A cup of coffee is a liquid hug to the brain!

Coffee is wake-up calls; coffee is late night work; coffee is a first date, and a break-up tonic all rolled into one. Coffee is that friend who knows what can make any situation better. But what do we know about our friend, coffee?

The dancing sheep!

Can you believe that a dancing sheep led to the discovery of coffee?

The legend goes that in Ethiopia there lived a shepherd named Kaldi who accidentally discovered coffee. One night, he woke in utter amazement to find his sheep dancing in their sleep. Baffled by this weirdness, he followed them to their grazing grounds the next day and saw them eating some strange looking berries. Now Kaldi wanted to try these berries himself; after all his sheep seemed just fine, if anything they more energetic than usual. The drink he made from the beans kept him awake for evening prayers, even after a long, tiring day. Kaldi told the monks at the local monastery about his magical berries, and soon all of them were drinking it too.

A few centuries later, Arab traders took some of these beans back with them. They developed their own technique of boiling the beans and called it quhwa, meaning coffee in Arabic.

Disgusting or delicious?
The world’s most expensive coffee is harvested from the faeces of the Asian Palm Civet. These civets eat the berries and defecate the beans. The beans are fermented in their digestive system, giving them a distinctive flavour. This coffee is called Kopi Luwak, and costs between US$100 and $500 per pound. Expensive poop, no?

Just like civets, elephants also love eating coffee berries. We’re told, beans harvested from their dung make a unique, smooth, caramel flavoured coffee. Elephant dung coffee costs $500 per pound.

One thing Bee don’t want to know: What was the person who first harvested beans from civet and elephant poop THINKING?

A cup of health
Coffee is a proven health drink, as it is an excellent source of antioxidants – more than a glass of grape juice – preventing cells from getting old. A cup a day reduces the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Daily coffee drinkers have 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer, and 11% lower incidence of heart failure and 42% lower rate of type II diabetes. Well, just another reason for a cup!

Robusta or Arabica?
There once lived two sisters. The sweet and gentle one named Arabica while the other, bold and brawny, was named Robusta. People the world over love their Arabica as it pleasures the taste buds and olfactory senses with its mild and aromatic flavour.  On the other hand, for caffeine admirers who love the kick of a strong coffee that hits their nerves hard, Robusta is their choice! Just like the name, Robusta is intense with a regular coffee bitter enough to keep you up the entire night!

Coffee is forever
Yes, that’s a practical truth. If you plant a coffee seed today, it will grow into a tiny cute looking sprout with a coffee seed on top it. The shoot grows into a bushy plant which will produce coffee beans for you, your grandchildren and their grandchildren, as it can live up to 2 centuries!

Call it survival juice or manna from heaven, our cup of coffee never fails to cheer us up. Or Bipasha Basu.

By Deepali Kale

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