Coffee -

The civilized world is indebted to Africa for the coffee bean. Its name is variously attributed to that of the Abyssinian province of Caffa and the Arabian word K'hawah. Its early history is clouded in tradition, but it appears to have been known by the Ethiopians of Northern Africa from time immemorial. They used it not only for the making of a beverage, but also as a war food, by mixing the roasted, pulverized beans with grease and molding into balls - this being the only food they carried on short forays.

Its use reached Abyssinia toward the end of the thirteenth century, and traveled about two hundred years later into Arabia. The latter country seems to have been the stepping-stone to its universal consumption - and it was Arabian coffee shipped through the port of Mocha that shed a halo around the name of "Mocha" and led the coffee world into using it as a panoply for millions of tons that never saw Arabia!

In those days Arabian merchants were the most enterprising in the world - they stood at the gateway from Asia to Europe, and they added the coffee bean from Africa to the spices and other luxuries of the Orient. The use of coffee quickly spread outward - first to Persia and Syria, then to Cairo and in a few years to Venice. A little later it became the favorite drink at Constantinople, and Oriental coffee-houses sprang up everywhere in the city.

For the next hundred years, the trade appears to have rested content with the conquest of the countries bordering on the eastern Mediterranean, but in the middle of the seventeenth century the demand for coffee arose almost simultaneously in London, Paris and other European centers - and coffee-houses in London and cafes in Paris became important both in point of number and for the fashionable, literary and political classes which crowded them daily.

The progress of the coffee bean was beset with many obstacles. Religiously inclined people denounced coffee as an insidiously pernicious beverage, statesmen saw political danger in the discussions which marked the attendance at the coffee-houses - on this ground they were closed by government orders on several occasions and in several countries - and governments found new sources of revenue by heavy taxation on every gallon of coffee brewed - but the beverage proved its real worth by out-living all restrictions, and even all changes from the customs and habits of those former generations, and has steadily gained in popularity to the present rather staggering figures of an average yearly consumption of more than 2,500,000,000 pounds.

Until almost the end of the seventeenth century, only a little more than two hundred years ago, the world was entirely dependent on Africa for its coffee beans - no one had apparently attempted to carry the coffee shrub into any other soil. Louis XIV is credited with being the first to grow it in the French West Indian Colony of Martinique - and soon afterward it was successfully introduced and cultivated by other European governments in the West Indies and by the Dutch in Java, Sumatra and other islands of the Malay Archipelago. It was introduced into India in about 1700; twenty years later into Ceylon, from Java, by the Dutch, and in 1740 into the Philippines by Spanish missionaries from Java. At about the same time the first shrub was planted in Brazil, now the world's greatest coffee-growing country, and a little later it spread to Cuba, Porto Rico and Mexico, and thence to practically all other parts of Central and South America. To-day Africa, the original source, is a comparatively unimportant factor in the great bulk of coffee production.

Growing the bean and Preparing it for Market.

The common coffee shrub is an evergreen plant, which in its native growth is a slender tree of eighteen to twenty feet in height, with the greater part of the trunk clear but opening near the top into a few long drooping branches. Under cultivation the shrub is kept in a condition of short close growth, from four to six feet high, so as to increase the crop and to facilitate picking it - the branches, flexible, loose and expanding out and downwards, the lower ones horizontal, the upper, inclined to trail - the whole very pleasing in appearance. The leaves are oblong-ovate in shape, from five to six inches long and from two to three inches in width when full grown; smooth, firm and leathery in texture, dark, shiny green on the upper surface and pale green underneath. The flowers are white and fragrant, resembling the jessamine in odor, growing in dense clusters in the axils of the leaves. The fruit, which quickly follows the flower, is a fleshy berry, green at first, changing to a yellowish tint, then to red, looking then much like a small red cherry, and finally to a smooth glossy purple or dark red.

There are generally two or three main harvests in the course of a year, and cultivation aims to direct the crops as closely as possible to that end, but in a greater or less degree the shrub bears blossoms and fruit contemporaneously all the year round.

The flesh or pulp of the fruit, sweet and agreeable in flavor and frequently eaten by the pickers, encloses two seeds or beans, each inside a thin parchment-like skin. These seeds, oval in shape, rounded on one side and flat on the other where they rest together, with a little groove running the length of the flat side, constitute the raw coffee of commerce. They are at first of a soft bluish or greenish color, becoming hard and flinty on exposure and changing generally with age to a pale yellowish tint.

When only one bean is found inside the berry - occasionally in all varieties and frequently in a few - the "flat side" still holds the distinguishing groove, but it is nearly as round as the other. These beans are known as "pea-berries," "male berries" or "caracolillo" (Mexican). They are most plentiful on old bushes.

There are many varieties of coffee plants, but they all have the same general characteristics, and botanists differ as to whether or not they are really divisible into different families. The variety of general cultivation to-day is that known as the Arabian coffee plant. Increasing attention is, however, being devoted to the Liberian and the Maragogipi because of the more vigorous growth of the shrubs and the larger size of the beans (see coffee BEANS). They do not present the fine cup quality of the better grade Arabian, but their size and strength of flavor give them value for blending. The Liberian is native to Liberia, Africa, and is cultivated to a considerable extent in several countries, including Brazil, the Dutch East Indies and Ceylon. The Maragogipi is a native of Brazil.

The coffee shrub grows best in rich, well-irrigated soil in upland countries. Tropical climate, entire absence of frost and protection from the wind, are among the essentials.

Propagation is by buddings, cuttings and seeds, the custom varying in different countries. The young plants are transferred from the nurseries to the plantation when about eighteen inches high. In some countries they are planted close together - from four to eight feet each way; in others they are spaced as wide as ten to twelve feet and other crops are planted between the rows. The first crop is generally gathered when the shrubs are four years old, and they continue to produce for from ten to twenty years - and sometimes longer.

The berries are picked when just fully ripe - if not mature, the best flavor of the beans is lost, and if allowed to become over-ripe they may fall off and become spoiled on the ground. The picking is done by hand, the berries being dropped into a basket suspended around the neck of the gatherer, or into broad, flat bamboo receptacles placed beneath the shrubs, and thence emptied into hampers or sacks located at convenient points.

Under the old method, the berries are allowed to dry before the pulp is removed, but in what is known as the "new," "washing" or "West Indian" process (W. I. P.), they are taken direct and as fresh as possible to the "pulping house," where the pulp or meat is at once removed by machinery - leaving only the beans inside their "parchment" covering. This work is very carefully done, for to scratch the skin of the bean itself, called the "silver skin," to distinguish it from the parchment covering, is to render it worthless because of the processes to follow.

From the pulping machines, the "parchment" beans, so called because they still retain the outer skin-covering referred to, run into the first of a series of fermenting and washing tanks, where by lying in water or moistening they are fermented and then washed to remove the saccharine matter adhering to the parchment.

After the washing, the beans undergo the drying process - by exposure to the sun or by artificial heat, according to circumstances.

This is the last stage of the beans as "parchment coffee." The next step is hulling and peeling, but before this is undertaken the bean is allowed to remain in its parchment for several weeks, as this "curing" improves its quality and makes it retain its color better. The longer it is left - even for months or years - the more, as a rule, it will improve, but as lengthy curing makes it very difficult to remove the silver-skin, the bean is never left in the parchment longer than is absolutely necessary.

"Hulling and peeling" consists in the removal, generally by milling, of both the "parchment" and the "silver-skin." The bean after this process is at first very light-colored, but it soon changes to a sort of fern-green or greenish-yellow hue, and this color it retains for a considerable time if kept under proper conditions and away from dampness. With greater age the tint becomes, as already noted, a pale yellow, except East Indian types, which change in some cases to a dark brown as the result of storage methods and shipment in slow wooden sailing vessels.

As the beans emerge from the huller, they come first under the influence of a fan, which separates and removes the detached skins, and then go to the "separator" - an inclined revolving cylindrical sieve, divided into different meshes. Sand and dust drop through the first section, small and broken beans into the next and so on, the best and largest beans being retained.

In the most up-to-date plantations, separators of the eccentric or vibrator type have been installed in place of the revolving sieves, as they make possible a more accurate separation by sizes of the ordinary or "flat" beans, in addition to separating the peaberries for shipment as such.

The separation is followed by a careful sorting over by hand of the better grades to pick out any discolored or otherwise undesirable beans.

As soon as the sizing and grading are finished, the coffee is packed in bags or casks and is ready for market.

The methods outlined are employed only on modern plantations equipped with improved appliances, but the same principles are followed by all firms or individuals using the "washing process" on any scale. By the "dry" method, "milling" is used entirely in place of the fresh pulping and washing.

The value of the coffee marketed by the producer depends to a large extent on the care and judgement exercised in bringing it through the various processes - and the same care must be continued in the transportation of the bags to the port of shipment and in storing them in the ships which carry them to the consuming countries.

The transportation of coffee is also an important item in its cost. Its journey from the plantation to some central point is often by human portage through mountain districts and then by slow, tedious, bullock travel for long distances to the coast - with all the risk of deterioration en route.

coffee Consumed in the United States.

The following table of the imports of coffee into the United States during the twelve months ending June 30, 1909, gives a fairly accurate idea of the relative importance of the sources of our supply. The total figures vary considerably from year to year, generally averaging less than The calendar year 1910 showed a total of only 804,417,451 pounds.

POUNDS Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 818,444,714 Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60,183,641 Venezuela . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54,774,402 Other parts of South America . . . . . . 1,416,768 Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35,004,112 Guatemala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26,370,598 Salvador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,025,794 *Costa Rica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,956,093 Other Central American States . . . . . 1,399,156 Java, Sumatra and the East Indies generally . . 11,993,156 ------------- Carried forward . . . . . . . 1,022,568,807
POUNDS Brought Forward . . . . . . . 1,022,568,807 West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,313,213 Arabia (from Aden, the U. S. port of Mocha coffee) . . . 2,128,582 Turkey in Asia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,371,746 Holland (principally coffee from the Dutch East Indies re-shipped) . . . 1,593,003 England (including India and Ceylon coffees re-shipped . . . 2,054,119 Miscellaneous sources (re-shipped from Europe, small quantities from Africa, etc.) . . . 16,839,298 ------------- Total . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,049,868,768

*The imports from Costa Rica generally range from 11 to 20 million pounds.

It will be noted that Brazil supplied nearly 78% of all the coffee imported, and that other parts of South and Central America and Mexico furnished more than 18% leaving less than 4% to the credit of all the remainder of the world. In other words, we received during the year 1,010,575,651 pounds from South America, Central America and Mexico as against only a little more than 39,000,000 pounds from all other countries.

The coffee classifications best known to the general public are "Mocha," "Java," "Rio," "Santos," "Maracaibo," "Bourbon Santos," "Bogota" and "Pea-berry." The cheapest varieties of general consumption are the low grade Rios, and the dearest, the high grade "Javas," or East Indian, and Mocha.

There was formerly a great deal of deception and misunderstanding, much of it entirely unnecessary, in the buying and selling of coffee - not only by mixing in low grade, imperfect and otherwise undesirable beans for the sake of greater profit, for similar practices are found in greater or less degree in every line - but also in the marketing of good products under titles to which they have no right. The misuse of geographical names was for many years so widespread that they lost practically all their real significance to the general public - almost any small coffee bean was passed as "Mocha" and any larger uniform bean for "Java." That this was done is convincingly proved when we note that only a trifle more than one pound in every hundred received during the year came from Java or the vicinity of Java, and that all the coffee from the Mocha port of shipment amounted to only about one pound in every five hundred - yet every grocery store in the country sold enormous quantities of "Java and Mocha." The practice of substitution extended also to every variety and every grade of every variety.

Since the passage of the Pure Food Law there has been a great improvement in conditions. Millions of labels reading "Java and Mocha" were destroyed, others were amended by such additions as rendered them permissible. The word "Blend" was for a time so employed as to give prominence to the legend "Mocha and Java" on mixtures in which beans of those two types must have felt hopelessly in the minority, but this also was checked by the rule that coffees named in blends must be given in the order of the proportions contained in the package.

This revolution will eventually prove of great advantage to the industry. The former methods tended to retard rather than advance the proper appreciation of coffee as a beverage, which will naturally follow consistent retailing of the different varieties, grades and blends under inviolable titles. In many cases, the old style nomenclature was a distinct fraud on the purchaser by obtaining from him a higher price than the value of the beans. In others, where no fraud was intended and where the product was worth the price charged, the masquerade name attached to it was a foolish following of trade traditions. The practice is entirely unnecessary, as the average coffee sold here is of good quality, well and cleanly prepared, quite worthy of sale under its own proper names.

In defense of the retailer and merchants generally, it must be added that for generations they were in a majority of cases themselves victims of a world-wide system of false naming and substitution and that they only passed goods on as they received them and designated them the "same as others did."

When the adulteration of coffee is practised, it is generally in the ground bean. Nearly every conceivable substitute has at some time been ground and roasted to a resemblance of coffee - among them rye, rice, holly berries, barley, acorns, beet-root, beans, peas, carrots, etc.

If chicory is added without the knowledge or desire of the consumer, it is entitled to place as an adulterant, but it differs radically from the other articles mentioned as a great many people, especially in European countries, consider the addition of a certain percentage as an improvement on the straight coffee (see article on chicory). Under the present law, the addition of chicory must be announced on the label.

The average chemical composition of raw and roasted coffee is as follows:

Raw coffee Roasted coffee PER CENT PER CENT caffeine................................ 1+ 1+ sugar................................... 9 to 10 1/2 Caffetannic acid........................ 8 to 10 4 to 5 Fat and oil............................. 11 to 13 13 to 14 Albumin................................. 10 to 11 11 to 13 Nitrogeous extract and coloring matter.. 4 to 7 12 to 14 Dextrin................................. 1- 1+ Cellulose (fibre), etc. ................ 38 48 Ash..................................... 3 to 4 4 to 5 Moisture................................ 8 to 10 1

The liquid obtained by the ordinary brewing of the ground coffee contains however only unimportant percentages of components other than "caffeine," which furnishes its stimulating properties, etc.; "Caffeole," the chief aromatic principle produced from the fat, oil, etc., by the roasting process, and "Caffeic acid," a secondary flavoring component. The sugar is converted into caramel in the roasting.

The coffee bean contains less stimulating property than the tea leaf, but, as more is used for making the beverage, the two liquids offer approximately the same stimulating power.

Some of the albumin and cellulose is dissolved in the brewed coffee, and a little food material is thus included in the beverage, but the amount is necessarily quite small. The bulk is left in the "grounds."

The United States is the largest per capita consumer of coffee, the average consumption being about twelve pounds a year.

coffee Blending.

Blending is an important branch of the coffee business, but no exact rules can be laid down for its practice, as tastes differ in every country and often in different sections of the same country. The fundamental intent in high-class blends is to obtain a smooth, mellow, aromatic liquor, to add strength if too mild and to modify if too heavy. The genuine Mocha, for example, is a little too acid and the genuine Java generally not quite acid enough - hence the advantage of a blending of genuine Mocha and Java. In low grade blends, the aim is to make cheap, coarse beans palatable by adding a certain quantity of others of more pleasing flavor.

The best blends are obtained by roasting each type separately and then mixing and closing them up together immediately after - as old crop and new crop, or "mild" and "strong" beans require different lengths of time for the best results in roasting. If put in the cylinder to roast together, some are liable to be half raw while others are over-cooked.

coffee Selection.

Long experience is essential to the training of a coffee expert. The chapters following on the different coffee growths give brief descriptions of the beans of the principal varieties - but there are so many different kinds, so much alike and yet with so many minor differences of size, appearance, color and cup quality, that very few people can correctly judge the quality of a bean by its appearance raw - and only the keenest experts can determine its exact classification after roasting. The best test for the average merchant or consumer is by a sample infusion after roasting and grinding.

In purchasing the raw beans, one should also though bear in mind that:

  • (1) If all of one variety (i. e., before blending), they should be fairly uniform in size, appearance and color.
  • (2) They should be free from stems, stones, dirt and all such foreign matter.
  • (3) When cut, they should be the same general color all the way through. If the inside is considerably lighter than the outside, it will usually be found that the beans have been artificially colored.

Simple tests for ground coffee are:

  • (1) Press a little of the dry coffee between the fingers - if it cakes, it is adulterated, probably with chicory.
  • (2) Place a little of the dry coffee in a glass of water. If nearly all floats and the water does not color - or only a very little - the coffee is probably pure. If part of the coffee floats and part sinks, it is adulterated - probably with cereals, chicory or similar substances. If the water turns a deep reddish tint, chicory has been added to it.
  • (3) Spread a little dry coffee on a piece of glass or something similar and moisten with a few drops of water. Then pick out some of the smallest pieces with a needle - if they are soft, the coffee is certainly adulterated, as real coffee bean particles stay hard even after long immersion in water.

It must be remembered that the above tests apply only to the purity of the bean - they tell nothing of the flavor or aroma, which are determining points of value. A coffee may be perfectly pure, yet be harsh, musty, hidey or in many other ways undesirable - hence the necessity of testing flavor and aroma by making an infusion.

coffee Roasting.

The proper roasting of coffee alters its appearance and flavor by bringing about important changes in the component parts of the bean. It develops the "caffeine" (the active principle of coffee, corresponding to the theine in tea), by separating it from the tannic acid, frees the highly aromatic coffee-oil (the amount and quality of which largely determine the value of the roasted product), renders the fat more easily soluble by releasing it from the fat cells, and reduces the natural sugar while converting the saccharine matter into caramel. The result is that after roasting the bean readily releases the flavor and aroma for which it is famous and will, by thorough infusion in boiling water, yield a total of more than 40% of soluble matter - though in ordinary coffee making only from 10% to 15% is actually extracted.

The roasting in the average modern United States plant is preceded by passing the beans through a cleaning and milling machine which removes all foreign matter and gives a smooth finish. From this they go into large revolving perforated steel or iron cylinders, encased in brick and revolving over brisk fires. The cylinders are fitted with interior lateral ridges which keep the beans constantly moving in order that they may not become "tipped" or scorched. The time of roasting varies, but generally takes thirty minutes for a "light," and from thirty-five to forty-five minutes for a "high" or "dark" roast.

From the roaster, the beans pass to the "coolers," fitted with powerful exhaust fans which draw cold air through them to stop the roasting process, and then to the "stoner," which is an air-suction pipe generally about twelve inches in diameter and ten feet in height, the coffee being drawn up this pipe into a hopper, leaving the stones at the bottom to be discharged automatically. Finally comes the filling, by machinery, into bags, cans, etc.

The operation of roasting is easy to describe, but it requires much experience and good judgment to bring out the full strength, character and aroma.

A "light" roast should be of a cinnamon-brown color, uniform in appearance and free from specks. A "medium" roast should be deep chestnut. A "high" or "dark" roast should be of a chocolate-brown color and oily in appearance but free from burnt or scorched beans - which will spoil the flavor of any coffee, no matter how high grade. The "medium" roast is the most desirable for general retail custom.

So important is this process that a well roasted minor grade will yield a better liquor than the finest coffee a little under or over roasted.

coffee loses generally about 15% in weight in roasting, and afterwards should always be kept as tightly sealed as possible, as it loses in flavor from contact with the air and the beans become tough and hard to grind.

Grinding, Preparation, Etc.

The manner of grinding or cutting the coffee bean depends upon individual taste and custom. Coarse-ground coffee is not generally desirable, as it requires too long an infusion to extract the full strength - and too much boiling tends to spoil both flavor and aroma. A medium-fine grind is the most generally serviceable for ordinary home use.

There are many different formulas for preparing coffee for the table, the majority capable of being classified under the three following headings:

Infusion or drawing: putting the ground coffee into boiling water and keeping it hot on the range without boiling for eight to ten minutes. With ordinary care this method will produce a very pleasing beverage, but it does not bring out much of the stimulating property of the bean.

Decoction or boiling: putting the ground coffee in cold water, allowing it to come to a boil and keeping it boiling for a few seconds. This brings out more strength than the preceding method and makes an excellent liquor - but if the boiling is continued too long the fine aroma passes away.

For the "old-fashioned" boiling method, the white of an egg is first stirred into the ground coffee. The latter is then placed in the pot and the proper amount of boiling water is poured over it - the water, taken fresh, having previously been allowed to boil hard for ten minutes. The

coffee is permitted to come to a good boil, is stirred thoroughly once and then placed on the back of the stove for ten minutes. If any grounds appear on top, they are stirred a little and allowed to settle. This process gives excellent results but it requires a good deal of care.

Filtration or distilling: by the use of a "percolator," the boiling water passing slowly through the ground coffee held in the center of the machine. This method is largely used because the result is nearly always uniform.

No matter which method is employed, the grounds should never be allowed to remain in the coffee for any length of time after it is made.

In hotels, restaurants and other establishments where it is brewed in large quantities, the coffee is generally held in a bag or other receptacle in the upper part of the urn, in order that the grounds may be the more easily removed.

The best general advice to the person wishing a good cup of coffee is to buy coffee as pure as possible and of flavor that suits the individual taste, to have it fresh roasted, fresh ground to moderate fineness and fresh made in a scrupulously clean coffee-pot. With these points secured, a little practice will produce a fine beverage by any reasonable process.

A little cold water dashed in boiling coffee checks the boiling and causes the grounds to settle, leaving the beverage perfectly clear. In Creole cookery, the same result is obtained by adding a small piece of charcoal.

French coffee. The special flavor noticed in much of the coffee served in France is generally due to any one or all of the three following causes: (1) the addition of 10% to 30% of chicory, (2) the especially heavy roasting of the bean, and (3) the occasional addition of a little butter and sugar during the roasting. It is generally made in a percolator from fine ground coffee, the liquid being passed through the percolator two or three times to acquire greater strength.

Café au lait, "coffee with milk" or "French Breakfast coffee," generally means strong coffee served with boiling milk - about half coffee and half milk or to suit the individual taste.

Café noir, Black coffee or After Dinner coffee, requires an especially generous proportion of coffee, and percolation continued until the liquid is black.

Demi-tasse de café, or café demitasse, means literally only a small or half cup of coffee, but, carelessly used, the expression has come to signify Café noir or After Dinner coffee.

Café à la crème is made by adding plain or whipped cream to good Café noir.

Vienna coffee is prepared in a special urn which passes and repasses the steam through the (finely ground) coffee, thus retaining the full aroma. It is served with whipped cream.

Creole coffee is prepared by slow percolation. The coffee, fresh roasted and ground, is pressed compactly in the filter of the pot and a small quantity of boiling water is poured over. When this has passed through, more water is added, the process being continued at intervals of about five minutes. The result is a very strong and rich extract, which may either be served fresh or be preserved in an air-tight vessel for future use. A small quantity - even so little as a tablespoonful - of good "Creole coffee" is sufficient for a cup of coffee of ordinary strength.

Turkish coffee is made from beans ground as fine as powder, placed in a pot (either large or "individual") with cold water and brought to the boiling point. It is never allowed to boil and is served as it is without straining or settling the grounds.

Dutch coffee is prepared by cold water process from very fine-ground coffee held in a special filter with top and bottom reservoirs. It requires four hours or longer for the water to percolate through the coffee, and in its passage it extracts a large percentage of strength and flavor.

Russian coffee is strong, black coffee.

coffee Extract or Essence. Genuine coffee extract is made commercially by distillation - steaming and evaporating the liquid until it is reduced to the desired strength. One or two teaspoonfuls is generally sufficient to make a cup of coffee of moderate strength. For household purposes, it can be made with nearly the same result by following the formula for "Creole coffee."

coffee, whether raw or roasted, should always be kept away from all strong odors, as it absorbs them very rapidly. Roasted coffee (as already mentioned) should never be exposed to the air, as it will quickly lose its flavor and aroma.

The Principal coffee Growing Countries.

The first division of coffee is into "strong" and "mild." The Rios and some of the Santos constitute the "strong" varieties. The other part of the Santos crop and practically all the importations of other kinds, come under the heading of "mild."

The next classification by the wholesale merchant is by the country of export, subdivided in each case into various growths and grades.


The best known Brazil coffees are the Rios and Santos.

Rio coffees are heavy in body and with a distinctly characteristic flavor and aroma. The beans vary in size and color from large to small, and dark green to light yellow.

Santos coffees are generally milder than the "Rios" and very smooth and pleasing in the cup. The finer grades are of such excellent quality that they have been widely substituted for even high grade "Javas." They range from large to small and from green and rich yellow to very pale yellow.

"Red bean" Santos is obtained from the Campinas district. It is considered more "flavory" and richer than the yellow or greenish beans.

"Bourbon Santos" is a small bean variety which has grown rapidly in popularity on account of its acid or vinous character. It was formerly sold as "Mocha" or "Mocha Seed."

Among the numerous other types of Brazilian coffee are "Victoria" or Capotinea, Bahia and Liberian Rio.

The most generally accepted grades of "Rio" and "Santos" are from 1 to 10 or as follows:

Fancy - large and uniform in color and in size; clear and perfect in selection and attractive in general appearance. Divided into "Light," "Medium" and "Dark."

Prime - very clear and regular in color and size, but not so rich in appearance as "Fancy." Divided into "Light," "Medium" and "Dark."

Good - uniform in color and size, but ranging from "clear" to "strictly clear." Divided into "Light," "Medium" and "Dark." This is the average or "standard" grade.

Fair - only moderately clean and liable to contain some broken and otherwise imperfect beans.

Ordinary - irregular in color and size and liable to contain many black broken beans and a proportion of hulls, etc.

Common - the lowest grade, mixed with bad and broken beans, chaff, hulls, etc.


Colombia has in recent years grown largely in importance as a coffee raising country and its natural advantages promise still more abundant production.

The two best known varieties are Bucaramanga and Bogota, which rank among the finest of American coffees.

The coffee">Bucaramanga bean is large and solid and the liquor full, fragrant and aromatic. France and the United States take practically all the exportation.

coffee">Bogota is a mountain grown coffee, the bean large, uniform and bluish-green, and the liquor full-bodied, round and fragrant. It is the basis of a great number of high-grade blends.

coffee">Medellin is, in the best grades, also very highly considered.

Other lesser types are Cauca, Ocana, etc.

Colombia coffees are also commercially known as "Savanillas."


The two best types of Venezuela coffee are Maracaibo and La Guayra.

coffee">Maracaibos are divided into several varieties, among them Cucuta, Merida, Bocono, Tovar and Trujillo (the lowest), graded as Washed (the best), Prime to Choice, Fair to Good, Ordinary, etc.

Both the Cucuta and the Merida in good seasons often equal the finest coffees grown anywhere. The beans are large, round and solid, rich-yellow in appearance and making liquor of full ripe flavor.

The other three varieties mentioned are generally smaller and unattractive in appearance and their liquor is light, but they are useful for blending, as their flavor is usually pleasant.

La Guayra coffees are best known by the Caracas, Porto-Cabello and Coro types.

Choice "Washed" Caracas is an exceptionally fine coffee - rich, heavy and fragrant. The bean is large and bluish.

"Milled" Caracas makes only fair liquor. The bean is yellowish and medium size.

"Porto-Cabello" and "Coro" coffees, also largely consumed, vary in the bean from medium to small and from dark to pale green. They are classed as a mild coffee, but their liquor develops good strength as well as flavor.

Among other varieties largely exported are Carupano and Angostura.


The finest Central America coffee is generally that from Guatemala, where cultivation is conducted on the most modern lines. The best known type is the "Coban," a large shapely Blue bean producing a fine aromatic liquor.

Next in importance is the output of Costa Rica. The raw bean averages large and handsome and roasts to very good advantage, but the bulk of the best grades goes to Europe, and many shipments of the lower qualities sent to the United States give a liquor somewhat bitter and not very desirable.

The Salvador bean is generally of medium size and, in the best grades, is well developed, heavy and greyish-yellow. The liquor is fairly strong, but of only moderate flavor. The poorer grades are very uneven and broken and the liquor weak.

Nicaragua coffee closely resembles the medium grade of Salvador.

Honduras produces a yellow heavy bean of attractive appearance. The liquor is smooth and pleasing but rather weak and frequently marked with a cocoa odor.

Panama has not yet established any high records, but the quality of the product has been considerably improved in recent years.


Mexican coffee is roughly divided into "Washed" and "Unwashed," the former being the choicer. The bulk of the export formerly went to France, but the United States receipts have grown largely during recent years.

The two "fanciest" types of Mexican beans are the Tepic and Caracolillo, the latter being generally known here as "Mexican Pea-berry."

coffee">Tepic, formerly known as "Mexican Mocha," is said to be grown from a later introduction of the Arabian shrub, so carefully cultivated that some judges consider the product fully equal in quality to that of the parent plant. The bean is small, hard and of steel-Blue color, making a creamy, aromatic liquor. Very little of this variety is exported, local consumers taking nearly all the crop.

coffee">Caracolillo is a variety almost unique. As already noted, "Pea-berries" are found to some extent in all coffee-bean crops, but the shrubs from which the Caracolillo product is obtained bear it almost exclusively.

After these two special types, which do not affect the general market, come Oaxaca, Cordoba, Coatepec, Colima, etc.

The coffee">Oaxaca (pronounced Wah-har-kar) bean is large and well developed, Blue in color when new, but becoming whiter as it ages. The liquor is strong, rich and fragrant.

coffee">Cordoba is sometimes styled "Mexican Jack." The bean is large and yellow and the liquor rich and full, resembling a fine Maracaibo or a medium fine "Java."

The coffee">Coatepec bean is large, well developed and more acid than the preceding types.

coffee">Colima is a medium-sized bean, flat, fairly well developed and with liquor pleasing in flavor and moderately rich.

Small quantities come also from Tuxpan and several other lowland districts, but the quality is generally inferior.


The Dutch East Indies, especially the islands of Java, Sumatra and Celebes, are famous as the largest exporters of fine coffees. They are best known to the lay public by the name of the island of Java, the most populous of the group and the central point of Dutch commercial activity, but the greater part of the East Indian coffee consumed in the United States is of Sumatra growth. That from Celebes is generally rated the highest in European markets.

Other countries produce in certain sections beans as choice as the very best "Java," but the quantities they can export are comparatively unimportant. The greater output of the Dutch East Indies is partly due to the natural adaptability of soil and climate and partly to the systematic cultivation by native inhabitants under the rule of Holland. In spite of government care there is, however, much variation in the beans grown - a considerable quantity of those exported do not deserve the reputation the fine "Javas" have earned.

East Indian coffees are in this country principally graded by color - "Brown," "Yellow" and "Pale" - the darker beans bringing the highest prices.

This discrimination was originally founded on the fact that some of the choicest varieties of "Java" beans become at the same time browner in color and more mellow and pleasing in flavor in storage and transport - being in the former respect entirely unique. The distinction is not fundamentally accurate, as some of the light bean varieties are better than many of the dark types. In Europe, the yellow colored beans are preferred. When fresh, all East Indian coffees are light sea-green, or Blue-green.

Dutch East Indian coffees, other than those grown on the island of Java itself, are now generally described in trade and government circles as "Dutch East Indian," or by trade titles, or by districts, as Padang, Mandheling, Corinchie, Timor, Kroe, etc.

The title "Government" is sometimes applied as a distinguishing title to coffee produced on plantations operated under government supervision - as are all of the old and many of the new plantations.

The title "Old Government Java" was at one time a name to conjure with, for, as first employed, it applied only to beans that had been held - sometimes for considerable periods - in the government storehouses. Until recently, nearly all the produce of the Dutch East Indies was sold by quarterly government auction, and any goods for which the upset price was not bid were held in the warehouses to await an improvement in market demands - the result being in many cases an improvement also in the coffees, spices, etc., by the opportunity thus given them to mature under the best possible conditions. The term long ago though deteriorated into a practically meaningless trade title from being applied indiscriminatingly to any brown East Indian coffee irrespective of growth or quality, and it is now "out of date," as the government auctions were discontinued in June, 1909, present sales being by contracts with firms or individuals.

"Plantation" or "Private Growth" coffees are those raised on plantations owned and operated by individuals in contra-distinction to those under government supervision. Some are of very high quality.

"Blue-bean Java" is a title occasionally applied to W. I. P. or "Washed" East Indian.

"Liberian-Java" is that grown from shrubs of the Liberian species. Its quality is generally inferior to the Arabian bean varieties.


Arabian coffee is universally termed "Mocha," though no coffee was ever grown in Mocha - which is only a shipping town surrounded by deserts, and not to-day even an important shipping point, as the opening of the Suez Canal transferred nearly all the traffic to the ports of Aden and Hodeidah. This country is supplied from Aden.

The best Arabian and the true "Mocha" coffee is that from the province of Yemen. The most surprising point in connection with its cultivation is that though the coffee shrub requires in other countries rich soil and favorable conditions to produce an acceptable crop, here in Arabia some of the choicest coffee in the world comes from stunted shrubs growing in hot, sandy, stony mountain-side gardens. All conditions, climate and soil seem to be against the shrub's best growth, but by way of recompense it receives the most careful and painstaking human attention. The gardens are arranged on rocky terraces, one above the other, and are irrigated from large reservoirs of spring water placed above the highest.

There are two main crops during the year. The berries, instead of being picked, are allowed to ripen until they fall. They are then carefully gathered up, dried, hulled and cleaned with scrupulous exactness.

The separation of the finest "Mocha" beans by growers and merchants is in itself a study of infinite detail - they are assorted and re-assorted into a perfect graduation of sizes and qualities.

The true Yemen "Mocha" bean is very small, hard and round, regular in size in the best qualities, olive-green when new and a rich semi-transparent yellowish when aged. Its odor when fresh roasted is characteristic, and the liquor is creamy, rich, rather heavy, a little acid, and extremely aromatic and fragrant.

"Tehama" Arabian coffee - that from the province of Tehama - is distinctly inferior to "Yemen." The bean is of about the same size, but it is immature in appearance and often mixed with fragments of hull, etc. Its flavor is quite second-rate when drunk alone, but it imparts a pleasing fragrance and delicacy when blended with a good "Java," etc.

Abyssinian coffee from the vicinity of Harrar and properly called "Harrar coffee" was formerly shipped via Aden as "long-berry Mocha." It is of the same color as the real "Mocha" but is longer and more pointed and has a rank, leathery odor.


The West Indian islands produce a large quantity of excellent coffee, but the bulk of the finest grades is exported to Europe, as better prices can generally be obtained there than in this market. The greater part of the supply shipped to this country comes from the British West Indies, principally from Jamaica, and Haiti, with small quantities from Santo Domingo, Cuba and the Dutch West Indies.

The best Jamaica coffee, known as "Blue Mountain," is a bean of fair size, attractive appearance and bluish color, making a full, rich, fragrant liquor, but "Plain-grown," the variety chiefly imported, is a much inferior grade. The bean, large, whitish and flat, is generally "hully" and the liquor is strong and rather rank or "grassy" in flavor. It is employed almost exclusively for blending with beans of other varieties.

Haitian and San Domingo beans are large, flat and whitish. Their appearance is spoiled by crude preparation, which leaves them hully and includes broken beans, stems, etc., but their liquor is rich, mild and pleasant.

The best Cuban grades come from the Guantanamo, Alquizar and San Marcos districts and the Sierra Maestra plantations. The beans are large and whitish and rather especially rounded on the flat side. They are generally excellent in cup quality.

Porto Rico produces very good coffee, the beans regular and well-formed, from yellow to greenish in color, and making a very good flavored liquor, but the product goes almost exclusively to Europe. Proposed Government co-operation with the growers may result in stimulating traffic with this country.


There are several distinct varieties of Ceylon coffees, as follows:

coffee">"Native," grown in the lowlands - a large, flat white bean of poor quality.

coffee">"Plantation," the product of carefully cultivated modern plantations - the bean large, of light-bluish or green tint, well developed and very regular, giving a liquor which is smooth, rich and aromatic.

coffee">"Liberian-Ceylon," a hybrid of the Liberian species - the bean smaller and paler than the parent variety and the liquor less strong, but smooth and pleasant in flavor.

"Ceylon-Mocha," a small bean, very even and uniform - generally obtained by separating from the regular "plantation" crop. Both in appearance and flavor it resembles the genuine "Mocha."

The two best known varieties of Indian coffee are coffee">"Malabar," a small hard bean of fine quality; and coffee">"Mysore," a large bluish-green bean, giving a rich, strong liquor, resembling "Java."


Coffees from Ecuador are generally known under the title of Guayaquil, from the general port of that name. The beans vary from medium to large, are fairly uniform in appearance and give good full fragrant liquor. They are quite largely shipped to the Pacific Coast States.


The coffee industry in the Philippines has in the past suffered from lack of proper cultivation, but it is only a question of time when it will fill an important position, for both soil and climate are admirably suitable. In spite of scanty attention and poor preparation, the better grades have won high esteem in European markets because of their rich flavor and pleasing aroma.

The beans are generally classed as Luzon, Manila and Zamboango, the two latter from the names of the shipping ports.

coffee">Luzon is a small bean type, hard in texture and rich in cup quality. If properly cleaned and prepared, it would rank high.

The coffee">Manila bean is medium in size, regular in shape and pale green in color, with fine aromatic liquor. It comes principally from the districts of Cavite, Batangas, La Laguna and the immediate vicinity.

coffee">Zamboango, from the Southern islands, is the poorest grade. The beans are large, yellowish and rather flabby and the liquor is weak and coarse.


In addition to the countries, there are a number of others which produce coffee to a considerable total, including some of very fine quality, but the imports into the United States are not sufficient in volume to affect market conditions.

Arround Coffee in The Grocer's Encyclopedia

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