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Published by Brainwines.com
Coffee: The Eccentric Saga of the World’s Most Traded Commodity
By Keith B. Hoffman
Infiltration of enemy lines wearing a fashionable turban, caffeine-fuelled revolutions, allegations of widespread flaccidity and exploding peaches...
Coffee: The Eccentric Saga of the World’s Most Traded Commodity
By Keith B. Hoffman
Infiltration of enemy lines wearing a fashionable turban, caffeine-fuelled revolutions, allegations of widespread flaccidity and exploding peaches...

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Published by: Brainwines.com on Jan 28, 2010
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Coffee: The Eccentric Saga of theWorld’s Most Traded Commodity
By Keith Hofman
intaton of ny ns wang a fashonab tuban, caffn-fudvoutons, agatons of wdspad accdty and xpodng pachs.
he natural birthplace o coee lies in arange o Ethiopian highlands about 1,500to 2,000 meters above sea level. Trivingin shade provided by the Ethiopian orests, coeetrees, laden with gorgeous white owers, redberries and a beloved compound called caeine,still grow wild to about ve meters in height.Soon afer the rst brewing o coee in Ethiopia,the bean’s global trek began with a visit to Yemen,and then o to the wide world, likely via Vienna(see below), and other Western locales.Tere are two main types o coee, Arabica(high quality, and the topic o discussion here),and Robusta (a much cheaper varietal with andhigher caeine content used in instant coeeand other aordable preparations). Arabica hasprooundly inuenced our entire world, andthis is her tale.Over many decades, in a quest to take overthe West, numerous Sultans rom the OttomanEmpire viewed Vienna as a key strategic city,and were thereore ervently bent on seizing it.A repeating ebb and ow o murderous battlesand unspeakable military atrocities culminatedin the 1683 Battle o Vienna. A key playerin the classic skirmish was a member o thePolish nobility, one Franciszek Kulczycki (alsoKolschitzky in German). Franciszek clearly wasa grand character, as he carried the envious, andconcomitant, titles o soldier, diplomat, spy andmerchant. In his youth, he became adept at bothurkish language and culture, and even worked asa urkish translator. Remarkably, these skills laterserved him, Vienna and maybe the entirety o theWestern world with a crucial military victory.During the 1683 battle, things began to go very poorly or the Austrians, and an Ottomanconquest almost certainly loomed as Vienna wasdying, starving and on the brink o being totally besieged. Te Austrians desperately needed tosummon military aid, and ast. Franciszek, whoat that juncture was a soldier o no particularaccomplishment, volunteered on an almostunimaginably testicular mission. He requestedto pose as an Ottoman solider and sneak throughmassive enemy lines to deliver the Austriancall or help to the King o Poland and theHoly Roman Emperor.He blended his way to and rom amonglegions o sworn-enemy combatants andsuccessully summoned the Christian military might his ellow soldiers would have died without.His disguise consisted o dressing in urkishgarb and singing songs that had helped him learnthe language as a child. Te ensuing victory marked the historic end o the Ottoman Empire’sexpansion into Europe. Franciszek was deemeda hero o Vienna and gifs and money wereshowered upon him in gratitude.Tereore, one could argue that even youowe Franciszek a debt o appreciation or stoppingthe Western world’s assimilation by Ottomans.
Coffee trees were rst harvested in Ethiopia.
Due to my ongoing ascination with nerd-like behaviour across ields o inquiry, Iwas absolutely delighted to discover anannouncement or an epic gathering orover-caeinated geeks.A Welcome to Wonderul Coee 2008”will be held in late June in Copenhagen,and guarantees sleepless attendeesthat it will be “the premier Europeancoee gathering this year”. Exhibitions,workshops, and complicated and variedcompetitions abound, including, but notlimited to World Barista Championship,World Cup asting Championship, WorldCoee in Good Spirits Championship,and the World Latte Art Championship.Sounds like a party.Don’t miss the “Coee Photography Competition”, as it’s sure to provide tenseand gripping montages o edgy, strung-outespresso cups captured in thespian posesunder the crush o grey matte inality.I you smoke, you may have to leave theproduction, ire one up, and weep aboutthe cruelty o lie.Finally, the ollowing lectures aresure to rivet even the newbie coeehound: “Advanced ilter and grinding”,the “Science o milk or baristas”, and, my personal avourite entry, “Everything youneed to know about porcelain”. Excitementis sure to runneth over.
Been dorking lately?
Additionally, all Western coee drinkersmay also be obliged to him or the orm in whichwe take our coee even today. You see, when theurkish orces retreated, they lef behind weapons, various provisions, armour and bag upon bag o unknown seeds. Many o the Austrian soldierscollected these treasures as victors are want todo. Te bags o seeds, according to legend,
Mr. Kulczycki, or he might have not only savedthe West, but he may have also ushered in theAge o Cappuccino.
RevolutionaRy Coffee
Te caeine in coee, as we all have experienced,can make us more talkative, more reectiveand, or many, more assertive. Tese eects,were thought to be some peculiar animaleed, deemed useless, and burned in greatstacks. At that same moment, Franciszek strutted around the battleield with thecomposure o a man who had just securedhis place in history. However, somethingwas about to muddle his moment in the sun.Somehow, through a warm wind, drippingwith the odors o rotting esh and ermentinghuman seepages associated with a 17th-century battleeld, the smoke rom these “animal eed”res wafed into his nose. Te rst inhale wentwithout notice, but upon a second sni, Franciszek instantly lost his poise and began hysterically running and shouting at his ellow soldiers. Onceagain, his childhood training in all things urkishcame into play. What he smelled was the aromao roasting coee beans, and he claimed theremaining bags as his own. No one else hadany clue about what he was so excited about.In a oreshadowing o modern day marketingthat many a sports star or celebrity has mimicked,he opened up a shop to cash in on his ame.Hordes ocked to see him, to hear his heroic taleso battle, and to try this bizarre brown drink hecalled “coee”. His store was a hit. Franciszek,however, did not rest on all his recent laurels.Sometime, soon afer his grand opening, he beganltering out spent grounds which were normally lef in the served cups, and toying with additionso milk and sugar to his brews. Te public roaredor Franciszek once again.Accordingly, when you next start your day with a hot, brown elixir o wakeulness, thank when initiated in a public place, and in concertwith others, can lead to a rapid and meaningulexchange o ideas.In France, the rst coeehouses were saidto be such hotbeds o cerebral exchange. In act,the dissemination o the world’s rst organisednewspaper was believed to have taken root in suchhouses. Many still claim that it was the massive
facts of note
Nicotine in tobacco and caeine in coeebeans were designed by nature as poisonsmeant to ward o attacking insects. Humans’intense love o both these toxins proves, onceagain, that ‘side eects’ are not all bad.
An anonymous and exceedingly hurriedman in a country known or impatient people(Italy) is credited with the invention o espresso, as he sarcastically suggested to a barista that he did not have time to wait or his coee.“Can’t you speed it up with pressure or something, buddy?” may haveindeed changed coee consumption or millions o people everywhere.
Tere is no espresso bean. Espresso can bemade rom a variety o coee beans.
Baristas can tell exactly when milk is ready or adding to coee by the deeper pitch o sound as they heat it.
In 1929 the acute and worldwide drop incoee prices is believed by many to have beena signicant trigger or the 1929 stock marketcrash, and thereore,subsequent GreatDepression in America.
A properly-madeespresso can containorders o magnitudemore complex thanwine; a shocking1,500 dierent smelland taste componentsare possible.
In the US alone, $10 billion is spent every year on quality coee.
‘Starbucks’ is named afer the coee-drinking rst mate in HermanMelville’s novel Moby Dick.
Both the concept o a ‘coee break’ and ‘Juan Valdez’ were marketingploys to increase coee consumption. Te ormer was the brainchildo a US/Latin American government group, while the latter was actional character designed to bring awareness o the beans’ originsto a woeully coee-ignorant 1960s American public.
The Arabica coffee bean has had a massive inuence on the world. A world without coffee is hard to fathom.

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