This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"Coffee advanced rapidly from the Red Sea and the Nile to Syria, and from Asia Minor to Constantinople, where the first coffee-house was opened in 1554, and soon called forth a number of rival establishments. But here also the zealots began to murmur at the mosques being neglected for the attractions of the ungodly coffee divans, and declaimed against it from the Koran, which positively says that coal'is not of the number of things created by God for good. Accordingly the mufti ordered the coffee-houses to be closed; but his successor declaring coffee not to be coal, unless when overroasted, they were allowed to re-open, and ever since the most pious mussulman drinks his coffee without any scruple of conscience".
" When, in 1832, the physicians in the city urged all to abstain from drinking beer and wine, and to drink pure coffee, in order to avoid the epidemic of colera that was then raging, a large and convenient coffee-house was opened by the famous restaurateur George Washington Browne on the first floor of what was known as the 'Auction Hotel,' in Water Street.
The place soon became known as ' Browne's Coffee House,' and was a most popular dining resort for merchants. On the south-east corner of what are now Pine and William Streets there stood from 1812 to 1830 the Bank Coffee-House, kept by William Niblo".
"Raw coffee (the unroasted berry), if kept in a dry place, improves with age. Those who wish to enjoy coffee in perfection should have it fresh roasted. Roasted coffee should be kept in an air-tight vessel; the Viennese prefer a glass-bottle to a canister. Coffee is very absorbent, and, according to good authorities, should at no time come into contact with metal. A mill, though convenient, is not essential. The Turks do not grind their coffee, but pound it in a mortar with wooden pestles.
Savarin, the great French epicure, who tried both pounded and ground coffee, preferred the former. One ounce coffee to a pint of water makes poor coffee; an ounce and a half to a pint makes fairly good coffee; two ounces to a pint make excellent coffee. Such coffee, mixed with half, or even three parts, its bulk of boiling milk, forms an ideal breakfast-food for body-workers and brain-workers. A very small quantity without milk, taken after a full meal, stimulates the stomach to the necessary effort of digestion, and wards off the drowsiness which often follows satiety. This neat infusion is generally known as 'black' coffee. But genuine coffee, when infused, is not very black. An excessive black color is given by means of burnt sugar, and is no sure indication of strength. It is a mistake to suppose that costly and cumbersome machines are necessary for making coffee. The Brazilians insist that coffee-pots should be made of porcelain or earthenware, not metal. Excellent coffee may be made in a common jug provided with a strainer. Warm the jug, put in the coffee, pour boiling water on it, and the thing is done. Coffee must not be boiled; let it gently simmer; violent ebullition dissipates the aroma.
If a quantity be wanted, good coffee can be made some hours beforehand, even overnight if necessary. For this purpose use any large earthenware vessel; heat it to receive the coffee; fill up with boiling water; protect the contents from the air by a wet cloth over the lid or other covering. When required, pour gently off the clear infusion and heat it to the simmering point. Complicated filters are unnecessary if your coffee be pure; if mixed with chicory, dandelion root, roasted acorns, roasted cabbage-stumps, or other forms of vegetable offal, which on boiling disintegrate and yield a thick, starchy, albuminous, sugary soup, you will then want an ingenious filter. There are four distinct kinds of coffee. The first and best is the Mocha, the berries of which are nearly round and of a pale yellow color. Next in quality comes the Matinique, with berries elongated and of a soft green hue. The Rio ranks next, the berries being small and nearly gray. Lastly come the java, whose berries are large, flat and pale gray. The Mocha is particularly delicious as a flavoring in creams and ices. It must be roasted lightly and infused when quite hot; then the essence of pure coffee is obtained. Equal portions of Bourbon and Martinique make a good blend in coffee. Java is inferior.
Never blend coffee until after roasting, because, their berries not being of uniform size and dryness, the cooking of them will be irregular. Do not roast over-much; when the berry is very dark - not black - and has become moist, take it off the fire and cool it quickly. The conditions of a good supply of coffee are a well-developed roasted berry, roasted within forty-eight hours of its consumption, ground immediately before using, and brewed for public supply in clean, fresh pots every twenty or thirty minutes."