Coffee is believed to have been discovered by Kaldi; an Ethiopian goat herder who observed his goats eating red berries from shrubs. Kaldi tried the berries himself and found that he was energetic and alert for an extended period of time. It was around this same time period that other Africans fuelled up on coffee beans ground up with animal fats and rolled into balls. The opposite effects were produced by fermenting ground coffee berry pulp to produce wine.
Coffee crossed the Red Sea to Arabia around 1000 A.D. The beans were roasted and brewed into a bean broth. By the 13th century coffee was becoming increasingly popular and was being traded internationally. All of the beans destined for export were first boiled to ensure that the beans would be infertile thus controlling the trade. Around the 1600’s fertile seeds were smuggled out of Arabia and coffee growing quickly spread around the world.
Today more than 7 million tones of coffee are harvested annually with a global consumption of 1.5 billion cups of coffee per day. The global impact that coffee has on our planet can be hard to fathom unless one considers that it takes one coffee tree, one year to produce one pound of coffee. In my opinion most of the mast produced coffees available in Canada are of exceptionally low quality. Canadian’s are becoming more aware of what a quality cup of coffee truly is.
Inexpensive coffee is produced and harvested as cheaply as possible. This often results in the use of chemicals like DDT to be used as a pesticide. DDT has been banned since the mid 80’s in Canada but is still used in many developing countries.
Up to 30% of machine harvested ground coffee is actually ground branches, bark and soil. Flavoured coffees use flavouring agents to cover up poor tasting coffee.
Raw coffee beans are high in acids, protein, and caffeine. They have very little taste. The roasting process allows chemical reactions to turn carbohydrates and fats into aromatic oils, burn off excess moisture and carbon dioxide unlocking the characteristic flavour of coffee. Dark roasted coffees contain up to half the amount of caffeine as a light roasted coffee but are more strongly flavoured.
Coffee purchased in Colombia actually has a best before date on it, and it is advisable to consume it within a couple of months. Most coffee sold and served in North America is already 2-3 months old before it even hits the store shelves.
It is best to search out a local independent coffee roaster as they are typically committed to environmental sustainability while embracing an ethic of global consciousness and support your local community. These small batch coffee roasters offer some of the freshest roasted coffee beans you will find and are preferred to use in the following recipe.
Kick Ass Cajun & Coffee Encrusted Salmon
One pound salmon filet
One-quarter cup finely ground coffee beans
1-2 tbsp. Kick Ass Cajun
Combine the coffee & Kick Ass Cajun in a medium sized mixing bowl. Lightly coat your salmon with the coffee mixture and then pan fry the salmon coffee side down for about three minutes. Flip the salmon and continue cooking for another three to five minutes. Plate the salmon and serve it with a fruit salsa like peach or mango.