The origin of coffee
Coffee is a beverage well known all across the globe, with more than 1 billion coffee enthusiasts worldwide, it is the second most exported product next to oil. This popular beverage is made from the seeds of the coffee bush, called coffee beans. The coffee bush originally comes from subtropical Africa and only grows in similar conditions across the equator from where it is exported to other parts of the world. Africa is also the birthplace of today’s coffee culture as coffee-drinking originated in Ethiopia two thousand years ago and has since spread via the Arabian Peninsula to Turkey, and further.
Coffee beans or berries?
The coffee beans as we know them are actually seeds in a cherry-like berry that grows on bushes. They are called “beans” because of their resemblance with beans. Each coffee berry contains two seeds which are harvested and roasted in order to produce the coffee.
A rich flavour
Few products have such a natural range of aromas as coffee, which contains hundreds of them and they all bring their own characteristics into the taste mix. The range of flavours increase further when you take into account factors such as the type of bean (Arabica or Robusta), place of growth, weather, roast, and blend. This makes coffee so versatile, and different types of blends and roasts are suitable for different types coffee drinks such as espresso or lungo, as well as what type of compliments or food it goes with.
One special characteristic of coffee is its natural high level of caffeine, which can increase focus and temporarily prevent fatigue. The smell of coffee alone can make you alert. A group of researchers have concluded that just inhaling the coffee aroma can change the activity of certain genes in the brain and remove sleep deprivation. And by drinking the coffee, the caffeine reaches your blood extra fast. Legend has it that goat herds in Ethiopia in the 10th century noticed the effect of caffeine on their goats, which seemed to “dance” after eating coffee berries. A local monk then made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him awake all night. This was when the first cup of coffee is believed to have been made.
Health benefits of coffee
According to a research study from the University of Scranton, coffee is the leading source of antioxidants in the United States. Americans consume an average of 1299 mg of antioxidants from coffee every day. Tea is a distant second with 294 mg. Research has shown that elderly patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood are less likely to get Alzheimer’s, and that caffeine has positive effects on diabetes and Parkinson’s, and it also protects against skin cancer in women. Coffee can also improve their fitness levels and reduce the risk of death. One can overdose on coffee, though. Toxicity from a caffeine overdose can cause symptoms such as restlessness and nausea to irregular, rapid heartbeats and seizures. But to reach a lethal dose, one must drink over 100 cups within a short period of time.
Challenges with coffee
Today, there are approximately 25 million farmers in more than 50 countries involved in producing coffee. Growing coffee is still tied to a subtropical climate, so much that the most influential factor determining the price of coffee worldwide is the weather in Brazil. Bad weather such as drought and frost can indicate a future shortage of coffee and rising prices, so the need for a stable climate is of importance. Still subtropical regions are very bound to geographical locations close to the equator, which demands long distance transportations in order to reach all coffee lovers of the world. Coffee is also one of the most sprayed crops, with pesticides not only covering the bushes and beans, but also leaking into the groundwater, therefore damaging the biological diversity, as well as the working environment of the farmers.
Others do climate warming.Sjöstrand
We do climate compensation.
A way of tackling these challenges is to only use organic coffee. This prevents the use of harmful pesticides, but it also encourages more sustainable farming practices in terms of less emissions. Organic coffee beans are more commonly grown in the shadows of other plants and trees, which makes the farming create natural carbon sinks. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation reports that studies have shown organic coffee only emitting a third of what non-organic coffee does.
Sjöstrand only uses organic Arabica beans, and we always climate compensate at least 110% of the emissions let out by our coffee. The emissions are calculated to cover the whole coffee lifecycle and includes the whole journey from bean to cup.