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la storia del caffè

The History of Coffee


Until the 19th century it was not certain what was the place of origin of the coffee plant and, in addition to Ethiopia, Persia and Yemen were hypothesized. Pellegrino Artusi, in his famous manual, maintains that the best coffee is that of Mokha (city in Yemen), and that this would be the clue to identify the place of origin. There are many legends about the origin of coffee. The best known says that a shepherd called Kaldi used to graze goats in Ethiopia. One day these, meeting a coffee plant, began to eat the berries and chew the leaves. When night came, instead of sleeping, the goats began to wander with energy and vivacity never expressed until then. Seeing this, the shepherd identified the reason and toasted the seeds of the plant eaten by his flock, then ground them and made an infusion, obtaining coffee. Another legend has as its protagonist the prophet Mohammed who, feeling ill, one day had a vision of the Archangel Gabriel who offered him a black potion (like the Holy Stone of Mecca) created by Allah, which allowed him to recover and return in strength. There is also a legend that tells of a fire in Abyssinia of wild coffee plants that spread their smoke in the air for miles and miles away.


The Arabic word “qahwa“, originally, identified a drink produced from the juice extracted from some seeds which was consumed as dark red liquor, which, once drunk, it caused exciting and stimulating effects, so much so that it was also used as a medicine. Today this word indicates, in Arabic, precisely coffee. From the term “qahwa” it passed to the Turkish word Kahve through a progressive narrowing of meaning, a word reported in Italian with “caffè“. This derivation is disputed by those who argue that the term coffee derives from the name of the region where this plant was most widespread in the wild, Caffa, in south-western Ethiopia.


The main differences between Arabica and Robusta concern the places of cultivation, taste, the quantity of caffeine present in each .

The place of origin

Coffea Arabica is native to Ethiopia, south-eastern Sudan and northern Kenya, but today it is also widely cultivated in Latin America. It currently accounts for 70% of the coffee produced worldwide. Coffea Robusta (or Coffea canephora), on the other hand, is native to West Africa but is currently grown mainly in South-East Asia.

Difference between beans

Arabica and Robusta beans can easily be distinguished from each other. In fact, the former have an elongated oval shape, while the Robusta has rounder beans.
The two types differ in both caffeine and oil content. Arabica contains 18% oils and a maximum of 1.7% caffeine. Robusta, on the other hand, has 9% oils and up to 2.8% caffeine.

The difference in the taste and preparation of the espresso

When you prepare the espresso with two types of coffee beans, the difference can already be seen from the grind.
For the Robusta, a finer grind will be necessary since it has harder beans.
The espresso made with the Robusta will be more full-bodied with a thick crema and will present a more bitter and strong taste.
The espresso with arabica, on the other hand, is considered more valuable since it will have a sweet taste, slightly bitter and slightly acidic but with an aroma, which will leave a pleasant taste even after coffee. Furthermore, Arabica quality is the only one that can give life to a Specialty Coffee.