Coffeetunes #15

This weekend marks two special occasions: first, it’s the last actual weekend during February and second, one of my best friends and I are going on holiday!!! There will be a couple of plane rides involved, hence the playlist.

A short trip every once in a while to catch some sun and enjoy some real friends quality time while exploring and getting a sense of a brand new culture, is just what a decent end of winter shall look like – right? I promise, we will do some coffee house exploring too. <3

Maybe you’re on a train, a bus, on a roadtrip, on a sofa, on a bench, the beach, in the garden, running, relaxing or whatever you’re doing, no matter where .. maybe you feel like listening to some tunes! Enjoy, fellow coffee mates & have a gorgeous weekend regardless.

A wee bit of Coffee Knowledge

Quite recently I took the time to do a bit of coffee reading. Besides industry magazines I am very much enjoying, I thought it might be time to refresh my basic coffee knowledge and see if there is anything new, particularly special or even newsworthy to catch up regarding the coffee industry. Obviously there are trends in every niche that come and go and I think it´s nice to keep yourself informed, like on a regular basis. Anyway, I thought I use this Monday to write down some basics about the coffee world and maybe there are some bits and pieces which are new to you as well. If all of that feels like a bit of a revision to you, then cups up — you are a true coffee chief already. 😉

There is Robusta & Arabica…

The two most common types of coffee are robusta and arabica coffee. The robusta coffee contains way more caffeine actually than the arabica one. As the name slightly hints to it already, robusta coffee is way more robust — which basically means, robusta coffee plants survive in regions where the weather can be a bit more stormy, harsh and unpredictable in general. Robusta coffee grows in countries like Vietnam, India and Indonesia. The taste is more chocolaty, darker, cacao-ish and bitter and this type of coffee actually is very popular for espresso. The caffeine level goes up to 4,5%.

Whereas arabica coffee has a caffeine level of about 1,7% maximum and tastes more bloomy, fruity, nutty and is a bit more pure which is great for filter coffee. Arabica coffee grows in Brasilia, Columbia and Ethiopia, to name a few.

Overall, robusta coffee makes 30–40 % and arabica coffee makes 60–70 % out of coffee cultivation worldwide.

Coffee comes from… And today we get it from…

The answer is, Ethiopia! Yes, Ethiopia is yet the very first country worldwide where coffee has its origins. There were several developments regarding coffee ever since, which are called the coffee waves. Today, we are experiencing the third wave of coffee which stands for high-quality and sustainability. The coffee scene has come a long way since its early stages which go back to the end of the 17th century. Europe is until today the continent which is most famous for its coffee house culture.

Today, we get our coffee from various parts of the world. The number one coffee exporter as it is the biggest, is Brazil. Amongst the top 10 coffee exporters generally are — besides Brazil which has up to 300.000 coffee farms and half of them result in homeland coffee consumption — are, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexiko, Peru and Guatemala. For instance, Columbia grows almost entirely arabica coffee beans — the harvest takes place two times a year, once between March & June and the other between September & December. Honduras on the other hand, does its harvesting once a year only between November and April and takes pride in standing for its balanced, fruity yet chocolaty coffee.

Some further coffee facts… Did you know, that…

The condition of the ground as well as the amount of sun and rain during the ripening time has effects on the taste of the coffee. Sensitive coffee plants actually need a well-balanced climate all season round — during the day and during the night. Plus, shadow and enough rainfall is crucial for a satisfying coffee taste. The ground quality plays a major role and ideally, the ph value is between 5 & 6, which is a bit sour. The richer in nutrients the ground is, the better for the coffee plant and eventually the taste.

Coffee plants can get a height of up to 3,5 metres. They are in their wilderness form only to be found left in Ethiopia. The bushes carry fruits which we call coffee cherries. The resulting coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee cherries. So, coffee is basically a fruit which grows in the nucleus of a coffee cherry. The coffee cherries dry either natural under the sun or get washed before the further coffee steps take place.

Last but not least, one further fact… Speciality coffee actually means hand harvested. The process of the whole coffee value creation chain is way more precise, detailed and sustainable. According to the Speciality Coffee Association, coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded specialty.

That´s a wrap! I hope it was some kind of useful to you and I´d be happy to write more about detailed parts in the future as well! Have a good start into the new week & enjoy your coffee!!

A love letter to the coffee house landscape

Visiting a café is an experience that engages all the senses. Everyone might associate something different when thinking of the term coffee house. You could either be thinking of something more traditional, classy, or of something like take-away place, bakery or hipster place. Maybe you were just thinking of a mobile coffee van — and I am sure probably in this very moment, there is opening a new coffee house somewhere in the world. It is actually quite hard to tell how many of such types of coffee houses exist in total — imagine all the coffee market stands, the places near the highway, the boutique cafés in the parks and museums or in the hotels plus the independent coffee houses and the chains — well there is definately no shortage! Hence I thought, I dedicate a few paragraphs to the historical side of this phenomenon, a beloved one for many people.

TischKult Atelier – Austria

Beginning with the early description of School of Wisdom which is a meeting place of men of arts and literature, then followed by the refer to Penny Universities in England that became popular forums to discuss all manner of political issues, current affairs while paying for a cup of coffee, and moving on to Seminaries of Sedition in England which is a view held by the authorities who saw cafés as anti-social and ordered them to get a license, and finally Kaffee Klatsch in Germany, the description of a women gossip afternoon coffee session, shows that the term coffee house has experienced quite a development before actually receiving its well-known name.

The coffee house culture in Europe has come a long way since the first coffee houses appeared in Venice, Italy back in 1629. You may have heard of or even have visited one of the most historical ones called Caffè Florian. It is one of the oldest coffee houses that is existing until this very day. A very traditional, classy yet fancy place which truly celebrates the coffee culture and its people. It is simply impressive when you just think of how many conversations have taken place over hundreds and hundreds of decades in one coffee place. So many stories! That is fascinating.

The coffee scene kept growing fairly quickly, followed by a few first coffee houses in England and France. In the five o’clock tea town London, the very first coffee house was opened by Edward Lloyd near the Thames back in 1685, called Edward Lloyd Coffee House. A few years later in 1696, the location of this coffee house changed very close to the centre of English maritime trade. While running the coffee house, Edward Lloyd launched a list which was filled with information on ship arrivals and departures and included some intelligence on conditions abroad and at sea. This list functioned as a daily news provider on stock prices, foreign markets and high-water times at London Bridge and reports of accidents and sinkings. Although the historical coffee house is not trading anymore, it is still very famous today. Indeed, it was from this coffee house that Lloyd ́s of London was established which eventually became the largest insurance company worldwide.

With Oxford, London and later on Paris being the first hubs for coffee houses, the Austrian capital Vienna is yet the place where the culture of drinking coffee was itself widespread in the country until today. While it is hard to tell an accurate number of the existing coffee houses worldwide, it´s relatively easy to limit it on one city. According to statistical evaluations by the federal chamber of economics of Austria about the current gastronomy businesses, there are almost 850 (by the end of 2018) coffee houses located in Vienna. Close to a thousand coffee places in just one single city in a country. Isn´t that a true homage to the coffee scene itself?

Vienna is the city which is probably the most famous one worldwide when it comes to the coffee house scene. Since 2011, the Viennese coffee house culture is classified as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. The tradition of the Viennese coffee house culture goes back to the end of the 17th century. Today, we are experience the third wave of coffee. Today we are experiencing the third wave of coffee.

To quickly fill you in, the main milestones regarding the coffee field´s developments are categorised in waves. I wrote more about the sparkling term coffee wave here if you want to dig a little deeper into the topic. Just to sum it up very briefly, the first wave was characterised by the traditional coffee houses, the second by the chains such as Starbucks and Costa and the current one, the third wave, puts its emphasis on speciality coffee and a sustainable and high-quality coffee value chain.

Generally speaking, coffee has always been more than just a caffeine kick for the majority of people. It is a lifestyle. It is a ritual. Cafés are a central hub of social life: a get-together place, an opportunity to meet up yet an activity, a place for people watching and exchanging opinions, a place to write and tell stories. Simply, a place for everybody, be it experiencing it by just yourself or in company with others. As brilliantly put in the latest edition of BRANDLife: Cafés & Coffeehouses by the Asian design book publisher victionary, coffee places tend to be highly personal expressions of their founders and overall, the presence of the coffee houses and their names do tell a story as well.

Coffee houses are enchanting many people from all parts of the world — an inspiring community that brings people sharing their coffee moments together.

And on that note, I wish you the best time exploring coffee houses and would like to close this love letter by quoting David Letterman, ‘Way too much coffee. But if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality’.

I have got Notes for you!

Life is what can happen between coffee & wine. I personally think, this quote sums it up, at least when we are fully focusing on the sunny and fun side of it. Life is a row of moments we all are creating and sharing. And life is also what happens while we´re busy making other plans. Having a cup or a glass in between might do us good.
That´s what a friend of mine and me did before the lovely summer´s approaching. Honestly, I am so happy summer´s finally here. It just feels like recharging batteries truly. Continue reading “I have got Notes for you!”