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WAKE-UP FULL OF BEANS

We have 'energetic' goats to thank for our lattes, write Andrea Nagel

Coffee is the substance that gives you those few essential extra hours in the day. About two billion cups of the stuff are consumed globally every 24 hours, making the world a far more productive place.

I had purposefully skipped my morning cup when went to meet London School of Coffee graduate Chris Brown, also director of The Daily Buzz chain of corporate workplace coffee bars.  It was noon on a Friday, and I needed a fix. I’m not a big coffee drinker. I average one or two cups a day, but saving myself for Brown proved to be a challenge. He sensed this and immediately offered me a cup before launching into his spiel.

According to legend, the coffee bean was first discovered  in the ninth century in Ethiopia when a goat herder by the name of Kaldi noticed that his goats’ energy levels  seemed to improve after eating red berries off a local shrub,'' said Brown.

“Kaldi decided to try the berries and felt rejuvenated and energised.'' Then the Arabs developed a taste for it and, from

there it spread to the rest of the world.

Beans usually come from developing countries in central and North America, central and North Africa and Asia. Best beans are a personal taste

and depend the   time of year and crop.”

Brown explained that coffee culture was first developed in Italy and then spread to America, where it has become a commercial enterprise.

Ini Italy you have the four Ms.

Macinazione is the proper grinding of the beans and suitable for the process. Espresso uses a fine grind, and French press a coarse grind to percolate the coffee. Beans should always be freshly ground and used straight away. Then there’s miscela, the blend. Macchina, the machinery, must be cleaned as well and used properly. Lastly, mano refers to the hand of the maker.” There are two types of coffee beans, explained Brown. Arabica is considered of higher quality, but is a more fickle bean. It is less prolific, so more expensive. Robusta beans grow with ease and are more robust, but less tasty. And what about the most expensive coffee in the world, made from beans extracted from the excrement of the Asian palm civet, I ask? “That’s Kopi Luwak coffee and costs about R900 a cup,” said Brown. “I would describe it as a crap cup of coffee. There are far better coffees available for those who want to spend more, like peaberry coffee.”

CONSIDER THE COFFEES

Affogato
Coffee-based dessert of ice cream topped with espresso.

Breve
Coffee made with half steamed and half cream milk.

Caffé Americano
Espresso mixed with hot water

Caffé latté
One-third espresso and two-thirirds streamed milk with a little foam on top.

Cappuccino
Prepared with espresso, hot milk, and less steamed milk than the latté. Foam on top, acts as an insulator, keeping the drink hot.

Decaf
Made with decaffeinated beans.

Doppio
Double espresso shot in any coffee drink.

Espresso
Brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Servings are usually smaller than other cups.

Irish Coffee
Combined with whiskey and cream.

Macchiato
This is an Espresso with a dash of foamed milk, resembling a small cappuccino.

Ristretto
A very ‘short’ shot of espresso coffee.


TIMES, THE (Second Ed ion)
31 Jul 2013, p.16