Perk Up Your Vocabulary With Coffee Talk

Next to oil, coffee is the most widely traded commodity. The consumption of coffee is about 400 billion cups a year and continues to grow. Like any other popular commodity, coffee has its share of controversies.

Over the years, worldwide controversies have arisen over coffee. It has been called many expletives including "the drink of the devil", an evil brew and a beverage that causes men's impotence. On the other hand, literary masterpieces, national testaments and oratories have been created, medical advances have been made and huge business deals have changed the course of history, all over a cup of coffee. Of course, none of these advances were due to the coffee, but may well be indebted to it.

A cup of coffee is so much more than a humble beverage. For so many reasons, the world just loves its java.

Much like wine, coffee takes special preparation. Like wine it takes dedication and specialized processes and cultivation, although it is the antithesis to wine. Wine will relax the body and tends to slow mental processes. This isn't the case with coffee. Coffee calms rather than intoxicates. Coffee stimulates the senses rather than dulling them. As the famous line goes, "It cheers the spirit without making one mad."

And like wine, coffee needs blending, brewing and the various other preparations that go with excellent drinks. Coffee also has its own vocabulary. To be truly familiar with coffee here are some of its more notable terms:

Acidity

Carrots and coffee have nearly the same pH. Acidity in coffee contributes to its special liveliness, color and brightness.

Arabica

Arabica is one of the primary types of coffee. The other is Robusta. Coffee Arabica contains less caffeine, but it is harder to cultivate as it grows best at altitudes between 3,500 to 7,000 feet. It has a superior full bodied taste compared to Robusta and is consequently more expensive.

Bourbon is a variety of Arabica coffee that is grown in Africa. For some time, the cultivation of bourbon Arabica coffee was not seriously pursued, because although it has more character and taste, it does not yield as large a crop as the other Arabica varieties. However, our insatiable love affair with coffee has brought about increased cultivation and a rise in popularity.

Blends of Coffee

Blending coffee is much like artists mixing colors on their palettes. Coffee blenders take beans grown from various coffee growing regions, mix them to craft a taste that is special and cannot be achieved with coffee of single origin.

Body or Feel

The "body" of the coffee is a term used to describe the way it feels in the mouth. The body may be thin, delicate, light, syrupy or buttery.

Decaffeinating / Decaf

This process is used to minimize the caffeine content of the coffee beans. Several processes can be utilized to remove the caffeine content. One is a method using chemicals, another makes use of a variety of water processes, while the third method uses carbon dioxide. In each of these decaffeinating processes, the chief concern is to preserve the natural flavor of the coffee bean.

Coffee Grade

Coffee beans are classified by their size and density. Premium coffee is the highest possible grade and it is sold at the highest price.

Methods of Processing

Processing is the separation of flesh from bean. There are two types of coffee processing: washed and dry. When coffee is processed using the dry method, the cherries are spread across the ground and allowed to dry in the sun. Several times each day, the beans are raked to ensure even drying. After two to three weeks, the dried flesh will crack and falls off of the bean. This method of dry processing gives a syrupy texture and an earthy flavor to the coffee.

With washed processing, the skin is cut from the coffee beans and the beans are allowed to stand. When the beans begin to ferment, the skins are easily washed off with water. Then, the beans are dried. With this washing process, the natural flavors of the coffee are preserved.

Now that you can talk the talk, it's time to walk the walk. Meet your friends for coffee and wow them with your inside knowledge of everyone's favorite bean.

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About The Author, Benedict Neel
Benedict Neel is a writer for numerous popular web sites, on leisure centres and other hobby topics.