For many, a morning is incomplete without a sip on a cup of hot coffee; it’s a perfect way to kick-start the day.
Whether you are working late at night or burdened with stress, coffee is the perfect companion. This most consumed beverage in the world comes from the coffee cherries of evergreen Coffea bushes grown in over 70 countries; Latin America, Africa and South Asia taking the lead.
The Ethiopians were the pioneer in realizing the invigorating attribute of the coffee plant. Later, the practice of coffee drinking which commenced in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen in southern Arabia slowly extended to India, Europe and finally among the Americans. Time has witnessed the evolution of coffee from a holy elixir during ancient period into a comfort drink in present time. Ground coffee beans, mix hot water to it till you get the perfect essence, pour in some milk or cream and experience the exuberance as you sip on this lavish beverage.
For people who are too lazy to brew it, instant coffee is a saviour! No matter how it is served – hot or chilled, with or without milk/cream; a cup of coffee tastes equally tantalizing. Espresso coffee like Caffe Americano and frothy caffe latte, cappuccino or caffe macchiato are much in vogue nowadays. When you feel laid back after a hectic day at work and looking for a refreshing kick, try Irish coffee – a mix of coffee with whiskey.
For the best aromatic journey with coffee you should get acquainted with the wide range of coffee varietals available. Arabica coffee, obtained from Coffee Arabica, holds high esteem owing to its subtle aroma and accounts for ¾ of the coffee produced worldwide. Robusta coffee bean of Coffea canephora is smaller than an Arabica one. It is bitter and less fragrant compared to Arabica coffee but possess more depth than the latter when it comes to flavour. Apart from the plants, their cultivation regions also play an essential role in determining the flavour of coffee. While Latin American coffees are known for its playful, tangy flavours, the south Asian ones are cherished for their intense, earthy undertone.
Several Arabica varieties like Bourbon, Hawaiian Kona and Colombian coffee are admired. But when it comes to taste, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee reigns above all. Cultivated in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, this coffee varietal is known for its classic, delicate yet strong flavour. Every sip tingle your taste buds with herbal overtone and leaves a trace of nutty, chocolaty aftertaste behind.
The best quality of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is known for its vibrant aroma and lack of bitterness. Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has segregated its cultivating regions to define quality. Those growing at elevations between 3000-5000 feet are regarded as Jamaica Blue Mountain while those below this altitude are referred to as Jamaica High Mountain and Jamaica Supreme. After reaping, these coffee beans are processed and graded according to their size and density. They have to undergo medium dark or medium roasting to bring out the best in them. Depending on appearance, size and amount of defects present, Coffee Industry Regulations Act has classified it into:
· Blue Mountain No. 1 – 96% of beans with screen size of 17/20.
· Blue Mountain No.2 – 96% of beans with screen size of 16/17.
· Blue Mountain No.3 – 96% of beans with screen size of 15/16.
· Blue Mountain Peaberry – 96% of beans are peaberry.
· Blue Mountain Triage – assortment of bean sizes from above ranges.
Not more than 2% defects are allowed in the first four classes while 4% defect is tolerated in the 5th class.
Now that you know more about coffee varietals, choose your coffee wisely to enjoy it to the fullest. Some people tend to avoid coffee owing to its detrimental effects like sleep disturbance, aggravating symptoms of migraines, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and anaemia. But its antioxidant properties shield us from cancer and reduce the risks of heart and neurological diseases. If you are still sceptical about its high caffeine content and its adverse effects, go for a decaf version and lift your spirits with a steaming cup of coffee.
By Liya Das