Saturday, June 25, 2011

Coffee

Our history with coffeeAmong the many legends regarding the origin of coffee, perhaps the most reliable is the tale of Kaldhi the shepherd. It is said that sometime during the 14th century, while quietly tending to his goats in the countryside of Ethiopia (most likely in the region of Kaffa), he saw his herd was behaving peculiarly, after having ingested the fruit and leaves of a nearby bush. Kaldhi noticed the plant bore fruit resembling grapes-and decided to try them.

Upon sampling the fruit, the shepherd felt suddenly energized and quickly rode to transport both the fruit and the branches of this strange new plant to the local mosque. Puerto Rican coffee was lauded in Spain, France, Italy, and Germany, swiftly becoming the favored beverage of kings, popes, and the literary élite. Today the Puerto Rican coffee industry boasts over 50 million dollars in annual sales. The industry employs over a quarter of a million inhabitants in 21 towns across the island. Cortadito (from the Spanish, meaning ‘slightly cut') is the name given to a serving of café expreso laced with a few drops of hot milk


Centuries later, in the year 1736, the first coffee plant was transported from Africa to Puerto Rico, probably during one of the frequent slave trade voyages of the day. Mountain-dwelling farmers, and in particular, Corsican immigrants, during the 19th century, helped found the basis of what would soon become a lucrative and prestigious coffee aristocracy in Puerto Rico, producing what many connoisseurs consider to be the finest coffee in the world. Due to its distinctive taste and incomparable aroma. An age-old Arabian proverb instructs us that coffee must be 'as black as the devil, as hot as the underworld, as sweet as love itself, and as pure as an angel.' One can only wonder if that same nameless Arabic scribe had first tasted Puerto Rican coffee before penning that verse.


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Black Gold part 2 of 8

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Black Gold part 4 of 8

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