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The world's many cups of coffee

Coffee, the wonderfully aromatic conduit for the world’s most popular drug -- caffeine -- began its spread from Ethiopia in the 15th Century and never stopped.


Providing the Arab world with an alternative to alcohol, it gave rise to a coffeehouse culture that revolved around stimulating intellectual conversation and the exchange of new ideas. Then in Europe during the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, coffeehouses simultaneously became places for playing chess, political strategizing, talking business and socializing, wrote Tom Standage in his book A History of the World in Six Glasses.

在阿拉伯世界,咖啡是酒的替代品,它导致咖啡馆文化的兴起,环绕其间的是富有启迪的对话和新观念的交流。随后的 18 世纪,适逢欧洲启蒙时代,咖啡馆成为人们下棋、议政、社交和谈生意的地方,汤姆·斯坦达格在《六种饮品所蕴含的世界历史》(A History of the World in Six Glasses)一书中这样写道。

Today, coffee is enjoyed all over the world, with Finland (surprisingly) consuming more than any other country – imbibing 608.2 litres of coffee per capita.

今天,咖啡在世界各地都深受人们的喜爱,芬兰(意外)成为全球饮用咖啡最多的国家,达到人均 608.2 公升。

The beans


After oil, coffee is the most valuable commodity exported by developing countries, according to the World Bank. Yet, the farmers growing the plants are left with only 10% of the $80 billion that the industry rakes in annually. The average coffee farmer makes as little as 15 cents per pound sold, and coffee bean pickers make as little as four cents per pound.

据世界银行资料,咖啡是发展中国家仅次于油料的贵重出口商品。咖啡产业每年收入高达800亿美元,而种植咖啡的农民却只能得到其中的 10%。普通咖啡农出售一磅咖啡才能挣到15美分,而摘咖啡豆的人每摘一磅咖啡豆才能赚4美分。

In an effort to combat this, a movement to institutionalize the fair trade of coffee began in 1988 in the Netherlands. Fair trade certification seeks to ensure fair labour conditions, a reasonable price, environmental sustainability, direct trade, transparency and support for community development. Although fair trade coffee makes up only a tiny percentage of the global supply, it is grown in countries throughout Africa, Central and South America, Oceania and Asia, and is becoming easier to find in metropolitan area coffee shops.


Coffee connoisseurs say that well-crafted coffee exhibits “terroir”, meaning that it tastes like the place it comes from. According to the experts, some Kenyan coffees are dry with berry notes and acidic brightness, while coffees from South America’s Andes Mountains may be smooth and sweet, full of sugar cane flavours. Brazil, which pumps out a third of the world’s coffee, is known for its low-acidity coffee, which makes it a prime candidate for blends, wrote Kevin Sinnott in his book The Art and Craft of Coffee. Coffee beans from Yemen, he said, are both balanced and complex in flavour and tend to blend well with beans from Java or Sumatra.

咖啡行家认为,精心制作的咖啡能体现“风土”,意思是,咖啡的味道与其产地密不可分。据专家介绍,有些肯尼亚咖啡干燥发亮,有浆果的酸味,而产自南非安第斯山脉的咖啡则光滑甜美,有浓郁的蔗糖味道。巴西咖啡是世界三大咖啡之一,以酸度低而著称,也是混合调制的首选,凯文·辛诺特(Kevin Sinnott)在《咖啡的工艺和艺术》(The Art and Craft of Coffee)这样写道。他认为,也门的咖啡豆口感平衡、复杂,适于和爪哇和苏门答腊岛的咖啡豆混合。

The brew


Coffee is made by roasting the seeds (beans) of a coffee plant, grinding them and brewing the resulting grounds using a number of methods. In Turkey, coffee is brewed by boiling finely ground coffee in a copper pot called an ibrik, while in Italy, espresso is “pressure-brewed” in about 30 seconds (either in an electric machine or in a stovetop pot) by pushing nearly boiling water through very tightly packed grounds.


In France, coarsely ground coffee is combined with boiling water in the country’s national coffee pot, the French press -- a device with a plunger that is pushed down post-brewing to separate the grounds from the resulting coffee. Although they did not yet have the press when the French colonized Vietnam in the 1800s, they brought coffee with them, which is why the beverage is now grown and consumed widely in the Southeast Asian country. Vietnamese coffee is brewed in single servings, using a small metal drip filter that sits atop the coffee cup.

在法国,人们在法式滤压壶(French press)中将粗咖啡粉和沸水混合。这种咖啡壶有一个活塞,可在冲泡后压下,将咖啡粉和冲好的咖啡分离。尽管在 1800 年代法国在越南建立殖民地时,滤压壶尚未诞生,但法国人却随身带着咖啡,这也就是咖啡目前在东南亚国家广为种植、也被人们广泛饮用的原因所在。越南咖啡要单杯冲泡,冲泡时将一个小型金属滴漏滤器放在咖啡壶上。

Japan has become famous for its iced coffee, which is made by brewing hot coffee and instantly chilling it. Coffee grounds are first put into a filter, which is placed over an ice-filled serving pot. Then boiling water is poured over the grounds, so that as the coffee drips, it immediately begins to cool. Proponents of this method say it locks in aromatics and keeps out oxygen, resulting in a sweeter, less harsh cup of coffee.


The drinks




Coffee has been central to Turkish culture since the first coffeehouses in the 1500s. The Turkish word for breakfast, kahvaltı, means “before coffee”, giving some insight into when locals take their first cup of the day. Turkish coffee, which is served in small cups where the grounds settle at the bottom, is very thick, dark, strong and sweet. Plenty of sugar and sometimes spices like cardamom and chicory are added to produce a rich, dessert-like treat.


One tradition that has been passed down through the generations is coffee fortune-telling. After a guest finishes his or her coffee, a host may turn the cup upside down, allow the grounds to cool and then tell a fortune by reading the grounds.




In Italy, un caffé is a “shot” of espresso -- an ounce of concentrated coffee. Although Italians drink caffé (espresso) all day long, two of the country’s national beverages, cappuccino and caffé latte, are traditionally only consumed in the morning. Cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk and steamed-milk foam, while caffé latte is made with espresso and steamed milk. As travel writer Lee Marshall noted in his “10 commandments” on Italian coffee culture, drinks with milk are not usually taken after meals because “Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach”.

在意大利,un caffé 是一小勺意式咖啡,它指一盎司浓缩咖啡。意大利人一整天都会喝咖啡(意式浓咖啡),而卡布奇诺和拿铁两种民族饮品传统上只在早上喝。卡布奇诺用意式浓咖啡、蒸牛奶和奶泡,拿铁则用意式浓咖啡和蒸奶泡制作。游记作家李·马歇尔(Lee Marshall)在他的“十戒(10 commandments)中描写意大利的咖啡文化时写道,通常在餐后不会喝含奶的饮品,原因是“意大利人担心热牛奶会对充满食物的胃造成冲击”。



Similarly, many Brazilians drink espresso all day long. Brazil’s version, cafezinho, is made by mixing hot water, finely ground coffee and sugar, and then straining the mixture through a filter. Like Turkish coffee, cafezinho is dark, strong and sweet – but not nearly as thick – and served in small cups. In South America and Central America, coffee is sometimes brewed using a “sock” filter, a simple cloth pouch that serves as a sieve.

与意大利人一样,许多巴西人也会一整天都喝意式浓咖啡。巴西版的浓咖啡叫“cafezinho”,将热水、细咖啡粉和糖混合后,再用滤器进行过滤,就能得到它。像土耳其咖啡一样,cafezinho 同样颜色暗黑、口感醇厚香甜,用小杯喝,只是没有那么浓。在南美洲和中美洲,咖啡有时用一种“短袜”滤器冲泡,这是一种简单的布袋,用作滤网。



During the 19th Century, when Vietnam was under French rule, fresh milk was difficult to store, so condensed milk took its place. A delightful indulgence, Vietnamese iced coffee, called cà phê sữa đá, is made by brewing concentrated coffee over condensed milk, stirring it up and pouring it over ice. On a hot, humid summer day, it is sweet perfection.

在19世纪,越南处于法国殖民统治之下,新鲜牛奶难以保存,因此以炼乳代替。越南冰咖啡称为“cà phê sữa đá”,用浓咖啡、浓缩牛奶冲泡,搅拌后注入冰块中,是一种令人愉悦的美味享受。在炎热、潮湿的夏日,它甘美可人。



The weather in Thailand also lends itself to cold, sweet, creamy coffee. Thai coffee is brewed strong, spiced with chicory and combined with condensed milk and ice. It is the perfect dessert to follow a spicy Thai meal.




The United Nations includes “Viennese Coffee House Culture” in its National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Austria. It dates back to the 1600s after the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks. When the Turks were defeated and driven out, they were said to have left behind sacks of coffee beans. Today, Viennese coffeehouses, or kaffeehaüser, often stay open from 6 am until midnight, welcoming customers to sit and relax for hours over a wiener mélange: coffee with steamed milk, topped with milk foam.

联合国将“维也纳咖啡屋文化”列入《奥地利非物质文化遗产名录》。这还要追溯到1600年代,奥斯曼土耳其人包围了维也纳。后来土耳其人惨败,被赶出奥地利,据说,在他们撤走时留下了几袋咖啡豆。今天,维也纳咖啡屋(kaffeehaüser)通常从早上6点开业,一直营业到午夜时分,客人们往往坐在一杯“wiener mélange”旁,一放松就是数小时。这种咖啡要加入蒸牛奶,最上面是一层奶泡。

United States


Coffee has always been popular in the US, in large part because tea was heavily taxed by the British. But coffee culture became a commercial stronghold when chains such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Starbucks were founded, in 1966 and 1971 respectively.


Although drip coffee is ubiquitous throughout the US, the country is often associated with the Americano, which is espresso mixed with hot water. The drink is said to have evolved during World War II, when American soldiers stationed in Italy discovered that “coffee” was just a shot of espresso. As the story goes, in order to make the drink more like regular coffee, they added hot water.




Major coffee producer Kenya has long had a specialised way of drinking coffee. Kahawa chungu, or “bitter coffee”, is a traditional drink made in brass kettles over a charcoal stove and is typically enjoyed by men, according to Reuters. A far more recent phenomenon is the advent of the coffeehouse in major cities such as Nairobi. Unfortunately for Kenyans, most of the highest quality coffee produced in their country still gets exported to other parts of the world.

肯尼亚是主要咖啡产地,喝咖啡一直有专门的方法。Kahawa chungu 或者叫“苦咖啡”是一种传统咖啡,在木炭炉子上的铜壶里制作,据路透社报道,通常只有男人才喝它。最新情况是,像内罗毕这样的大城市也出现了咖啡馆。遗憾的是,肯尼亚本国生产的大部分高质量咖啡依然都被出口到世界各地。
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