Monday, December 22, 2014

History of Coffee ~ Part 2

We left off on our coffee journey in Europe. Since coffee has made such a splash on the continent it seems only right that it would eventually spread to it's American colonies. In fact, when a tax was imposed on tea and the angered colonists dumped all of the tea freight into the harbor, coffee was deemed the drink of the patriots. Coffee became a political symbol signifying separation from England and unity with the United States of America as it was later to become.

Meanwhile, the French and Dutch were disputing border rights and asked a Brazilian official to adjudicate. This Brazilian official fell in love with the French man's wife, but once the border issue was solved the French woman sent the Brazilian official away with nothing but a token of her love. This token, however, proved to be very valuable as it held fertile coffee beans. Brazil now has it's hands on its very first cash crop that swept the nation and gave its people a new economic standing.

Because of the huge market for coffee, Brazil clears many of its rain forests in order to make room for more coffee plantations. These coffee plantations ruin the ecological system and begin to ruin families as they bring in African Americans to harvest the coffee as slaves.

Coffee Barons spring up like weeds in Brazil. These plantation owners were considered royalty and the farms were passed down from generation to generation.

Back in America, the desire for Brazil's coffee skyrocketed. Cowboys made the drink popular by drinking it to stay warm and alert while tending to their cattle. In order to drink the charbroiled sludge their percolators spewed out, they would clarify the coffee by putting eggshells or fish skin in the cup. This made the ground sink to the bottom.

Industrial Revolution workers began to drink coffee also to stay alert and warm in the factories wile they worked 12, 14, 16 hours at a time. A man named Jabez Burns saw a need for a different kind of mass producing roaster, one that would create a unique, delicious roast, without burning the beans badly. Thus, he invented the self-emptying batch roaster. This concept is used in almost all modern models today.

John Arbuckle, known as the master marketer, saw a niche for packaged coffee. It was great for large companies to buy these batch roasters and sell the coffee, but how would folks get it home? Arbuckle began putting roasted coffee in paper bags.

Now....up until  now the world has only seen coffee in a cafe setting (roasted on location) or in small batches, roasted at home. It is during the Industrial Revolution that America birthed the idea for mass amounts of beans to be roasted for consumers to take home and brew at their convenience. This is the beginning of what we are familiar with today.