The brewed drink we call coffee is made from the seeds of berries of Coffea, a plant mainly native to Africa. The berries are hand picked or harvested by machine, then the fruit is removed and beans collected. Afterwards, the beans are either processed through dry processing or wet processing (the more modern technique). Dry processing requires the beans to be left in the sun while wet processing uses fermentation. When the beans are sorted, the good beans that are ready to be roasted are called “green coffee beans.” The strength of the flavor depends on how long the beans roast. The longer they roast, the more caffeine is removed, and the lighter the flavor. The roasted coffee beans are then bagged and shipped to retailers. To truly understand the power of this beverage however, one would have to revisit its origin and learn the history of coffee.
Although no one knows the exact origin of coffee, it has been said that the plant was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi on the Ethiopian plateau around 800 A.D. Kaldi noticed that his goats became extremely energetic after eating berries from the plant and reported his discovery to a local monastery. The monastery’s abbot concocted a drink with the berries and found they also made him very alert. It wasn’t long before news of these magical berries made its way to the Arabian peninsula. In the 17th century, European travelers brought the dark energizing drink to Europe, where it became a common breakfast beverage. It was then brought to New York (called New Amsterdam at the time), but did not beat tea as the most favored drink until the Boston Tea Party in 1773. After the revolt by colonists against the heavy tea tax, it became unpatriotic for Americans to drink tea.
By the time the Civil War began in 1861, coffee was so popular that coffee beans were used as a main ration. In 1865, James Mason invented the original coffee maker, or the coffee percolator, which lowered coffee prices and made coffee drinks more accessible to the middle class. By the 1940s, Americans had their own version of Britain’s “tea time,” which they called a “coffee break.” Coffee breaks started in factories so that workers had an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate by consuming the beverage. The spread of coffee houses came in the 1970s, including the popular Starbucks chain, and so did the beginning of bottled coffees. Flavored milk had been a popular refreshment in Japan since the 60’s, which included a coffee flavor. In 1968 however, businessman Ueshima Tadao realized he could switch the ratio of milk and coffee. His canned coffee company, Ueshima Coffee Co. (UCC), eventually inspired bottled coffees such as those by Italy's illycaffè. By the 1990’s, Starbucks and Pepsi had partnered to create an iced coffee beverage containing lemon. The bizarre mix didn’t quite take off, but Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz believes it paved the way for other bottled coffee drinks. These coffee products now make caffeine even more available to coffee lovers, with options like instant coffee, where one can get their fix by simply stirring a powder in hot water.
From 1995-2000, the consumption of coffee rose 700% in the U.S., resulting in 80% of Americans becoming coffee drinkers. U.S. coffee shops made over 31 billion dollars in revenue in 2015, with consumers having an average of 3.35 cups per day. In addition, coffee plants are produced in over 70 countries, including regions of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Those who have tried coffee from various regions will know that coffee from the Americas tends to be crisp and bright, while Africa provides an acidic, often floral flavor and Asia a full, bold body. With the rise of specialty coffee companies, the popular beverage has become about more than just getting energy. The taste is also enjoyed, as these specialty brands aim for the highest quality and little to no defects. In order to be considered “specialty,” the coffee must score at least an 80/100 on an evaluation by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). These bottled products come in numerous flavors such as vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, or mocha, so those who want the energy boost but are not fond of coffee’s bitterness can find flavored alternatives they fancy. If you want to buy coffee online, browse specialty coffee drinks, or discover different types of coffee beverages, you can do so at our Specialty Sodas website.