In Mid-1970’s, for the overwhelming majority of the population, coffee meant processed “robusta” or “liberica” coffee, or tea from a bag, which means “tea dust attractively packaged”.
Gradually, organic coffee importers and small retailers have been able to convince coffee and tea drinkers that specialty “arabica” coffee and specialty teas from China, Sri Lanka, and India can be revelatory gustatory experiences.
Today, at least in major cities of Canada and the U S A, coffee and tea cultures are thriving.
Almost every week a new, but small coffee shop or teahouse opens in GTA, offering estate coffees that are properly brewed, and to order. In such establishments you will not be served pre-brewed and kept hot coloured liquids devoid of any discernible flavour, except may be the bitter taste of stale coffee.
The Toronto Canadian Tea and Coffee Show is proof that the fortunes of both are improving.
This year’s show featured seminars on brewing techniques, tasting, several coffee brewing machines, roasters, packagers, flavouring liquids (Monin, Da Vinci Gourmet, and Maison Rutin from France), tea importers, booths from coffee and tea producing countries staffed with knowledgeable individuals to answer all your questions.
This show offers an opportunity to taste coffees from all over the world, prepared in variety of ways, as well as flavoured teas and coffees.
The more you know about coffee and tea, the more you can appreciate flavour subtleties. Both are like wine where “terroir” matters.
A visit to the show will help you discover a world of new flavours.
The stimulating qualities of coffee were discovered by an observant Ethiopian shepherd on the highlands of the country as he discovered his sheep behaving more animated after eating a few of the berries from a bush.
Eventually, the stimulating qualities of coffee spread through wars, no less, to Europe where drinking coffee became an aristocratic past time.
Chinese had discovered tea millennia before coffee, and to this day drink it in its various iterations and from many countries.
Enjoyment of any gustatory delicacy starts with the selection of the main ingredient. In the case of coffee, it starts with the purchasing decision. Single plantation location is important, as is the region.
Highland coffees are more aromatic and refined.
Then comes the decision to buy beans, or ground coffee. Buying roasted beans (mild, medium or heavy) is better, and grinding the beans just before brewing.
Brewing method also contributes to taste and texture.
Arabica beans contain 50 per cent less caffeine than robusta.
One cup of brewed coffee contains 80 – 135 milligrams of caffeine; one cup of drip coffee contains 115 – 175 mgm, and one cup of espresso 100 mgm.
Tasting coffee must occur without sugar or cream.
For tea, similar criteria apply except the way leaves are processed (green, black or oolong).
Make sure the water is “soft”, boil the water then infuse.
Top ten coffee producing countries
000 of tons
Top ten tea producing countries of the world
Sri Lanka 297