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History of Coffee

At Connections Coffee Shop, our coffee is brewed from the finest blended and varietal coffee beans available, principally grown in Central and South America and Africa, where the combination of soil, altitude, climate and experienced coffee farmers produce flavorful, delightful tastes. Coffee beans are the cherry-like fruit of the coffee plant and have fruit qualities in smell and taste.

The coffee plant was discovered in the 11th Century in Ethiopia by a goatherd who, according to legend, saw his goats “dancing” after eating the berries. He boiled some berries in water and began dancing, too. His discovery soon reached Yemen, in South Arabia, where the ground was fertile and conducive to growing the coffee plant. Yemen at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire, and an Ottoman Governor of Yemen, Ozdemir Pasha, brought coffee to the Sultan in Istanbul (Constantinople) in the 13th Century. In the palace, it was discovered that coffee beans could be roasted over a fire, ground, and slowly cooked with water. This method released more of the flavors of the coffee bean, and the drink soon spread throughout the empire. Coffee was so crucial to the Sultan that he created the post of Chief Coffee Maker. Some of his Chief Coffee Makers ultimately rose in the ranks to become Grand Viziers.

The first coffee shop was started in Istanbul in 1475. It was like a salon in Paris, where people would come to drink coffee, converse, read books, play chess and socialize generally. Our Connections Coffee House re-connects our modern society with these historical origins.

Coffee shops spread from Istanbul westward into Europe, first in Venice. The Italian merchants opened the first shops in the early 1600s, then migrated further westward to France, Germany and England, where the first Coffee House was opened around 1650. The first German Coffee House, Coffe Baum (Coffee Tree) in Leipzig (formerly East Germany), served coffee from as early as 1711 and the building now includes a coffee museum. It has a special room where the composer Robert Schumann met with his friends between 1828 and 1844. At the Coffe Baum, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and East German Premier Lothar de Maizière met to discuss German re-unification. Connections Coffee Shop intends to continue to connect people in the tradition of the Coffe Baum.

From Arabia, the European explorers transported coffee plants to the New World and Asia. In 1699, the Dutch transported coffee saplings to Java and began to provide coffee beans to the world within ten years. In the early 1700s, French explorers transported coffee plants to Martinique in the West Indies and to Guyana in South America, from which it spread to Brazil in 1727. Today, Brazil accounts for about 35% of all of the coffee produced in the world, but coffee plantations have also spread to Colombia and Central America. Coffee production first started in Guatemala in 1850, and coffee is now Guatemala’s top export product. In Connections Coffee Shop, you are likely to encounter coffees from Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil and other Central and South American countries.

Growing coffee for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who drink coffee every day is a significant business activity, and the business is well organized. The key players in the process are the growers; coffee brokers, who link the growers to worldwide markets; importers; coffee roasters; and shops like ours who serve coffee to local customers. Our coffee beans are imported and ground by GEVA Premier Coffee of Houston, a premier supplier of coffee and coffee shop equipment since 1974. Their staff searches the world for the best coffee beans, providing both blended and varietal coffees to be roasted and sold to other Houston customers and us http://www.gevapremiumcoffee.com/.

Fine coffee is like fine wine, and proper preparation is essential to bring out the more subtle aromas and flavors held in the coffee bean. Inhaling the steam from your cup of coffee allows you to enjoy the fruity, floral or citrus undertones that arise from the coffee berry. When you taste your coffee, you may be able to taste chocolate or caramel. These differ in coffee beans from different growers and, in some cases, between coffees grown at different altitudes in a single plantation. They are subtle, but learning to recognize them can add to your pleasure in drinking your coffee and allow you to distinguish between our coffee at Connections and coffees provided by others.

The best-tasting coffee depends on the grind, temperature of the water, and length of time that the ground coffee is exposed to the water. Connections Coffee Shop pays attention to all of these factors. Our grinders are calibrated and can be adjusted, which we do whenever we begin to brew coffee from a new source of beans. Our water is specially controlled for composition (dissolved solids) through our Opti-Pure Reverse Osmosis system, which provides controlled-composition water to all of our coffee drinks. Our water temperature is controlled by state-of-the-art water towers, where temperature can be controlled to one degree Fahrenheit. Coffee should be brewed with water that is as close to 205 degrees Fahrenheit as possible (Brewing with boiling water 212° can burn the coffee, introducing unwanted tastes). Brewing time for our premier drip coffee is carefully controlled as well. In addition, our drip coffee is not allowed to become stale, and your coffee will never have stayed in our closed urns for longer than 2 hours.

So, a lot has gone into the growing and preparation of the coffee you are drinking at Connections Coffee Shop. But, the coffee is only a part of the experience. Most of your experience here is up to you. Meeting with friends, business associates, family, networking groups, or whatever people you wish to socialize with can be the most rewarding time of your day, so enjoy it. You may also want to introduce yourself to other customers. You never know when a budding Robert Schumann is sitting at the next table until you connect. We are happy to provide the environment in which these kinds of connections can take place.

Enjoy, and come again!

Donna Weis, Owner and Manager