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Until the XIV century, coffee grew in Ethiopia as a wild plant. Later coffee tree was brought to the Arabian Peninsula. In the late XVI century, European traders began buying coffee in Arab ports, and brought it into Europe in the 1600-ies. As legend has it, in the middle of the XVII century Muslim pilgrim smuggled coffee beans into South India. From there, at the end of the XVII century Dutch traders smuggled coffee tree on Java and Sumatra. It put an end to the Arab monopoly on coffee cultivation.
Thereupon, in 1706 the Dutch colonists sent the coffee tree sapling to the Botanical garden in Amsterdam, and that was a tree which marked the beginning of the coffee cultivation in the New World colonies.
A few years later the King of France received the coffee tree sapling as a gift from the Dutch, and soon after the French took away varieties of Mocha from Yemen into the island of Bourbon (now - Reunion, near the island of Madagascar). Thus the story of the famous Arabica brand called “bourbon” began.
In 1721the plantations were laid in Guiana and Martinique, 1727 - in Brazil, 1730 - in Jamaica (the beginning of the famous variety “Blue Mountain”), 1748 - Cuba, 1760 - Guatemala, 1779 - in Costa Rica. Eventually at the beginning of the XIX century coffee belt around the Earth was closed. Within a few centuries, coffee became popular in both hemispheres, being a good source of income.
There are about 70 sorts of coffee trees existing nowadays, from dwarf shrubs to 10-meter giants.
Two main botanical sorts of coffee trees, and, therefore, the grains obtained from the fruits of these trees are Arabica and Robusta, which is sometimes called the Congolese coffee. According to different estimations, up to 98% of the coffee produced in the world comes to these two sorts, with Arabica accounting 70%, and Robusta – for about 30%. The rest 30 sorts (due to some other estimations – 70) amount only to 2% of the world coffee production. Arabica, which is the most widespread sort of coffee, grows at an altitude of 600 to 2000 meters above sea level. Well-shaped elongated grains have a smooth surface with light sigmoid curve where the small unburned particles of coffee berry usually remain after light roasting.
Robusta is faster-growing and more sustainable to pests than Arabica, and grows at an altitude of about 0 to 600 meters above sea level, primarily in tropical areas of Africa, India and Indonesia. The Robusta grains are round-shaped and can vary in color from light brown to greyish green. Robusta typically is considered as less refined sort in terms of its flavor. At the same time, it contains more caffeine, and is often used in espresso coffee blends that results in better coffee foam and cheapens the blend.
Some species, such as Liberica and Ekstselsa, don`t have any industrial value. However, some other, for example “Kopi Luwak” or “Kape Alamid”, are the most expansive sorts of coffee because of their long-running and extraordinary preparation, within which it should pass the food chain, including the gastrointestinal tract of musangi, or Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) - small animal of civet family. Lacking the last link of this process, the taste and aroma of the coffee become rather poor.
Recently there appeared 10-times cheaper analogue of “Kopi Luwak” named “Monkey Coffee” and grown on the Taiwanese plantations on the Formosan mountain slopes, which has the same complex chain of raw grains processing.
According to the most common legend, tonic properties of coffee were discovered by Ethiopian shepherd named Kaldi, who noticed, that after eating the dense leaves and red berries in day, his goatsbehave excitedly at night for no apparent reason. He told about this strange case to the monastery abbot, who decided to try the effect of unusual grains by himself.
The abbot was struck by powerful influence of the beverage. In order to keep up vivacity of the monks falling asleep during the night prayers, he commanded them to drink this decoction. The obtained beverage relieved fatigue and gave fresh strength.
The discovery of coffee approximately dated by 850AD, but its full recognition came many centuries later. Initially for brewing the tonic decoction the raw coffee berries were used rather than roasted grains. A bit later the Yemenis began to brew up dried pulp of the coffee fruit, getting “geshir” (or kishr) - the so-called “white Yemeni coffee.” Ethiopians were finally expelled from the Arabian Peninsula in the XI century. During their reign Arabs learned much from original and rich Ethiopian culture, including habit of coffee consumption. At the beginning Arabs prepared it in a method that greatly differs from the modern one. They crushed coffee grains and mixed them with animal fat and milk. They rolled the ready mixture into balls and took them as a tonic cure when setting out.
It was only the XII century, when people started preparing the drink from raw coffee grains, and even few centuries more passed before it has become a common thing to pluck the fruits of coffee tree, dry the grains with subsequent roasting and grinding, and to fill the obtained powder with hot water. Arabs added to this beverage various spices such as ginger and cinnamon or even mixed it with milk.
First of all, specially bred seeds are planted in the nursery provided with appropriate amount of sunlight and shade. After about six months, the saplings are transplanted into the field, where the soil was preliminarily fertilized. Coffee saplings are planted in rows with the distance convenient for saplings` and soil care as well as for harvest gathering.