyphenols, and phytonutrients which are chemical compounds from plants that have antioxidant benefits. But it is coffee’s caffeine content that people know. It is also the part with the most studies and researches. There have been research on caffeine, and the benefits of coffee to your body, from your brain to your bowels.

The caffeine enters your bloodstream quickly after you gulp your morning coffee. It takes about ten minutes after drinking coffee for the caffeine work. Caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, which serve as a depressant for the nervous system. Its presence promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. When caffeine comes in and binds to the receptors, the effects of adenosine decrease, and you become highly stimulated. The stimulation increases neural activity that, in turn, stimulates the release of adrenaline, giving us the big boost of energy and attentiveness that people now associate as the benefit of coffee. The consumption of caffeine also leads to a boost in memory. This another of the known coffee benefits people enjoy.

But, what about the side effects of coffee? Drinking coffee or taking caffeine later in the day may predispose you to develop sleep problems or insomnia or make it worse if you have it already. If you drink coffee close to bedtime, chances are it will keep you awake. If you are prone to develop insomnia, a habit of drinking coffee several times a day can trigger chronic insomnia. 

Coffee is a helpful boost when you are tired but will not help you keep your energy in the long term. You need good sleep to get that energy.

Is Coffee a Vegetable or Fruit?

People can easily recognize a coffee cherry, but they are not likely to identify the actual coffee plant. Coffee trees can grow to more than 30 feet high, but pruned short to aid in harvesting. Each coffee tree has green, waxy leaves that grow opposite each other in pairs. The coffee cherries grow along the branches. They grow in a continuous cycle making it common to see coffee flowers, green fruit, and ripe fruit on the same coffee tree. 

The coffee cherries mature about a year from the first flowering. Coffee plants are most productive between the ages of 7 and two, although the trees can last up to 100 years. The average coffee tree could produce approximately ten pounds of cherries each year, which is about 2 pounds of green coffee beans.

Coffee is the seed of the coffee tree. The seed is found inside the cherry-like fruit and is called a bean. Again, coffee is not technically a bean. 

During harvest, the entire coffee fruit is picked and sent through a pulper to remove the fruit. Another option to dry the seeds inside the red outer layer.

Coffee beans on tree

Being a fruit, coffee that the potential to have a range of fruit flavors. Depending on the variety of coffee and the brewing method used, coffee can be made to taste like lemon zest, white grape, strawberry jam, plum juice, and more. Many years ago, roasted coffee was darker and tasted like caramel or chocolate. Currently, coffee roasters pay more attention to the flowery and naturally occurring flavors of the coffee beans.

Is coffee good for you? What are the benefits of drinking black coffee?

When people think of coffee, they usually associate it with its ability to provide a boost of energy. But more than the energy boost, coffee can also offer other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of liver cancers, heart failure, and type 2 diabetes.

Coffee is a popular drink worldwide, with more than 2.25 billion cups of the brew served each day. Because of the extensive consumption of coffee, researchers have looked at its benefits for various health conditions, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, and liver ailments. The researchers found evidence to support some claims, but not all of them.

Coffee contains many useful nutrients such as niacin, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, and various phenolic compounds. Many experts claim that these and other ingredients in coffee benefit the human body in many ways.

Benefits of drinking coffee:

  • 1. Diabetes

Coffee is believed to help protect people against type 2 diabetes. Researchers found in 2014 that those people who increased the amount of coffee they drink by at least a cup per day for four years could have an 11 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not add to their intake.

A meta-analysis done in 2017 has concluded that people who regularly drink four to six cups a day, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, appeared to have lower their risk of metabolic syndrome, such as type 2 diabetes.

  • 2. Parkinson's Disease

Studies have shown that caffeine in coffee or from other beverages may help protect people against Parkinson’s disease. Through various methods, a research team has found out that those who drink more than four cups of coffee each day could have a five times lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than those who do not.

The caffeine in coffee can help control movement in people with Parkinson’s disease.

A meta-analysis in 2017 has suggested a link between the consumption of coffee and a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, even among subjects who smoke. The study also found out that people who regularly drink coffee are less likely to suffer from depression and other cognitive conditions.

However, there are not enough studies to prove that drinking decaffeinated coffee can help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

  • 3. Liver Cancers and other liver diseases

Researchers from Italy found that people who consume coffee have lower risks of liver cancers. It is suggested that people who drink three cups of coffee per day could have a 50% lower risk.

A study in 2017 found that the consumption of coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer, cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. People who consume coffee may also have a lower risk of gallstone disease.

Research has found out that people with primary sclerosing cholangitis were more likely to be consuming less coffee than people without the condition.

Another study in 2014 showed a link between the consumption of coffee and a lower risk of dying from non-viral hepatitis-related cirrhosis.

  • 4. Heart health

A study has concluded that moderate use of coffee may protect against heart failure. People who drink moderate amounts of coffee every day have an 11% lower risk of heart failure compared to those who did not. There is no research on what happens when people drink a lot of coffee, though.

How is Coffee Made?

People know that coffee beans grow on a tree without knowing that coffee does not start in the form of a bean. A coffee bean is the seed of a specific type of berries. Coffee berries contain beans that are split in two. Some beans do not split and they are called Peaberry because the shape resembles a pea. 

The berries are picked by hand or harvested by a machine. The flesh of the berry is removed, and the beans are processed. Beans are handled either by dry or wet processing.

In dry processing methods, the beans are placed under the sun to dry. These are dried for around two weeks while being turned from time to time for even drying. Wet processing involves washing of the newly harvested beans followed by bean fermentation. During the process, the pulp of the beans becomes soft and rinsed off. After processing, the beans are sorted with the bad beans thrown out and the good ones bagged and shipped. The beans at this stage are called green coffee beans.

Roasting is the final step in coffee production. Roasting methods require perfect timing and the ideal temperature. The beans split, and their coating released during roasting. The strength of the coffee flavor depends on the roasting formula. The longer roasting time results in more intense flavor.

Coffee process

Once the roasting is complete, the finished product is shipped to retailers or directly to the consumer. The roasted beans are ground and brewed to make the most popular beverage in the world.

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