Brief history of coffee
Myth has it that coffee was first discovered in or around the 9th century in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) by a young goatherd. He noticed that his goats liked to graze upon berries which seemed to have interesting side effects! The goats jumped around seemingly full of energy and realizing that the berries must have some magical property the young goatherd took some back to the village elders. They boiled them with water and soon realized the stimulating potential of the brew. From this point on coffee plants were cultivated by man purely for their precious crop.
The Ethiopians traded with the Arabs and coffee spread eastwards. The Arabs jealously guarded the coffee plant and although they traded widely across the Islamic world all beans for export were boiled to prevent any chance of transplantation. However, the Dutch managed to transplant some to Java (Indonesia) in late 1600's, and this was the catalyst for the worldwide growth of coffee cultivation. In the late 17th Century coffee came to the masses of Europe and the first coffee houses opened in Italy, Austria and England.
By the 18th Century the French had introduced coffee cultivation to Martinique, and by the end of the century there were between 18 and 19 million coffee bushes firmly establishing Central America and South America as important coffee producers.
Today coffee is grown on five continents, is consumed worldwide, and is one of the most important commodities traded on the world markets.
Common types of coffeeCoffee Arabica - he coffee originated from Ethiopia and Yemen and accounts for more than 70% of the world's coffee trade. Arabica coffee grows at higher altitude about 1000 to 2000 m above sea level. Generally, the higher the altitudes, the harder the beans, and the better the quality. Arabica coffee has a wider aroma and taste.Coffee Canephora or Robusta - has its origin in Africa and Brazil. It grows at lower altitudes near sea level and requires little rain fall. The plant produce more fruit and less susceptible to disease that leads to lower production cost. The aroma and the taste of Robusta is more neutral than Arabica Coffee. Robusta coffee has higher caffeine compared to Arabica.
Evolution of global production of coffee
Global production of the last five years averaged 138,141 thousand bags of 60 kg. Production reached record levels in recent years because of performances of Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia. In Africa, Ethiopia and to a lesser extent Uganda, also contributed to the record levels while other African countries have struggled in their coffee sector. Africa production of coffee in the same period averaged 16,322 thousand bags of 60 kg (11.8%).
Evolution of global coffee prices
Similar to other agricultural raw materials, the global coffee market is characterized by a short period of high prices followed by another relatively long depression of prices. A cyclical evolution of prices. Prices which were at relatively high levels during the second half of the 1990s were at their lowest levels ever recorded in the early 2000s. The ICO composite average price fell from 138.42 U.S. cents per lb in 1995 to 45.59 cents per lb in 2001. From the middle of 2000s, prices have gradually improved and in 2011 the average of the ICO composite price reached 210.39 U.S. cents per lb.
[IMAGE] Found here: nationalgeographic.com