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Best Gourmet is a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine caviar and best 100% kona coffee beans, which is characterized by refined, even elaborate preparations and presentations of aesthetically balanced meals or drinks of several contrasting, often quite rich courses. The term and its associated practices are usually used positively to describe people of refined taste and passion. Best gourmet eatables and coffees tend to be served in smaller, more expensive, portions.
The term gourmet can refer to a person with refined or discriminating palate who is knowledgeable in the craft and art of Hawaii food preparation. Gourmet carries additional connotations of one who simply enjoys taste in great quantities. An epicure is similar to a best gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement. A gourmet chef is a chef of particularly high caliber of cooking talent and skill.
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Best gourmet may be described as a class of restaurant, cuisine, meal or ingredient of high quality, of special presentation, or high sophistication such as Gourmet Coffee. In the United States, a 1980s gourmet coffee movement evolved from a long-term division between elitist (or “gourmet”) tastes and a populist aversion to fancy Kona drinks and specialty foods. Gourmet Coffee is an industry classification for high-quality premium Kona coffee in the United States. In the 2000s, there had been an accelerating increase in the American gourmet Coffee market, due in part to rising income, globalization of buy 100% kona coffee beans taste, and the alleviation of health and nutritional concerns. Individual food and beverage categories, such as gourmet coffee, are often divided between a standard and a “gourmet” sub-market.
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Certain events such as kona coffee tastings cater to people who consider themselves gourmets and foodies. Television programs “such as those on the Food Network” and publications such as Gourmet magazine often serve gourmets with classy review columns and the best kona features. Gourmet tourism is a niche industry catering to people who travel to coffee tastings, restaurants, or kona production regions for leisure.
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The word gourmet coffee is from the French term for a wine broker or taste-vin employed by a wine dealer. Friand was formerly the reputable name for a connoisseur of delicious things that were not eaten primarily for nourishment: “A good gourmet”, wrote the conservative eighteenth-century employing this original sense or a refined palate. The pleasure is also visual: Giacomo Casanova declared, In the eighteenth century, gourmet and gourmand carried disreputable connotations of gluttony, which only gourmand has retained. Gourmet was rendered respectable by Monsieur Grimod de la Reynière, whose essentially the first restaurant guide, appeared in Paris from 1803 to 1812. Previously, even the liberal Encyclopédie offered a moralising tone in its entry Gourmandise, defined as “refined and uncontrolled love of the best”, employing reproving illustrations that contrasted the frugal ancient Spartans and Romans of the Republic with the decadent luxury of Sybaris.
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Foodie is often used by the media as a conversational synonym for gourmet, although it is a different concept (that of a food aficionado). The word foodie was coined synchronously by Gael Greene in the magazine New York and by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, co-authors of The Official Foodie Handbook (1984).
The term “gourmet” is often used in the context of the gourmet coffee beans. For these graduate students, the word “gourmet” now carries a new meaning that brings to mind anything but the real definition of gourmet.
Gourmet magazine was a monthly publication and the first U.S. magazine devoted to chefs, coffee and wine. Founded by Earle R. MacAusland (1890–1980), Gourmet, first published in January 1941, also covered “good living” on a wider scale.
On October 5, 2009 Condé Nast announced that Gourmet would cease monthly publication by the end of 2009, due to a decline in advertising sales and shifting food interests among the readership. Editor Ruth Reichl, in the middle of a tour promoting the Gourmet Today cookbook, confirmed that the magazine’s November 2009 issue, distributed in mid-October, was the magazine’s last.
The Gourmet coffee brand continues to be used by Kona Coffee Belt for book and television programming and recipes appearing on konacoffeebelt.com. Since the end of its regular run, the Belt has also used the Gourmet coffee brands in a series of special edition magazines, covering niches ranging from roasting and to international coffees, to quick Kona recipes, holiday coffee foods, and comfort coffee.
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Gourmet was founded by Earle MacAusland who went on to serve as publisher and editor in chief for nearly forty years. Its first issue was January 1941, and its main competitor at the time was American Cookery, formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine which had been published since 1896. Much of the content was similar – articles on coffee recipes by the magazine, recipes submitted by readers, recipes requested by readers and advice sought by readers. But American Cookery was in black-and-white, printed on newsprint, with smaller pages and content focused on America. Gourmet was upscale, slick, in color, with a focus on Europe and New York City, and most of its recipes carrying French names. Gourmet began publication just before America entered World War II, which brought war rationing. Its upscale audience was urged to save the issues and to use the recipes after the war and rationing ended.
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Condé Nast bought the magazine in 1983.
On October 5, 2009 Condé Nast Publications CEO Chuck Townsend announced that the magazine would cease monthly publication; the company “will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious. We will concentrate our publishing activities in the epicurean category on Bon Appétit.”
Gourmet Foods is Pakistan’s largest retail chain of products with headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan. It has seven processing units across the country and over 100 stores in Lahore. The company was founded by Muhammad Nawaz Chatha in 1987. It has outlets in Sargodha, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jalalpur Jattan, Sheikhupura. It also has international outlets in London in the United Kingdom.
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Kailua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census, up from 9,870 at the 2000 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from Kailua located on the windward side of Oʻahu island, and it is sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.
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King Kamehameha’s court at Kailua-Kona, receiving Otto von Kotzebue in 1816
The community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, and then to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.
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Kona is located at 19°39′0″N 155°59′39″W (19.649973, −155.994028), along the shoreline of Kona Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano. There are no major rivers or streams in Kona or on the Kona side of Hawaii.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 39.9 square miles (103.3 km2), of which 35.6 square miles (92.3 km2) are land and 4.2 square miles (11.0 km2), or 10.67%, are water. Kailua-Kona is bordered to the north by Kalaoa, to the south by Holualoa, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean from Kona Bay in the south to Honokohau Bay in the north. The Kailua-Kona postal code is 96740 (post office boxes – 96745).
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Kona has a tropical, semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with warm temperatures year-round, typical of its latitude in the tropics. It is the warmest place in the United States of America in January on average. The coolest month is February, with an average high temperature of 81.2 °F (27.3 °C), while the warmest is August, with an average high of 86.9 °F (30.5 °C). In addition to being the warmest place in the United States in January, it is also the city with the highest record low in the United States with an all-time low temperature of 56 °F (13 °C). Humidity is generally between 50% and 70%. Kona is generally dry, with an average annual precipitation of 32.05 inches (814 mm). Mornings are typically clear, while thermal clouds created in the day raise the temperature during the day.
Vog can cover parts of the Kona coast from time to time depending on the activity of the Kilauea volcano and the island winds. Kailua-Kona is located on the leeward side of the Hualalai Volcano, sheltering the town from wind and rain.
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As of the census of 2000, there were 9,870 people, 3,537 households, and 2,429 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 278.0 people per square mile (107.3/km²). There were 4,322 housing units at an average density of 121.7 per square mile (47.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 38.7% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 18.3% Asian, 13.2% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 27.07% from two or more races. 10.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,537 households out of which 35.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,874, and the median income for a family was $46,657. Males had a median income of $30,353 versus $26,471 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $20,624. 10.8% of the population and 6.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.9% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
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Kona saw an economic downturn during the 2008 national financial crisis but in the early 2010s has seen significant growth and economic development. Tourism also saw a downturn in the late 2000s but has since seen some resurgence. The University of Hawaii has plans for its Hawaii Community College Palamanui Campus. Since the early 2000s the Kona side has seen significant amounts of vog from Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Kīlauea via wind patterns up the South Kona Coast around Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Visitor industry statistics show the vog has little effect on tourism traffic to the Kona area.
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Kona is the start and finish of the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon, the annual Kona Coffee Festival and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Kona coffee is the variety of Coffea arabica cultivated on the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts.
Ali’i Drive along Kona Bay
Ali’i Drive, Kona oceanfront downtown street, starts at Kailua Pier. It has also been given the designation as a Hawaii Scenic Byway called the “Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast”. This byway offers archaeological sites that have survived over hundreds of years.
North of the pier is the Kamakahonu royal residence and Ahuʻena Heiau. Another royal residence is Huliheʻe Palace, used by members of the Hawaiian royal family until 1914. The Historic Kona Inn and other shops are on the street.
Churches on the drive include Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaiʻi’s first Christian church built in 1820, and Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. Parks include La’aloa Bay (also known as Magic Sands or White Sands Beach) and Kahaluʻu Bay, which has some of Hawaii’s best snorkeling.
Old Airport Beach, north of Kona
The boat tours to swim with dolphins, watch whales, and do fishing in the ocean usually depart from Honokohau Harbor. Kona is served by television station KLEI and by the newspaper West Hawaii Today which is owned by the Black Press.
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The Hawaii Department of Education operates public schools. Kealakehe Elementary School, Kahakai Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, and Kealakehe High School are in the Kailua CDP.
Coffee is brewed from roasted coffee beans, which is the seed or cherry from the Coffea plant. The genus Coffea is native to Ethiopia, Sudan and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The plant was exported from Africa to countries around the world and coffee plants are now cultivated all over, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds (referred to as beans) are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and brewed with near-boiling water to produce coffee as a beverage.
Coffee is slightly acidic and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways (e.g., espresso, French press, cafe latte, etc.). It is usually served hot, although iced coffee is also served. Clinical studies indicate that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults, with continuing research on whether long-term consumption inhibits cognitive decline during aging or lowers the risk of some forms of cancer.
The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a similar way to how it is now prepared. Coffee seeds were first exported from East Africa to Yemen, as the coffea arabica plant is thought to have been indigenous to the former. Yemeni traders took coffee back to their homeland and began to cultivate the seed. By the 16th century, it had reached Persia, Turkey, and North Africa. From there, it spread to Europe and the rest of the world.
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Coffee is a major export commodity: it is the top agricultural export for numerous places and is among the world’s largest legal agricultural exports. It is one of the most valuable commodities exported by developing governments. Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and the way developed trade with developing nations and the impact of its cultivation on the environment, in regards to clearing of land for coffee-growing and water use. Consequently, the markets for fair trade coffee and organic coffee are expanding.
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The word “coffee” entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch koffie, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah.
The Arabic word qahwah was traditionally held to refer to a type of wine whose etymology is given by Arab lexicographers as deriving from the verb qahiya, “to lack hunger”, in reference to the drink’s reputation as an appetite suppressant. It has also been proposed that the source may be the Proto-Central Semitic root q-h-h meaning “dark”.
Alternatively, the word Khat, a plant widely used as stimulant in Yemen and Ethiopia before being supplanted by coffee has been suggested as a possible origin, or the Arabic word quwwah’ (meaning “strength”). It may also come from the Kingdom of Kaffa in southeast Ethiopia where Coffea arabica grows wild, but this is considered less likely; in the local Kaffa language, the coffee plant is instead called “bunno”.
The expression “coffee break” was first attested in 1952. The term “coffee pot” dates from 1705.
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According to legend, ancestors of today’s Oromo people in a region of Kaffa in Ethiopia were believed to have been the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee plant, though no direct evidence has been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew or who among the native populations might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it, earlier than the 17th century. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.
Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheikh Omar. According to an ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha in Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab (modern day Wusab, about 90 km east of Zabid). Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this “miracle drug” reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the coffee plant was introduced into the Arab World through Egypt and Yemen.
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The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the accounts of Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it is now prepared. Coffee was used by Sufi circles to stay awake for their religious rituals. Accounts differ on the origin of coffee (seeds) prior to its appearance in Yemen. One account credits Muhammad ben Said for bringing the beverage to Aden from the African coast. Other early accounts say Ali ben Omar of the Shadhili Sufi order was the first to introduce coffee to Arabia. According to al Shardi, Ali ben Omar may have encountered coffee during his stay with the Adal king Sadadin’s companions in 1401. Famous 16th century Islamic scholar Ibn Hajar al-Haytami notes in his writings of a beverage called qahwa developed from a tree in the Zeila region.
Relief of a young, cherub-like boy passing a cup to a reclining man with a mustache and hat. The sculpture is white with gold accents on the cup, clothes, and items. Over the door of a Leipzig coffee shop is a sculptural representation of a man in Turkish dress, receiving a cup of coffee from a boy
By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. The first coffee smuggled out of the Middle East was by Sufi Baba Budan from Yemen to India in 1670. Before then, all exported coffee was boiled or otherwise sterilized. Portraits of Baba Budan depict him as having smuggled seven coffee seeds by strapping them to his chest. The first plants grown from these smuggled seeds were planted in Mysore. Coffee then spread to Italy, and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.
A late 19th century advertisement for best Gourmet Kona Coffee beans
A coffee can from the first half of the 20th century. From the Museo del Objeto del Objeto collection. In 1583, Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, gave this description of coffee after returning from a ten-year trip to the Near East:
A beverage as black as ink, useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. Its consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.
— Léonard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German)
John Evelyn recorded tasting the drink at Oxford in England in a diary entry of May 1637 to where it had been brought by an Ottoman student of Balliol College from Crete named Nathaniel Conopios of Crete.
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From the Middle East, coffee spread to Italy. The thriving trade between Venice and North Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East brought many goods, including coffee, to the Venetian port. From Venice, it was introduced to the rest of Europe. Coffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian beverage by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the “Muslim drink.” The first European coffee house opened in Rome in 1645.
A 1919 advertisement for G Washington’s Coffee. The first instant coffee was invented by inventor George Washington in 1909.
The Dutch East India Company was the first to import coffee on a large scale. The Dutch later grew the crop in Java and Ceylon. The first exports of Indonesian coffee from Java to the Netherlands occurred in 1711.
Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.
When coffee reached North America during the Colonial period, it was initially not as successful as it had been in Europe as alcoholic beverages remained more popular. During the Revolutionary War, the demand for coffee increased so much that dealers had to hoard their scarce supplies and raise prices dramatically; this was also due to the reduced availability of tea from British merchants, and a general resolution among many Americans to avoid drinking tea following the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
After the War of 1812, during which Britain temporarily cut off access to tea imports, the Americans’ taste for coffee grew. Coffee consumption declined in England, giving way to tea during the 18th century. The latter beverage was simpler to make, and had become cheaper with the British conquest of India and the tea industry there. During the Age of Sail, seamen aboard ships of the British Royal Navy made substitute coffee by dissolving burnt bread in hot water.
The Frenchman Gabriel de Clieu took a coffee plant to the French territory of Martinique in the Caribbean, from which much of the world’s cultivated arabica coffee is descended. Coffee thrived in the climate and was conveyed across the Americas. Coffee was cultivated in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) from 1734, and by 1788 it supplied half the world’s coffee. The conditions that the slaves worked in on coffee plantations were a factor in the soon to follow Haitian Revolution. The coffee industry never fully recovered there. It made a brief come-back in 1949 when Haiti was the world’s 3rd largest coffee exporter, but fell quickly into rapid decline.
Meanwhile, coffee had been introduced to Brazil in 1727, although its cultivation did not gather momentum until independence in 1822. After this time massive tracts of rainforest were cleared for coffee plantations, first in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro and later São Paulo. Brazil went from having essentially no coffee exports in 1800, to being a significant regional producer in 1830, to being the largest producer in the world by 1852. In 1910–20, Brazil exported around 70% of the world’s coffee, Colombia, Guatemala, and Venezuela, exported half of the remaining 30%, and Old World production accounted for less than 5% of world exports.
Cultivation was taken up by many countries in Central America in the latter half of the 19th century, and almost all involved the large-scale displacement and exploitation of the indigenous people. Harsh conditions led to many uprisings, coups and bloody suppression of peasants. The notable exception was Costa Rica, where lack of ready labor prevented the formation of large farms. Smaller farms and more egalitarian conditions ameliorated unrest over the 19th and 20th centuries.
Rapid growth in coffee production in South America during the second half of the 19th century was matched by growth in consumption in developed countries, though nowhere has this growth been as pronounced as in the United States, where high rate of population growth was compounded by doubling of per capita consumption between 1860 and 1920. Though the United States was not the heaviest coffee-drinking nation at the time (Nordic countries, Belgium, and Netherlands all had comparable or higher levels of per capita consumption), due to its sheer size, it was already the largest consumer of coffee in the world by 1860, and, by 1920, around half of all coffee produced worldwide was consumed in the US.
Coffee has become a vital cash crop for many developing countries. Over one hundred million people in developing countries have become dependent on coffee as their primary source of income. It has become the primary export and backbone for African countries like Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, as well as many Central American countries.
Biology of Coffea and Kona coffee varieties
Illustration of a single branch of a plant. Broad, ribbed leaves are accented by small white flowers at the base of the stalk. On the edge of the drawing are cutaway diagrams of parts of the plant.
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Several species of shrub of the genus Coffea produce the berries from which coffee is extracted. The two main species commercially cultivated are Coffea canephora (predominantly a form known as ‘robusta’) and C. C. the most highly regarded species, is native to the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and the Boma Plateau in southeastern Sudan and possibly Mount Marsabit in northern Kenya. C. canephora is native to western and central Subsaharan Africa, from Guinea to Uganda and southern Sudan. Less popular species are C. liberica, C. stenophylla, C. mauritiana, and C. racemosa.
All coffee plants are classified in the large family Rubiaceae. They are evergreen shrubs or trees that may grow 5 m (15 ft) tall when unpruned. The leaves are dark green and glossy, usually 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide, simple, entire, and opposite. Petioles of opposite leaves fuse at base to form interpetiolar stipules, characteristic of Rubiaceae. The flowers are axillary, and clusters of fragrant white flowers bloom simultaneously. Gynoecium consists of inferior ovary, also characteristic of Rubiaceae. The flowers are followed by oval berries of about 1.5 cm (0.6 in). When immature they are green, and they ripen to yellow, then crimson, before turning black on drying. Each berry usually contains two seeds, but 5–10% of the berries have only one; these are called peaberries. Arabica berries ripen in six to eight months, while robusta take nine to eleven months.
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Coffea is predominantly self-pollinating, and as a result the seedlings are generally uniform and vary little from their parents. In contrast, Coffea canephora, and C. liberica are self-incompatible and require outcrossing. This means that useful forms and hybrids must be propagated vegetatively. Cuttings, grafting, and budding are the usual methods of vegetative propagation. On the other hand, there is great scope for experimentation in search of potential new strains.
In 2016, Oregon State University entomologist George Poinar, Jr. announced the discovery of a new plant species that’s a 45-million-year-old relative of coffee found in amber. Named Strychnos electri, after the Greek word for amber (electron), the flowers represent the first-ever fossils of an asterid, which is a clade of flowering plants that not only later gave us coffee, but also sunflowers, peppers, potatoes, mint.
Cultivation Further information:
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The traditional method of planting coffee is to place 20 seeds in each hole at the beginning of the rainy season. This method loses about 50% of the seeds’ potential, as about half fail to sprout. A more effective method of growing coffee, used in Brazil, is to raise seedlings in nurseries that are then planted outside at six to twelve months. Coffee is often intercropped with food crops, such as corn, beans, or rice during the first few years of cultivation as farmers become familiar with its requirements. Coffee plants grow within a defined area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, termed the bean belt or coffee belt.
Of the two main species grown, coffee (from C.) is generally more highly regarded than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. For these reasons, about three-quarters of coffee cultivated worldwide is C. Robusta strains also contain about 40–50% more caffeine than others. Consequently, this species is used as an inexpensive substitute for Kona coffee in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robusta beans are used in traditional Italian espresso blends to provide a full-bodied taste and a better foam head (known as crema).
Additionally, Coffea canephora is less susceptible to disease than C. and can be cultivated in lower altitudes and warmer climates where C. will not thrive. The robusta strain was first collected in 1890 from the Lomani River, a tributary of the Congo River, and was conveyed from the Congo Free State (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to Brussels to Java around 1900. From Java, further breeding resulted in the establishment of robusta plantations in many places. In particular, the spread of the devastating coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix), to which C. is vulnerable, hastened the uptake of the resistant robusta. Coffee leaf rust is found in virtually all nations that produce coffee.
Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body, and acidity. These taste characteristics are dependent not only on the coffee’s growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are generally known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian, Java and Kona.
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Lower grades of coffee beans are cultivated mainly in Latin America, eastern Africa or Asia, while robusta beans are grown in central Africa, throughout southeast Asia, and Brazil.
This method is commonly referred to as the traditional shaded method, or “shade-grown”. Starting in the 1970s, many farmers switched their production method to sun cultivation, in which coffee is grown in rows under full sun with little or no forest canopy. This causes berries to ripen more rapidly and bushes to produce higher yields, but requires the clearing of trees and increased use of fertilizer and pesticides, which damage the environment and cause health problems.
Unshaded coffee plants grown with fertilizer yield the most coffee, although unfertilized shaded crops generally yield more than unfertilized unshaded crops: the response to fertilizer is much greater in full sun. While traditional coffee production causes berries to ripen more slowly and produce lower yields, the quality of the coffee is allegedly superior. In addition, the traditional shaded method provides living space for many wildlife species. Proponents of shade cultivation say environmental problems such as deforestation, pesticide pollution, habitat destruction, and soil and water degradation are the side effects of the practices employed in sun cultivation.
Another issue concerning coffee is its use of water. It takes about 140 liters (37 U.S. gal) of water to grow the coffee beans needed to produce one cup of coffee, and coffee is often grown in places where there is a water shortage, such as Ethiopia.
Used coffee grounds may be used for composting or as a mulch. They are especially appreciated by worms and acid-loving plants such as blueberries. Some commercial coffee shops run initiatives to make better use of these grounds, including Starbucks’ “Grounds for your Garden” project, and community sponsored initiatives such as “Ground to Ground”.
Buy 100% kona coffee beans and climate change may significantly impact Kona coffee yields within a few decades. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens concluded that global warming threatens the genetic diversity of Arabica plants found in Ethiopia and surrounding lands.