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Coffee Break with Judy's Java Joint
So what do you know about coffee?

By Lois Thomson

Millions of people start (and continue) their day with a cup of coffee. In fact, the world currently consumes more than 100 million, 132-lb. bags of coffee every year. But have you ever thought about its origins?

What we refer to as coffee beans are actually the seeds of a fruit, which are processed and roasted, then ground to make coffee. The first recorded evidence of coffee growing may date back as early as the 6th century when, as the story goes, a goatherd in Ethiopia discovered the effects of coffee when he noticed his goats acting strangely. Coffee is native to Ethiopia and grows wild, so the goats possibly ate the berries while grazing, and the caffeine did indeed alter their behavior.

The first known consumption of coffee beans as a food was by an Ethiopian tribe. They took raw beans, cooked them in fat, shaped them into baseball-sized balls, and chewed them as a snack. The beans were transferred across the Red Sea to Yemen – likely through slave trade – which is less than 200 miles from Ethiopia. There, coffee trees were first cultivated on plantations in the 15th century. From Yemen, coffee-drinking spread throughout the Arab world.

During the 1600s, the world's coffee supply came almost entirely from Yemen. But with the world's shipping trade, some seedlings were transported to areas in the Orient, and plantations opened in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1658 and Java in 1699. During that time, in 1672, the first coffee house opened in Paris.

Nine years later, a French naval officer took a seedling from Paris to the island of Martinique in the Caribbean, and most of the coffee now grown in Central and South America originated from that single plant. However, a few of those plants found their way to Hawaii when the governor of Oahu stopped in Brazil on his way back from a voyage to London. Seedlings were planted in Kona on the Big Island in 1828, thus beginning Hawaii's coffee industry. With its ideal climate and rich volcanic soil, Hawaii is the only coffee-producing state in America, and the Kona district now turns out some of the world's most expensive coffee beans.

So the next time you reach for your morning brew, you might pause for a moment to think about the history of what's in your cup.

Judy's Java Joint is a family-owned local coffee shop located in the Ruthfred Shopping Center, 3400 South Park Rd., Bethel Park. Enjoy our cozy shop to do work (free wi-fi), meet with friends or just relax with a great cup of coffee. We have everything you might be craving: gourmet coffee and tea, espresso drinks, smoothies, frappes, hot chocolate, chai tea, protein frappes, pastries and more!

Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.–2 p.m.; (412) 833-5282; judysjava.com



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