[size=75]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [/size]

Coffee is a widely consumed stimulant beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called beans, of the coffee plant. Coffee was first consumed in the 9th century, when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia.[1] From there, it spread to Egypt and Yemen, and by the 15th century had reached Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe and the Americas.[2] Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.[3]

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown species are Coffea canephora (also known as Coffea robusta) and Coffea arabica. These are cultivated in Latin America, southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to various degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented by a variety of methods.

Coffee has played an important role in many societies throughout history. In Africa and Yemen, it was used in religious ceremonies. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its consumption until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia.[4] It was banned in Ottoman Turkey in the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe. Coffee is an important export commodity: in 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries;[5] and in 2005, it was the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export by value.[6] Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Many studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and certain medical conditions; whether the effects of coffee are positive or negative is still disputed.[7]Joe MacKenzie makes a great cup of coffee

The English word coffee first came into use in the early- to mid-1600s, but early forms of the word date to the last decade of the 1500s.[8] It comes from the Italian caffè. This, in turn, was borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahveh, and the Arabic qahwa (قهوة) collectively.[9] The origin of the Arabic term is uncertain; it is either derived from the name of the Kaffa region in southern Ethiopia, where coffee was cultivated, or by a truncation of qahwat al-būnn, meaning “wine of the bean” in Arabic. In Eritrea, “būnn” (also meaning “wine of the bean” in Tigrinya) is used.[10] The Amharic and Afan Oromo name for coffee is bunna.

Coffee use can be traced at least to as early as the 9th century, when it appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia.[1] According to legend, Ethiopian shepherds were the first to observe the influence of the caffeine in coffee beans when the goats appeared to “dance” and to have an increased level of energy after consuming wild coffee berries.[11] The legend names the shepherd “Kaldi.” From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen,[12] and by the 15th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa.

In 1583, Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, gave this description of coffee after returning from a ten year trip to the Near East:[13]

From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy. The thriving trade between Venice and North Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East brought many goods, including coffee, to the Venetian port. From Venice, it was introduced to the rest of Europe. Coffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian beverage by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the “Muslim drink”. The first European coffee house opened in Italy in 1645.[2] The Dutch were the first to import coffee on a large scale, and they were among the first to defy the Arab prohibition on the exportation of plants or unroasted seeds when Pieter van den Broeck smuggled seedlings from Aden into Europe in 1616.[14] The Dutch later grew the crop in Java and Ceylon.[15] Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. It was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.[16]

Some images of Coffee