According to legend, Kaldi was the Ethiopian
goatherder who discovered the coffee plant
"The myth of Kaldi the Ethiopian goatherd and his
dancing goats, the coffee origin story most frequently
encountered in Western literature, embellishes the credible
tradition that the Sufi encounter with coffee occurred
in Ethiopia, which lies just across the narrow passage
of the Red Sea from Arabia's western coast."
Kaldi, noticing the energizing effects when his flock
nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush (they
had become dancing goats), chewed on the fruit himself.
His exhilaration prompted him to bring the berries to
an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. But the holy
man disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire,
from which an enticing aroma billowed. The roasted beans
were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved
in hot water, yielding the world's first cup of coffee.
The green coffee beans have no flavor
or aroma and are just a pale green shadow of their future
dark brown selves. All of the flavor and aroma that we
enjoy in coffee is created by roasting the beans.
coffee beans are heated to between 180ºC and 240ºC
for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the degree of roast required.
The longer the coffee is roasted the darker it becomes.
During the roasting process moisture is lost and the bean
"pops" audibly rather like popcorn. A chemical
reaction takes place: starches are converted into sugar,
proteins are broken down and the whole cellular structure
of the bean is altered. The heating process precipitates
the release of coffee oil, or what is called "caffeol",
which is the essence of coffee.
This essence of coffee is what we enjoy in the cup. It is
also volatile and water soluble, so once the coffee beans
have been roasted until dark, the flavor can be damaged
by moisture, light and especially by oxygen.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARABICA AND ROBUSTA COFFEE
While there are several different coffee species, two main
species of coffee are cultivated today. Coffea arabica,
known as Arabica coffee, accounts for 75-80 percent of the
world's production. Coffea canephora, known as Robusta coffee,
accounts for about 20 percent and differs from the Arabica
coffees in terms of taste. While Robusta coffee beans are
more robust than the Arabica plants, Robusta produces an
inferior tasting beverage with a higher caffeine content.