Coffee has enjoyed a worldwide triumph. But does it wake you up? Do other living things also like caffeine? And where does the bean come from?
Where does the coffee bean originate?
The three largest coffee producers in the world are Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia. Only in 5th place comes Ethiopia and thus the country of origin of the bean. According to legend, shepherds in the province of Kaffa (the region that gave it its name) noticed more than 1100 years ago that their cattle were active longer after eating certain fruits than their fellows who had not eaten this plant. After one of the shepherds named Kaldi tasted it and felt the stimulating effect himself, he brought the red berries to a monastery. However, a monk rejected them as “devil’s stuff” and threw them into the fire, where they were roasted and given off their typical scent. From this, the first cup of coffee was brewed after all. The first reference to this story can only be found in a document from 1671 – which is why many researchers doubt its truthfulness. However, what is undisputed is that the Arabica variety’s wild ancestors come from the country’s mountain forests: They still grow here today and provide the basis for an exceptional fantastic coffee.
How did the coffee get to us?
Coffee enjoyment is only clearly documented in the stories of Ahmed al-Ghaffar from Yemen, who wrote them down in the middle of the 15th century. Traders had brought the beans from Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula; however, the exact route has not yet been clarified. Here they were roasted and brewed for the first time. Sufis drank the coffee to stay awake during their religious ceremonies. Yemen coffee spread to the Near and Middle East and North Africa; In 1670, the first beans were smuggled into India. The hot beverage reached European soil via the trade route between Egypt and Venice. As early as 1583, the German doctor Leonhard Rauwolf has reported on the enjoyment and effects of coffee. He was possibly the first European to drink from it. In 1600, Pope Clement VIII officially allowed coffee to be consumed after banishing it as a “Muslim drink” failed. The Yemeni port city of Mucha – the name giver of mocha – played a crucial role in the early spread of coffee around the world.
Who Else Flies On Caffeine?
Bees also swear by caffeine: If you choose between a flower that also offers you caffeine with the nectar, you will prefer it – and return to it more often. And they lead their conspecifics to this food source more often. The substance has a deterrent effect in many ways. Not only coffee trees produce caffeine, but also other plants. They store it in their leaves, among other things. They want to keep herbivores away because the bitter substance warns of inedible food. The caffeine may also improve the insects’ memory because they find their way back to the flowers faster and better than to comparable plants. By the way: Even if the brain of insects and humans is different, we have been shown to have the same effect in connection with caffeine.
Does coffee keep you awake – or does it make you tired?
The Solomonic answer is: It depends. Morning coffee is seen as a pick-me-up, which at first glance, is entirely accurate. Because the alkaloid caffeine binds to receptors of nerve cells in the brain and prevents adenosine from accumulating there, this, in turn, slows down the neurons’ activity and makes you tired. As long as the caffeine hinders the adenosine, the coffee stimulates the mind. However, at some point, long-term consumers get used to it because their brains develop more receptors, so that adenosine also comes into play. Occasional coffee consumers, therefore, notice the most substantial hello-wake effect. The reason why regular coffee connoisseurs also feel more awake in the morning after their cup is related to the withdrawal symptoms that arise at night. Suppose the effect of the caffeine wears off, adenosine increases. Such makes them feel much duller. The caffeine only works to counteract the symptoms that result from habituation.
Why does sugar reduce the bitterness of coffee?
Many people appreciate coffee because of its bitter taste; others only get it with large amounts of sugar. The sweetener doesn’t just whitewash the bitter substances; it also changes the drink on a molecular level. Because of their polarity, sugar and water have a high affinity for one another. Conversely, the caffeine molecules try to “avoid” the sugar solution, which is why they stick together.
Make sure you also make your cup of coffee in an effective way. Here’s an article to help you with just that over at ConvergentCoffee.com.