A cup of coffee brings to mind tattooed baristas and fancy espresso machines, and cute little flower designs made out of milk.

But there's so much more to coffee.


To actually get that dose of liquid heaven into your hands takes hundreds of hours of work and thousands of miles traveled. Every cup of coffee tells a story, many of them involving small family farms to some of the most remote regions of the world. Journey with Darrin Daniel, director of sourcing for Allegro Coffee, to Peru, and experience the adventure behind finding the perfect bean. When you see what goes into getting your coffee from the source, you'll appreciate your daily jolt that much more.


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acid· i· ty

noun

A quality that denotes brightness or crispness. Tends to come from coffees grown at higher elevations. Despite common perception, acidic coffees are not going to upset your stomach.

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amer· i· can· o

noun

A shot or two of espresso mixed with hot water, so named because Americans like things watered-down. And hot.


Arab· i· ca

noun.

A type of "bean," grown at high altitudes that makes up most of the world's better coffees and comprises nearly three-quarters of the world's coffee crop.


aro· ma

noun

A kind of super smell. The quality responsible for all non-taste-related coffee flavors. Essential for sophisticated coffee consumption, as in this coffee has a spectacular aroma.


ba· ris· ta

noun

The bearded person who makes your coffee every day. Tip them well.

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Bird-Friend· ly®

noun

Not, contrary to perception, a quality in coffee that attracts birds. This is a certification, established by the Smithsonian, meaning that coffee is grown in an area with sufficient tree coverage for migratory birds.


bit· ter· ness

noun

An unpleasant, back-of-the-mouth flavor sensation that often occurs when coffees are improperly roasted as well as when a hated rival experiences undeserved success.


body

noun

The weight and texture of coffee in the mouth. A full-bodied coffee is heavy and thick. A light-bodied coffee is, naturally, the opposite.


caf· feine

noun

A natural pesticide produced by coffee plants, and the real reason we drink the stuff, let's face it.

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cap· puc· ci· no

noun

Coffee mixed with steamed milk, topped with frothed milk. The name means "little hood" in Italian, possibly derived from the seventeenth century monks who liked to drink it.


cre· ma

noun

A foam created by carbon dioxide contained in emulsified oils. The essential ingredient of espresso.


di· rect trade

noun

A term used by coffee roasters who buy straight from growers, cutting out the middleman. Historically came from growers who were dissatisfied with quality control in fair-trade coffee, and with the associated bureaucracy. Relationship status: It's complicated.


espres· so

noun

A one-ounce shot of rich black coffee. The name could either mean "pressed coffee" or "fast coffee." Born: Italy in the early twentieth century. Died: Hopefully never.


fair trade

noun

The rules of fair-trade coffee are constantly shifting but are always concerned with the ethics of growing. It no longer has to be grown at a cooperatively-owned farm, but workers must be paid a living wage among many other requirements.


hard bean

adjective

Refers to beans grown at altitudes above 4,000 feet. They tend to be more mature, sophisticated and better tasting, and therefore more expensive. Otherwise known as the most interesting bean in the world.


lat· te

noun

Espresso mixed with steamed milk. Some might say too much milk, too little coffee.

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mo· cha

noun

You would think this means "chocolate," but it's actually an Arabica bean named after a pronounceable port city in Yemen.


pea· ber· ry

noun

A rare and prized form of coffee, as the coffee fruit only develops one seed instead of the usual two. Esteemed for its fine, strong flavor.


ro· bust· a

noun

A cheaper, higher-acidity coffee often used in instant coffee. Grown at lower altitudes. Higher in caffeine and lower in flavor. To be used only in coffee emergencies.

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shade-grown

adjective

Coffee plants produced under a canopy of trees, taken care of like precious babies. Shade growing is vital for maintaining sustainable ecology.


sin· gle or· i· gin

adjective

Coffee only grown within a single geographic area. Not to be confused with "secret origin," usually reserved for superheroes.


si· phon cof· fee

noun

Also known as "drip coffee." Beans are less finely ground than in the espresso method, and the water less hot, leading to a milder taste and strength. Best produced while wearing a monocle or other steampunk accoutrements.


third wave

noun

A movement to consider coffee as a high-quality artisanal foodstuff, and not a mass-market agricultural commodity. Needless to say, all the cool kids are doing it.

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va· ri· e· ty

noun

A fancy term meaning "type of coffee." Also known as a cultivar, which is an even more fancy term.


win· ey

adjective

A fruity, smooth flavor, more red wine than white, found in specific high-end Kenyan coffees. The only drawback is that if you refer to your cup of coffee as "winey," you'll get punched in the nose.



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By Sasha Duerr

Wait! Before you throw those coffee grounds on the compost pile, remember that they can be reused to make dyes that create beautiful rich browns on all types of fiber.


Coffee grounds are also thrown away at coffee houses and restaurants every day. You could ask your neighborhood barista if you may collect their grounds for your dye projects.

For a primer on dyeing, check out our natural dyeing guide here.


D.I.Y. COFFEE
or TEA SHIRT

In true "make do and mend" fashion, this T-shirt was dyed with saved coffee grounds. Softly colored and softly styled, the shirt is a rich cream-brown.


Coffee dyes cotton very well, making it an excellent choice for dyeing
T-shirts. If you prefer tea to coffee, it works just as well!


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INGREDIENTS

  • Coffee grounds (6 tbs coffee grounds per 1 lb. of fiber)
  • Shirt
  • METHOD

    1. Create a coffee dye bath dark enough to color your shirt the desired shade of brown. In the dye pot, the bath should be deep enough to allow the shirt to move around freely.

    2. Add your soaked shirt to the dye pot. Slowly heat the shirt in the coffee bath to simmering point, 180°F (82°C), and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes.

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    3. Turn off the heat and let the shirt steep until the desired shade has been reached. Leave the shirt in overnight if you want a deep brown color.

    4. Wash the shirt with pH-neutral soap. Rinse thoroughly. Hang to dry.

    HELPFUL TIPS

  • The darker the coffee bean has been roasted, the darker the dye and the more intense brown you will be able to achieve. Espresso beans are roasted darker than regular beans.
  • For even darker coffee dye, you can steep the coffee and grounds for an extended period in a light-proof, lidded container, so it can age without growing mold.
  • You can also save your coffee grounds to use with warm neutral colors; the grounds can yield a warm beige that can soften bright colors and create an antiqued tone.
  • Depending on how dark the coffee roast is and the delicacy of the fiber you are using, you can use hot-water extraction or cold-water extraction.

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    Sasha Duerr is a textile artist who works with biodiversity and reviving seasonal and local plant-based color. She is a professor at the California College of the Arts, the founder of Permacouture Institute, and the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.

    Watch her Dark Rye story here.

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    Makes 2 cups concentrate, about 8 servings.

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    It's all the rage and for good reason! Cold-brewed coffee is light and refreshing, an appealing alternative to hot coffee when the mercury rises. It's easy and affordable to make, so you can ditch those $5 cups and brew a batch at home.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 tablespoon raw honey
    • 2 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 1 ounce cold heavy brewed espresso

    METHOD

    Place coffee in a large bowl or French press and pour over 3 cups of filtered, room temperature water. Set aside for 10 minutes and then stir gently to combine. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 12 hours.

    Line a fine-mesh sieve with a coffee filter.

    Slowly pour coffee through the sieve into a pitcher, discarding the grounds. (If using a French press, slowly press down on the lid to isolate the grounds at the bottom and then pour coffee through a filter, if you like.)

    Use coffee immediately or chill until ready to serve. For each cup, pour 1 part coffee and 1 part water or milk over ice.


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    Serves 4 to 6

    A coffee, brown sugar and butter rub adds unique and flavorful crispness to whole roasted chicken.

    Feel free to substitute individual chicken pieces if you like, or try the rub on pork, beef or duck.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 3 tablespoons finely ground Whole Trade® coffee beans
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken

    METHOD

    Preheat the oven to 375°F.

    In a small bowl, stir together coffee, butter, sugar, garlic, pepper and salt. Arrange chicken, breast-side up, in a shallow roasting pan and spread rub all over to coat completely. While not necessary, you may cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days at this point.

    Roast chicken, basting every 20 minutes or so with pan juices, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp, and meat is cooked through, about 1 hour.

    Set aside to rest 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board, carve and serve hot.


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    Makes 2 ½ cups

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    INGREDIENTS

    • ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
    • ½ cup kosher salt
    • ⅓ cup fine-ground dark roast coffee
    • ⅓ cup chili powder
    • ⅓ cup smoked paprika
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    METHOD

    Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.

    Using your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients, breaking up any clumps with your fingers.

    Place in an airtight jar.

    Use about 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, rubbing it in and refrigerating meat for 8 hours or overnight before grilling or smoking.


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    Makes 50

    Make these cereal balls with a secret ingredient (coffee!), for an easy road-trip snack or special treat for your college student.

    Feel free to substitute unsweetened almondmilk for the coffee to make a kid-friendly variation.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (10-ounce) box 365 Everyday Value® Organic Peanut Butter & Cocoa Balls Cereal
    • 1 ½ cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 6 tablespoons brewed coffee

    METHOD

    Place the entire box of cereal in a food processor and process until finely ground.

    Remove ½ cup cereal crumbs and set aside in a medium bowl.

    Add peanut butter and cocoa powder to the food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add coffee, several tablespoons at a time, and pulse until mixture is moist enough to stick together.

    Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and coat in the reserved cereal crumbs.

    Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


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    Serves 8 to 10

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    Spoon this delicious treat into parfait glasses and serve as an elegant dessert. You can use decaffeinated coffee beans, if you wish.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 9 tablespoons ground espresso beans
    • 5 tablespoons sugar, plus more if desired

    METHOD

    Brew fresh, strong coffee with 5 cups water and espresso.

    Transfer hot coffee to a cake pan or shallow bowl, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Taste coffee and add more sugar, if you like.

    Set aside to let cool slightly, then freeze uncovered for 1 hour.

    Gently rake a fork across the surface of the coffee, breaking up any ice crystals in the middle and around the edges.

    Freeze 45 minutes more, then repeat process with a fork. Repeat freezing and raking process 2 more times until all of the coffee is frozen into flaky crystals.

    Spoon granita into bowls and serve.




    See more great recipes at wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes


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    We wanted some of our favorite Allegro baristas to showcase their signature drinks. The results were even more creative and delicious than we could have imagined. Ask an Allegro barista to make one the next time you hit your local Whole Foods Market!


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    Makes 1 (5-ounce) drink

    Conceived by:
    Karen Gray, Allegro Team Leader, WFM South Lake Union (Seattle, WA)
    Jeffery Baker, Allegro Team Leader, WFM Roosevelt Square (Seattle, WA)

    Made with fresh, local heavy cream and raw honey to enhance the deep, rich and nutty flavors of espresso, this layered shot of cold, hot and sweet is guaranteed to blow your mind!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 tablespoon raw honey
    • 2 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 1 ounce cold heavy cream or half-and-half

    METHOD

    Spoon honey into the bottom of a small heatproof glass. Pour espresso over the back of a spoon and into the glass. Finish by spooning cream over the top.

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    Makes 1 (5-ounce) drink

    Conceived by:
    Ian Wiese, Allegro Team Leader, WFM Montrose (Houston, TX)

    This espresso was inspired by the traditional Central American ricemilk drink horchata. We add vanilla and cinnamon to perfectly brewed espresso, stir in texturized milk, and serve it in a small glass. It celebrates many coffee-producing countries, and you get a nice coffee kick!

    INGREDIENTS

    • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Dash cinnamon
    • 2 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 2 ounces steamed whole milk or almondmilk

    METHOD

    Stir together vanilla and cinnamon in a small heatproof glass. Add espresso and finish with steamed milk.

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    Makes 1 (12-ounce) drink

    Conceived by:
    Sheli Maciel, Global Education & Training Specialist, Allegro Coffee

    With real dark chocolate, steamed milk, hazelnut and caramel, this mocha sinfully riffs on the idea of classic chocolate turtle candy but adds an espresso jolt.

    INGREDIENTS

    • ½ pump chocolate syrup
    • ½ pump caramel syrup
    • 1 pump hazelnut syrup
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 2 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 8 ounces whole milk, steamed

    METHOD

    Pump chocolate, caramel and hazelnut syrups directly into a large heatproof cup or mug. Add cocoa powder. Add espresso shots to the cup and whisk vigorously to combine with syrup mixture. Top off with steamed milk and enjoy!

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    Makes 1 (16-ounce) drink

    Conceived by:
    Jeremy Bakker, Allegro Global Coffee Cart Team Leader, Austin, TX

    Inspired by living in the Southwest where just about anything can be spicy, this iced mocha with cayenne gives the sweet drink a nice burn at the end, and whole milk cools it off.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1½ pumps chocolate syrup
    • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
    • Pinch cayenne powder
    • 3 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 12 ounces cold whole milk

    METHOD

    In the bottom of a large glass, stir together chocolate syrup, cocoa powder and cayenne. Pour brewed espresso over chocolate mixture. Stir until blended completely. Pour milk over the top until about 2/3 full and then add ice.

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    Makes 1 (16-ounce) drink

    Conceived by:
    Jeremy Bakker, Allegro Global Coffee Cart Team Leader, Austin, TX

    Fall is here, and this drink is full of the flavors of the season. Made with rich pumpkin butter and caramel syrup, this is a coffee that you'll remember long past Thanksgiving.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 tablespoon pumpkin butter*
    • 4 pumps caramel syrup
    • 3 (1-ounce) shots brewed espresso
    • 12 ounces whole milk, steamed
    • Caramel sauce for drizzling on top

    * If your barista doesn't have pumpkin butter, substitute with 4 pumps of pumpkin syrup.

    METHOD

    In the bottom of a large heatproof cup or mug, stir together pumpkin butter and caramel syrup. Add espresso and stir until blended completely. Add steamed milk and drizzle caramel sauce over the top.

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    By Neal Pollack

    Tracing its roots back to the late 19th century, when the coffee business began to become fully industrialized, cupping is one of the food world's great arts.

    Professional coffee tasters, cuppers are trained to perceive coffee's more than 1,500 individual aromatic and flavor compounds. By comparison, wine only has 200, and a professional cupper will let you know that in no uncertain terms.

    Coffee tasting is a sophisticated and complex process. Cuppers are able to perceive the taste, aroma and mouthfeel of any varietal. Any one coffee gets cupped at least 15 times by professional cuppers, who are trying to ensure that the coffee isn't bitter, harsh, sour or, in certain extreme cases, that it doesn't taste like a used Band-Aid. A skilled cupper is trained to detect any defect.

    Here, with the help of Darrin Daniel, Allegro Coffee's director of sourcing, we've identified nine positive flavor characteristics and nine, well, not-so-positive ones. These flavor profiles will make your coffee-drinking experience that much more elevated, and help you avoid types of coffee that might prove hazardous to your palate. Wouldn't you like to be a cupper, too?

    THE COFFEE TASTER'S FLAVOR WHEELS

    Source: The Specialty Coffee Association of America

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    CEDAR

    Created by dry distillation of bean fibers during roasting. Some cuppers compare this aroma to that of pencil shavings but, more appealingly, to the smell of cured cedar in clothing storage.

    Try Organic Colombia El Roble


    CHOCOLATE

    A function of sweetness, all different kinds of chocolate flavors show up in coffee, often dependent on how the coffee was roasted. Some are sugary and milky, while others have a dry, bittersweet note.

    Try Organic Mexico Zaragoza
    & Organic Café La Dueña


    HERBAL

    A seasoned cupper can discern the aroma of green peas, or freshly cut grass, or green foliage or, yes, herbs.

    Try Sulawesi Toraja & Sumatra Lintong

    HONEY

    Other, honeylike flavors come out as well, such as simple syrup or beeswax, even gingerbread. There are worse things than saying, "My coffee smells like nectar."

    Try Costa Rica Dota & El Salvador Shangri La


    LEMONGRASS

    The prized gesha coffee variety, discovered in Ethiopia but now grown in Panama, is redolent of lemongrass. It tastes pleasant, warm, almost medicinal, and somewhat resembles Bergamot.

    Try Panama Esmeralda Gesha 1500 (coming soon!)


    PEPPER

    Pungent, warm and spicy, more often associated with white pepper than black. Can be intense and occasionally metallic.

    Try Papua New Guinea Baroida
    & Extra Dark French


    SMOKY

    Mostly found in dark roasts and generally associated with the last phase of coffee roasted. The next step beyond smoky is tarlike, which you don't want.

    Try Organic Whole Foods Blend
    & Organic French Roast


    SPICY

    A broad category by definition but generally associated with sweeter spice sensations like cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Also nutmeg.

    Try Mocha Java & Organic Espresso Sierra


    TOBACCO

    Dry and vegetal. Think pipe tobacco, not cigarette butts.

    Try Blue Nile Blend

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    ACRID

    Harsh or smoky, often made that way during the roasting process.


    CHARRED

    Coffees that taste burnt from over-roasting. Sometimes done intentionally to mask greater defects.


    DUSTY

    Coffees that aren't harvested in time start to take on papery and dry flavors, and lose sweetness.


    FATTY

    Some Indonesian and Brazilian coffees can have a high oil content that creates a greasy film on the palate.


    HORSEY

    Associated with coffees that have been improperly dried. They have a barnyardy, wet feel.


    PHENOLIC

    Dreaded by cuppers. When overripe coffees are picked and fermented with ripe coffees, this produces phenolic compounds, giving coffees a chlorine flavor or a Band-Aid medicinal flavor.


    SALT

    Certain coffees grow in soil high in potassium. Or they get processed improperly. Regardless, you don't want a big hit of salt in your coffee!


    SKUNKY

    Somewhere between a positive and negative, depending on your perspective. Sumatran and Indonesian coffees can have a skunky note, similar to what you might find in hops.


    WET POTATO

    Specific to East Africa, this comes from a bug that lays eggs inside the coffee bean. The larvae aren't noticeable until you taste. And after that, nothing can get the taste of wet potato out of your mouth. Except for maybe good coffee.



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    Neal Pollack is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, and the "yoga mysteries" Downward-Facing Death and Open Your Heart. He's contributed to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ, Yoga Journal, Men's Journal, Slate, and Salon, and is a 3-time Jeopardy! champion.

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    850 (approx.)

    An Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi sees some of his goats chewing the berries of a tree he'd never seen before, running around and dancing. Venti, they bleat to him. Veeeeeeenti!

    And so it begins.


    1495 (approx.)

    Arab pilgrims, who learned of coffee's magical powers from Yemeni monks, introduce coffee throughout the Muslim world. The Muslim world is grateful.

    1511

    The governor of Mecca claims that coffee is outlawed in the Koran. His citizens consider rewriting the Koran.


    1536

    The Ottoman Turks occupy Yemen, which is bad for Yemen but good for everyone else, as they start trading coffee with French and Venetian merchants.

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    1616

    The Dutch transport a coffee tree from the Middle East to Holland. The tree grows poorly in Holland, as coffee doesn't tend to thrive in icy marshes.

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    1650

    A Muslim pilgrim named Baba Budan smuggles coffee seeds out of Arabia and plants them in Mysore, India, where they thrive. Coffee cannot be denied.



    1675

    The King of England bans coffeehouses, claiming they are places where people are conspiring to overthrow him. He was probably right. About the conspiring, not the ban.

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    1686

    The first coffeehouse, Café Procope, opens in Paris, rendering the French instantly pretentious. It is still open and is now both pretentious and touristy.


    1699

    The Dutch finally get around to growing coffee in Indonesia, unwittingly creating the "Java" nickname.

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    1710

    The French perfect the infusion method of brewing coffee, declaring all other forms of brewing (and all other types of people) deeply inferior.

    1714

    In a wacky scheme, a French naval officer steals a coffee cutting from the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and smuggles it to Martinique, thus bringing coffee to the New World.

    1727

    Coffee growing begins in Brazil, which doesn't have any impact on the Amazon rain forest whatsoever.



    1732

    J. S. Bach composes the Coffee Cantata, which starts out slowly, builds with enthusiasm, and then gets really jittery before completely crashing at the end.

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    1773

    The nascent American Coffee Growers' Association encourages colonists to enact the Boston Tea Party, thereby making coffee consumption an American duty.

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    1817

    Coffee growing begins in Hawaii, often next to sugarcane plantations, making it the best-smelling place in the world.

    1864

    Jabez Burns invents the first stand-alone coffee roaster. A year later, someone invents the first coffee percolator, paving the way for mass production and a complete loss of flavor for 100 years.





    1901

    An Italian hipster invents the first espresso machine, counteracting all the crappy coffee now pouring out of the United States.

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    1906

    The invention of instant coffee happens instantly.

    1948

    First recording of Black Coffee, which goes, "I'm feelin' mighty lonesome, haven't slept a wink / I walk the floor and watch the door, and in between I drink." That pretty much sums it up.


    1960

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    The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation debuts its Juan Valdez character, which people mistake for an actual person for more than 40 years.

    1971

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    Alfred Peet of Berkeley, California, teaches three young bearded baristas how to hand roast coffee. They move to Seattle and open Starbucks, a small fresh-roasting business destined to forever operate in complete obscurity.


    1972

    Mr. Coffee, the first automatic drip coffeemaker, debuts in Cleveland, Ohio, revolutionizing home coffee making and providing a sad third act for Joe DiMaggio.

    1987

    Howard Schultz, a former Starbucks employee, purchases the company for $3.8 million, leans back in his office chair, and laughs.


    PRESENT DAY

    Coffee culture thrives and grows. Specialty coffee is a multibillion-dollar industry.


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