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The Essence of Coffee

The Essence of A1 Coffee

from the 'Ola Cafe' Website



Definition of A1 Coffee = "A satisfying cup of coffee!". 

Did you know an astonishing 400 billion cupfuls are drunk every year? And the number keeps growing expotentially, year-on-year. In essence, coffee is second only to water for the amount consumed. That means copious quantities. In another comparison, next to petroleum, coffee is the most widely traded commodity. And, like any other popular commodity, coffee has its share of folkloric controversy. Anything from being the drink of the devil - an evil brew, even to being the drink that causes impotence, along with many other rancid comments. Yet, over a cup or multiple cups of coffee, literary masterpieces have been created; national milestones negotiated and classic oratories written that have changed the course of history not to mention medical advances, huge business deals and major events - all of which have percolated over innocent cups of coffee, yet are quite incidental to it.

But a coffee is a coffee. It is one of life's little pleasures. There is nothing quite so appealing as a coffee to put the world to right. The appeal starts with that enticing aroma. But, a good 'cuppa coffee' like a classy wine, takes special preparation and dedication through specialized processes and cultivation. That is where the similarity ends. Wine relaxes the body and dull the senses. Coffee sobers rather than intoxicates as best expressed in the line: 

“ and cheers the spirit, without making mad ...."

A line that was written by an unknown scholar in 1674, after coffee was introduced to Europe. 

"Coffee" : ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Turkish "kahveh", from Arabic "ḳahwa", probably via Dutch "koffie".

And just like wine, coffee needs blending, nurturing and the so many other preparations that go to make a memorable drinking experience.



Coffee Terminology

Coffee too has its own descriptive language and terminology: 

"Acidity level of Coffee " – Carrot and black coffee has almost the same pH level - 5. It is acidity in coffee that gives it a special liveliness, color and brightness.

"Arabica Coffee " - Arabica (Coffea arabica L) is both the older and the higher quality of two main types of coffee bean. The other is Robusta. Arabica is the more preferable as it contains less caffeine; its superior full bodied taste makes it more desirable and consequently more expensive. It is harder to cultivate also as the coffee bushes grow best at altitudes between 3,500 to 7,000 feet above sea level with a fairly constant temperature that is about 24 degrees Celcius and an annual rainfall of 50 inches. Mocha, from Yemen, and Java, from Indonesia. are the two most well known varieties, named after their original growing areas.

"Bourbon" is a coffee varietal first grown in Liberia in West Africa. Its cultivation was not seriously pursued for sometime because, although it has more character and taste, it does not yield as well as the other Arabica varietals. With the current popularity of coffee however, its cultivation is again being rejuvenated. Bourbon is now associated with "unblended" coffee - beans from just one place i.e. Rwanda Blue Bourbon. This is something that coffee aficionados look for.

"Coffee Blends" - Blending coffee is an art. You could compare it to an artist skilfully mixing colors on his palette. Coffee blenders take beans grown from all over the world, mix them together to craft a taste that is special that cannot be achieved with coffee beans from a single origin.

"Body" - Refers to the “feel” factor of coffee in the mouth. The body of the coffee can be suited to be light, delicate, thin, syrupy or buttery. 

"Decaffeinating" / "Decaf" – is a process of reducing the caffeine content of the coffee beans. Several processes could be applied to remove the caffeine content. One is through use of chemicals; another is through the use of different water processes and lastly the application of carbon dioxide. In all decaffeinating process, the paramount concern though is to preserve the natural flavor of the coffee bean.

"Coffee Grade" - is classifying the beans by their density and size. The highest grade is called premium and attracts higher bids at auctions.

"Processing" - is the separation of the flesh from the coffee bean. The two types of processing are referred to as dry and washed. In the dry processing method, the vibrant red color beans (also referred to as "cherries") are spread on the ground to dry in the sun. They are raked several times each day so that drying is even. After two to three weeks, the dried outer skin, the flesh is cracked off. Dry processing produces an earthier flavor and a syrupy texture in your coffee. The washing method is simply to let the beans stand in cold water so that it ferments until such time as the skin can be easily washed off. The beans are then dried. In essence, this approach to processing preserves the natural flavors in the coffee beans.

"Robusta Coffee" - The Robusta (Coffea canephora L) coffee beans thrive where the Arabica varietal does not. It is planted on lower elevations and provides better yields. Compared to Arabica coffee beans, the Robusta has a more bitter taste to it that is sometimes compared to somewhat like 'burnt rubber'. Robustas can also give a foamy head that makes it the preferred coffee bean used in the Italian favourite, espresso.

Coffee beans today are cultivated in many countries in the world and graded according to their characteristics. Distinction often is dependent on size, flavour, caffeine content, acidity and mouthfeel.

Are you a coffee connoisseur? Or to you, is a cup of coffee just another cup of coffee? If it is blended well, roasted and prepared well, the proof of its quality is for most, in the drinking enticed by the pungent aroma. 

Have you been tempted to make a cup of coffee yet on reading this page? If not, go ahead, treat yourself, make an A1 potful, there is a lot more from Ola ! Cafe! your compendium of information on this comprehensive website.
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