This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
A. Compare roasted with unroasted coffee beans, observing differences in color, odor, and taste. Brown a few unroasted beans on a pan or shovel over the fire, and compare them with the roasted ones. What changes does roasting produce in coffee?
B. Boil together for ten minutes one rounded tablespoonful of coffee and one cupful of water; compare taste with that of coffee made by either of the methods given below. In what respect is long-boiled coffee like boiled tea?
The coffee "bean," or berry, is the seed of the red cherry like fruit of a tropical evergreen. Each fruit usually contains two berries. When the fruit begins to shrivel, it is shaken to the ground and dried until the seeds can be easily separated from the pulp. The seeds are run between wooden rollers to crack off the husk enclosing them, after which they are roasted in a revolving cylinder. Great care is taken to have the degree of heat that will best develop their characteristic flavor and odor, or aroma.
The berry is freed from pulp and papery skin by different methods in different countries. The color of the raw berry ranges through various shades of yellow and green. Coffee is shipped raw and roasted in the country which imports it. Roasting turns it brown. A long or "high" roast produces a dark coffee with a strong flavor and develops its characteristic flavor and odor, or aroma.
Coffee is believed to have originated in Abyssinia. It now grows in South and Central America, Mexico, the East and the West Indies, and some other places. Most of our coffee comes from Brazil. Java and Mocha (an Arabian port) have always exported fine coffees, but not in sufficient quantities to meet the demand for them. These names are now applied by grocers to the better grade coffees, whatever their source. Ground coffee is sometimes adulterated with ground cereals, chicory, or other material.
Pour on to about a tablespoonful of ground coffee a cupful of cold water. If nearly all the coffee floats and colors the water very slowly, it is pure. If part of the "coffee" sinks to the bottom or stains the water quickly, chicory or some other adulterant is present.
The beverages tea and coffee have no food value beyond that of the sugar or sugar and cream added to them. Their stimulating properties are due to a substance called theine in tea and caffeine in coffee. The tannin of coffee is in a different form from that of tea. Coffee may be boiled, but if allowed to boil or to stand on the grounds for more than a few minutes, tannin will be extracted and the coffee will taste bitter. Tea and coffee relieve the feeling of fatigue and enable a person to work for a short time harder than his natural strength would permit. This effect is more marked upon some people than upon others. To some persons they are injurious. They serve best if reserved for emergencies, times of special fatigue or strain. No person of normal constitution who is neither undernourished nor overworked needs to depend habitually on any stimulant. Children should never taste tea or coffee. Young people up to twenty years of age or more are better off without them. The evil effect of tea and coffee may appear in later life if not immediately. A special coffee from which practically all the caffeine has been removed is sold unground.
Substitutes for coffee made of roasted grains are palatable, and as a rule wholesome for grown people and children.
1. Buy freshly roasted, unground coffee, and grind it at home as needed; or buy it freshly ground every two or three days. The longer it is kept after roasting, particularly if ground, the more of its aroma does it lose. 2. Keep in an air-tight can or jar. 3. Never make coffee in a tin pot. Scour the pot, not omitting the spout, after each using. 4. Either filter the coffee, or boil it not longer than three minutes. 5. Have coffee powdered for filtering, finely ground for boiling. 6. Serve with cream, or with hot, but not scalded, milk.
Ground coffee, 1/2 c. Water, 3 or 3 1/2 c.
One-fourth the white of an egg, or one egg-shell with the white that clings to it.
(See directions for clearing soup stock, p. 167.)
Mix the coffee, the white of egg, or the broken shell, and about one cup of the water (cold). Pour on the rest of the water, allow it to heat slowly to the boiling-point. Let it boil one minute. Remove the pot from the fire, pour in a few spoonfuls of cold water, and let the coffee stand about five minutes, during which the grounds will settle.
After mixing coffee, egg, and cold water, pour on the rest of the water boiling hot, and let the coffee boil three minutes. Settle in the same way.
To make one cup of coffee, use two rounded tablespoonfuls of coffee and one cupful of water. With care, a small quantity of coffee can be cleared without egg, by pouring in a little cold water as directed above.
Powdered coffee, 1/2 c. Boiling water, 3 c.
Use a coffee pot with bag or filter.
Measure the water before boiling it. Put the coffee into the bag or filter. Pour the water slowly upon it directly from the kettle. Keep it hot, till the water poured in has filtered through. Pour part of it out, and turn it through the filter again. This makes black coffee, suitable for serving in small cups after dinner. Make breakfast coffee less strong.