It Pays to Know Beans about Coffee
United States is Leading Coffee Consumer in the World
Americans are just plain crazy about coffee — whether it’s a creamy latte prepared by a favorite barista and picked up on the way to the office or a frothy cappuccino ordered with dessert at dinner. The coffee industry is big business. According to the National Coffee Association, over 80% of Americans drink coffee. We consume more than 400 million cups each day.
Did you realize that drinking coffee in the United States was practically unheard of before the Boston Tea Party in 1773? Not only did colonists dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor, but many early Americans boycotted the beverage in protest of the English tea tax. They needed a replacement for their tea, so they brewed up some coffee beans and the rest is history. Speaking of history, coffee is thought to have originated in the Ethiopian highlands. We have the Arabs to thank for its proliferation. They were the first to cultivate it on the Arabian Peninsula, and to trade it with other nations. Today, many equatorial countries produce fantastic coffee beans, and coffeehouses can be found in every corner of the globe.
Roasting coffee beans has become an intricate art, as innovative manufacturers and marketers produce a range of flavors from light and delicate to dark and strong.
Popular Specialty Coffee Drinks
A strong coffee obtained with the use of an espresso machine that forces steam under pressure through darkly roasted powdered coffee beans. Espresso is served in small cups due to its high-octane jolt of caffeine and strong flavor. It is the basis for most of the specialty coffee drinks sold in U.S. coffee shops. (Pronunciation note: There is no “X” in Espresso.)
Very popular combination of one part Espresso to two parts steamed milk, with a bit of characteristic foam on top. Often ordered as “skinny,” meaning that it’s made with nonfat milk.
Café au Lait
This French concoction is half strong coffee and half scalded milk.
Prepared by adding hot water to espresso. Flavor is more pronounced than regular brewed coffee.
Similar to Café Latte, with the addition of chocolate, which has a wonderful affinity to coffee. There is also a white chocolate version.
Espresso with just a splash of foamed milk.
Similar to Café Latte, but contains one-third Espresso, one-third steamed milk and one-third foam. (Usually leaves a characteristic mustache on the consumer.)
Coffee becomes dessert with the addition of Irish whiskey, cream and sugar.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to include decaffeinated coffee on your beverage menu. Many of your patrons love the taste of coffee, but for one reason or another, cannot tolerate caffeine.