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Friday 22.09.2017 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris

The short history of coffee

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDuring WWII, the majority of German soldiers took with them an integral piece of equipment – coffee beans. This valuable equipment was stored in a small steel box with a handle at the top and bottom for quick use in any place and at any time.

Europeans’ love for coffee was so strong, in fact, that even the deficit of metals did not stop the production of coffee grinders and coffee machines. The metal deficit problem was resolved by melting down remaining quantities of ammunition and recycling them into coffee machines.

The detailed history of coffee can be found in the capital of the United Arab Emirates – Dubai. A museum can be found there that offers detailed information about coffee and coffee preparation traditions of different cultures of the world. The museum also offers visitors the opportunity to try different coffee-drinking rituals.

Visitors to the museum can have a look how coffee beans are ground and how coffee is produced on the spot. The whole process includes the use of ancient devices and modern technologies. Museum visitors are able to have a look at coffee that is processed using different methods and technologies and try out different favours and types of coffee drinks.

There are a total of six rooms in the two-storey building. All rooms have exhibits that represent different stages of coffee history. Exhibits from the Middle East take up three separate rooms in that museum.

«The first coffee houses in Europe appeared in Vienna. Coffee there was produced using machinery taken from soldiers of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century,» – says the manager of Kafijas draugs Andris Leitis.

All museum exhibits were collected throughout the years from all corners of the world and private collections.

The museum works to unite history with the present. Visitors can observe coffee rituals from Ethiopia, Egypt, Arab Bedouin and Turkish regions.

Research into coffee also takes up a lot of space in the museum. The study centre of the museum contains a large library of books and documents all dedicated to coffee.

«The history of coffee is a topic that is often discussed nowadays. There are countless different theories and possibilities discussed. One of the most popular versions states that the coffee traditions have their roots in Ethiopia’s history. A shepherd once noticed how his herd became hyper active after consuming berries from an unknown bush. The story continues by saying that the shepherd later tried the berries himself and soon felt overflowing with energy, and that he stayed up all night because of that,» – said Leitis.

There are multiple versions as to how coffee was made into a hot drink. One of them suggests that the shepherd’s wife threw berries in the fire, roasting them. She then ground them and poured hot water over what was left. Another version states the shepherd carried the beans to a priest, who said it was narcotics, so he threw them in the fire. Once the beans started roasting, a pleasant aroma started to fill the room. This is the same aroma we all know. The roasted beans were then powdered and hot water was poured over. This led way to the hot coffee drink, which takes second place in world trade after oil.

«Coffee began its triumphant expansion from Arab, Turkish lands. It quickly reached Europe and then traveled to other corners of the world,» – said Leitis.

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