Coffee break

Coffee break

Behind a simple word there is a world which is revealed with every sip.

The origin of the word ‘coffee’ is not very clear: it could be derived from the Arabic word “qahwa“, a term that refers to a wine or a liqueur. This word was then transformed in the Turkish language to kahve, in English “coffee”.

Research suggests that the word coffee derives from the region of Caffa in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant is very common.

Coffee is a word that is very familiar to Italians; it tells us the history and the tradition of the country, a source of pride for Italian culture. It is drunk at breakfast, during the day, after dinner, and has become more and more a moment of pleasure, a relaxing break, a way to reward oneself every day.

Origins and production of coffee

The origin of the roasting of raw beans to give a character to coffee and create aromatic infusion is to be found in the Arab world. The first Europeans who discovered the drink were in reality merchants in Renaissance times who, moving from one continent to another for work, were able to know, understand and love the habits, customs and the traditions of distant lands; they brought these new cultures with them when they came home. Very often the novelties introduced were appreciated and loved so much that they were adopted as an integral part of the people’s history.

Following the increasing demand and the increase in taxes on trade, European merchants (in particular, the Portuguese, the English and the Spanish) began to export coffee to other countries too.

The Arabic monopoly stopped in 1683, the year of the liberation of Vienna from the Turkish siege.

During the retreat of the Turkish troops from the Austrian capital, among other things, 500 bags of coffee were abandoned. This booty was given to Franz Georg Kolschitsky as a reward for his contribution to the defence of the city.

He took advantage of this gift, opening a coffee shop and introducing a new method of preparing the drink, different from the Turkish one (the only one known up to that time) and closer to the tastes of the Viennese. He filtered the dregs and added honey and whipped cream. Very soon “Viennese coffee” was invented, known and appreciated today at an international level.

The coffee shop soon became the place to spend one’s free time in a pleasant way, forgetting the problems of daily life. A real place to meet and exchange opinions with other people, to the taste of coffee.

The first coffee roastings which led to the subsequent mechanisation of the processing of coffee, actually started in the 19th century. This simplified the work of roasting and allowed the creation of the first blends, different in taste and able to satisfy any palate.

With the arrival of blends and mechanical roasting a particular type of coffee spread rapidly in Italy; it included a particular roasting and the mixture of beans from different parts of the world: in this way Italian espresso coffee was created.


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