The Coffee tree is a native of southern Abyssinia, where it grows in the countries of Enarea and Caffa like a weed. Coffee was brought from Abyssinia to Arabia in the beginning of the fifteenth century. About the middle of the sixteenth century it reached Constantinople, and became an article of general consumption. In 1652 the first coffee-house was opened in London by a Greek named Pasqua, and twenty years after the first French coffee-house was opened at Marseilles.
Ceylon, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Brazil supply us with coffee.
The Arabian or Mocha, considered the best, is small and of a dark yellow colour. Javan and East Indian are larger and of a paler yellow.
Ceylon, West Indian, and Brazilian coffees have a bluish or greenish grey tint*
The coffee tree is an elegant tree, covered with a dark shining and evergreen foliage. It flourishes in a dry soil and warm situation. It has pale white fragrant flowers, and its fruit grows in clusters. Inside the fruit are the berries or seeds which we use.
Constituent parts - llb. of coffee contains -
Aromatic oil . .
Caffeine or theine .
Woody fibre , .
Berries improve in flavour by keeping - of course unroasted. The Mocha berries will ripen in three years, and bad coffee will in ten years be good and of fine flavour.
Everybody knows the good effects of coffee. It cheers the spirits, rouses us and keeps us awake, and counteracts stupor caused by fatigue or by opium. To a certain extent it allays hunger, by retarding the waste in the tissues of the body. With coffee to drink much less food is required - as much as one-third less, the great chemists tell us.
Coffee has great medicinal virtues; it is said to be an excellent antidote to gout, and to cure other painful diseases.
Coffee-tea must here be mentioned. It is made from the leaves of the coffee-tree roasted over a clear fire till they become of a dark buff colour. They are then separated from the twigs, the bark of which is roasted, rubbed off and used with the leaves. They are immersed in boiling water, give a brown infusion, and with sugar and milk form a very pleasant beverage. They have a fragrant odour like that of tea and coffee mixed. They are said to have great effect on the body and mind, strengthening the former and making the intellect clear and active. A greater portion of theine is found in them than in the coffee bean itself. Coffee is sometimes mixed with chicory.
It is best to buy wiroasted coffee-beans and roast them as required. Coffee can be bought wholesale at is, per pound, but as dealers will not sell less than twenty-eight pounds weight at that price, it must be bought unroasted, or it would not keep.
Coffee makes better if the powder be warmed first before the water is poured on it.
Roasted beetroot is a substitute for coffee.† The root is roasted and ground and made in the same manner. The root of the dandelion, also furnishes a coffee which is excellent for the liver. It is called Taraxacum coffee, and can be bought at all chemists.
Allow for each person a dessert spoonful of coffee; use a biggin, as it should be made with boiling water, but not boiled. Coffee keeps people awake, and should not therefore be drank at night.
* Of course that is unroasted. † Cut it in slices, add a little piece of butter to prevent burning, and roast them dry over a good fire; then powder them.