Coffee is one of the most beloved and consumed beverages around the world, enjoyed every day by millions of people.
Originating in Ethiopia, coffee has a millennia-old history that has influenced the traditions and cultures of many parts of the world. But coffee is not just a drink with a unique and intense flavor, there are many fascinating curiosities that may surprise you!
In this article, we will delve into some curiosities about coffee that you (perhaps) did not know, to discover everything that makes this drink so special and intriguing.
History of Coffee
The history of coffee is long and fascinating, dating back more than a thousand years.
According to legend, coffee was discovered by a Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi, who noticed that his goats became very active after eating the berries of a certain tree. After trying the berries himself, Kaldi discovered that he too felt more energetic and alert.
The cultivation of coffee quickly spread throughout the Ethiopian empire and, over the centuries, coffee became a popular beverage all over the world. In the 15th century, coffee was already known in the Middle East, where it was used as medicine and then as a drink. Over the centuries, coffee production spread all over the world, with different varieties of coffee beans and methods of preparation.
Coffee became very popular in Europe in the 17th century, where the first coffee shops were opened in Venice and then in other European cities. The spread of coffee in Europe led to the creation of a new coffee culture, with elegant coffee shops and lounges where people met to socialize and discuss culture, politics, and business.
During the 19th century, coffee production spread all over the world, with plantations expanding in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The spread of coffee had a huge impact on the economies and cultures of many countries, creating new job opportunities and giving rise to unique coffee preparation and consumption traditions.
Properties of Coffee
Coffee is not just a drink with a unique and intense flavor, but also has beneficial properties for health if consumed in moderation. Thanks to the presence of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, coffee can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, helping to prevent cellular aging and chronic diseases.
Among the properties of coffee is the reduction of the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 30%, thanks to the presence of active compounds that improve insulin sensitivity and regulate carbohydrate metabolism.
In addition, coffee has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that make it useful for treating pain and inflammation. Caffeine, the main psychoactive compound in coffee, can also improve memory and concentration, stimulating the central nervous system and increasing the production of dopamine and other neurotransmitters.
Coffee Around the World
Coffee is a beloved beverage all over the world, with a presence that extends across all culinary cultures and traditions. Each country has its own variety of flavors and methods of coffee preparation, reflecting its cultural and geographical roots.
In Italy, as we well know, coffee is a national icon, served in small cups called “espresso” and consumed in coffee shops and bars throughout the country. Italian espresso coffee is known for its creaminess and intense flavor, obtained from a blend of different varieties of roasted coffee beans.
In the United States, coffee is an important part of American culture, consumed both at home and in famous “coffee shops” throughout the country. Typically, American coffee is lighter than Italian espresso and is often served in large cups with milk and sugar.
In countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia, coffee is an important part of the national economy and is grown on vast estates. These countries are known for their varieties of coffee beans, which vary according to the production area and cultivation methods.
In some Middle Eastern countries, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, coffee is served in a traditional way, with roasted and ground coffee beans mixed with water and sugar and brought to a boil in a jug called a “cezve” or “dallah.”
In Asia, on the other hand, coffee is often consumed as a cold or iced beverage, such as the famous “Vietnamese coffee” prepared with filtered coffee, condensed milk, and crushed ice.
In every part of the world, coffee has a unique history and culture that has developed over centuries. Thanks to its versatility and global presence, coffee has become an essential part of world culture, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together in a moment of conviviality and pleasure.