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mini wisdom

Health is the most precious of God's gifts ever.

Coffee History

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4.30.2008

coffee history
What variety is it and where do all these exotic tasting beans grow?

Let’s take a quick tour.

The African country of Ethiopia is where Coffee growing first originated. Today it is hard to imagine that the country’s main coffee plantations still consist of mainly wild coffee tree forests just like it was when it was first discovered centuries ago.

From these humble beginnings coffee bean production and consumption has spread like wild fire throughout the world. In the twenty-first century coffee has grown to become the second largest international market globally, second only to oil in dollar value terms.

Coffee is grown in over 70 countries around the world which are specifically located in tropical and sub-tropical agricultural regions. Climate dictates where it can be grown for the simply reason the plants need plenty of sunshine and rain. From a narrow band centred on the equator of around 23 degrees north to 25 degrees south comes all of the world's production of beans that produce the beverage of which a Turkish proverb describes as 'black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love'.

Brazil is by far the largest producer of coffee beans in the world with an average output of 28% of the total annual international yield. The second largest producer is the world renowned Columbia which produces 16%. Other major producers are Indonesia producing 7% and Mexico with 4%.

Throughout the history of its cultivation, coffee trees have been grown at high altitudes because they produce the best quality beans. However the plant has also adapted well to a wide variety of areas including Brazil where the plantations cover huge areas of agricultural land and employ hundreds of workers. In Colombia the coffee trees are grown in very rugged terrain in the high mountains where it is carried out by pack mules.

In Hawaii coffee is mostly planted on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano which is situated about 20 degrees north of the equator. As you would imagine the black volcanic ash is extremely fertile and perfect for growing the famed Kona coffee plants. The strong afternoon sun is softened by tropical clouds and frequent showers of rain.

Since the Dutch colonists introduced coffee to Indonesia in the 17th century, this collection of islands has slowly increased it’s production and exports to become the third largest producer in the world. A multitude of small one to two acre farms make up the bulk of producers thriving on the warm, tropical micro-climates, which is ideal for growing quality coffee.

Mexico also produces and exports a significant amount of coffee beans that are grown by a multitude of small farmers. Most plantations are located to the south of the country in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

In the mid-19th century the French missionaries established small plantations of the robusta coffee plants in Vietnam. From these small beginnings the industry has grown to massive proportions where today the size of the country’s coffee production now rivals Indonesia.

This is only a brief overview of the major producers for coffee varieties around the world with many other countries now venturing into this profitable export commodity.

Enjoy!

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posted by admin, 3:27 AM | click here to comment | 0 comments |

What Is Espresso Coffee?

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4.24.2008

espresso coffee
Espresso coffee is more popular today than it has ever been at any time in its history, perhaps thanks to the marketing power of coffee giants such as Starbucks. Many of the most popular drinks that we consume everyday are made using espresso, rather than the more traditional filter or drip coffee. Drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and machiatos.

Given this strong popularity for these espresso drinks, it's surprising that many people don't actually know what an espresso is. For anyone who has never had an espresso, the first taste can be quite shocking. An espresso is very concentrated, and comes in a very small cup. However, it packs a large punch and the flavor can take some getting used to. (In other words, your first impression might be that you just swallowed something vile. But don't worry, it gets better with experience.)

Espresso is made by forcing very hot (not boiling) water through finely ground coffee. The coffee is ground more finely than filter coffee, but is not as finely ground as Turkish coffee, which is more like a fine powder.

Originally, espresso machines used steam pressure to force the water through. Today, a spring piston lever machine is used, which used a piston to generate the pressure and force the water through the coffee. It is important that the temperature does not go too high or low, as this will spoil the beverage. The ideal temperature is 85 to 95 degrees Celsius.

If the water is too hot, the espresso will be too bitter. If it is too cold, it will be too sour. As you can see, making espresso drinks is a very exacting job, and care must be taken to do it right. The people trained to do this are called baristas (which is Italian for barman).

As the water blasts through the coffee, it extracts the flavor, oils, sugars and proteins and dissolves them. This results is a very potent mixture that has a very strong, yet rich and subtle flavor. It also has all the caffeine of a large cup of filter coffee, giving it a strong kick.

To enjoy these drink at its best, it is important to drink the coffee as soon after it is made as possible, definitely within 2 minutes. If you intend to blend it to make espresso drinks, you need to do so within 10 seconds of pulling the espresso.

This is because the flavor packed volatile molecules in the drink rapidly degrade, both through contact with oxygen and as the heat leaves the drink.

The espresso is made up of 3 different parts, the heart, body and the crema, which is the delicate, creamy foam that naturally forms on the top of the drink. The crema is a sign of good espresso, and care should be taken to ensure it is preserved. To do this, some people use pre warmed shot glasses, which prevents heat loss.

There is no such thing as an "espresso roast" - you can make good espresso from light or dark roast beans. A very dark roast is a bad idea, as it can lead to a burnt, charcoal taste. The only important thing is that the coffee is ground to the correct grade, and that the beans are freshly roast.

Selecting the blend is important when making espresso drinks, as it is for any kind of coffee drinks. The factors to concentrate on are sweetness, aromatics and smoothness.

Also, the type of grinder used is important. The best choice is a conical burr grinder. This will produce a consistent grind (the particles will all be the right size), and will also make sure that the coffee does not overheat as it is ground (this would spoil the aroma).

How to make the best espresso drinks could fill books, as there are many factors to balance. This is why coffee shops spend so much time training their staff. When you find a place that serves excellent espresso, recognize that this is not just a happy accident, and recognize the skill and care that goes into making this most demanding drink.

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posted by admin, 2:00 PM | click here to comment | 0 comments |

Tiramisu cake, my other favourite

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4.09.2008

tiramisu cake
This kind of sponge cake is one of the most delicious cake ever. I looked up from wikipedia,
"Tiramisu"(Italian language: "Tiramisù" / Veneto: "Tiramesù", /tirame'su) is one of the most popular Italian cuisine desserts. It is a made of biscuits dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream. For many years, different sources from Vin Veneto, dated 1981, to the Italian Academy of Giuseppe Maffioli and several cuisine websites give evidence that tiramisu was born in Treviso at "Le Beccherie" restaurant in the hands of the confectioner Roberto Linguanotto, also known as Loli.
Different stories report the creation of the cake to have been born in the city of Siena. Some confectioners were said to have created it in honour of Cosimo III on the occasion of his visit to the city.
These days, the cake is characterised by a delicate and intense taste. In order to prepare it, according to the original recipe, the following ingredients are needed: Lady Finger (cookie)/Savoiardi biscuits, eggs, sugar, rum and cocoa.
In the original recipe, there was no liquor as the cake was originally aimed at children and the elderly and the original shape was Circle/round. The name Tiramisu is from Italian and means "pick me up" (Tirami sú)

Well, in my opinion, the most interesting taste of this cake delivered from the layer of coffee covering your tongue. Have a bite, and enjoy.

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posted by admin, 1:36 AM | click here to comment | 1 comments |
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