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Coffee Sapiens - at the origins of coffee

Published on 03 December 18

The birth of coffee, as a plant and later as a drink, is a topic with no right answers. Stories written by explorers and scientists are filled with mystery, making the history of coffee even more intriguing.
Among many, the most popular and fascinating myth is about a young shepherd called Kaldi, who lived in the Kaffa region around 850 A.D.


According to the tale, one day he noticed the goats were acting in a weird way, moving with too much energy and excitement. After finding the plant that caused the magic, he decided to try those red berries himself. A curious monk passing by chose to do the same test, and was thrilled by the effects. From that moment, monks in the Araba Felix region started drinking infusions made with coffee fruits. A tradition that would later reach sufi monks and Ottomans.   

 

The coffee plant is a straight-stemmed evergreen, part of the Rubiaceae family. When left to grow spontaneously, it can reach 12 metres in height. Cultivated plants stop at around 3 metres.


The type of farming is defined by the management of the crops: in extensive cultivation, intense practices and chemical additives are avoided, whereas intensive cultivation is based on modern technologies and artificial compounds to increase performances.
Plants and final products are heavily influenced by environmental factors. The most notable are the soil, the treatment of plants, the presence of diseases and climatic conditions: microclimate -latitude, altitude- and mesoclimate - temperature, rainfall and wind.

 

Speaking of coffee, we need to distinguish species and varieties.
The Coffea genus includes more than 100 plant species, all native of tropical Africa and Islands of the Indian Ocean - such as Madagascar. The most popular are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, commonly known as Robusta.    

 

The term variety, instead, refers to the genetic features of the plants. The number of existing varieties is unknown, Ethiopia alone has between 6.000 and 10.000.


Ethiopia is in fact the starting point for the Coffee Sapiens journey. An adventure to discover coffee, and ultimately understand it.


Follow Andy Anderson, aka @manmakecoffee, and find out where that wonderful aroma is coming from.    

The journey continues

Coffee Sapiens

The last step of the collaboration between Ferran Adrià and Lavazza, to go beyond the limits of coffee once again.

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