History of Favorite American Food and Drink Coffee Part 2

About the history of the favorite American food coffee, information on the caffeine bean, varieties of the drink and more.



Coffee is the most popular beverage and, properly speaking, the most popular drug of this day, used by approximately 40% of the world. Nearly 7 billion lb. are traded on the market each year. Importing 37% of the world output, Americans go through 400 million cups of the stuff per day--enough for 2 1/2 cups for every citizen over 10. However, coffee consumption has decreased steadily in the U.S. over the past decade, because the product offered American consumers has been steadily decreasing in quality while skyrocketing in price.

Brazil is now the number-one coffee producer, and its variety of bean, called robusta, is inferior in taste to the arabica variety, which is growing scarcer. In addition, profit-concerned processors are increasingly given to adding to their coffee's weight by mixing water in the blend or underroasting beans to reduce shrinkage.

Price controls on coffee stopped in 1973, when the price and quota provisions of the International Coffee Agreement lapsed. In recent years, high prices and the widespread belief that coffee exporters are trying to drive up costs artificially have led to fairly successful consumer boycotts. Although coffee is invigorating, delicious, aromatic, and traditional, it seems that most Americans don't consider it one of life's necessities.

One of the positive aspects of coffee brewing in recent years is the emergence of the drip method, which, whether automatic or manual, is one of the best ways to get the optimum cup. Start with cold water, because hot tap water will be flat from being heated and stored. The cleaner your brewing equipment the better, for old coffee oils are bitterly acidic. The optimum product is a ratio of 98.75% water to 1.25% soluble coffee solids--more easily figured as one approved coffee measure (2 level tablespoonfuls) per 6 oz. of water. Experts compute that the ideal beverage results from 19% of the coffee grounds being extracted into the brew. One reason why instant coffees taste the way they do is because they include as much as 50% of the coffee bean.

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