Coffee and Tea

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from the roasted or baked seeds of several species of an evergreen shrub of the genus Coffea. The two most common sources of coffee beans are the highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the 'robusta' form of the hardier Coffea canephora. Coffee plants are cultivated in more than 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee 'berries' are processed and dried to yield the seeds inside. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee.

According to legend, ancestors of today's Oromo people were believed to have been the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee plant, though no direct evidence has been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew or who among the native populations might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it, earlier than the 17th century. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.

 Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Some teas, like darjeelings and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour that many people enjoy. Other teas can have vastly different flavour notes, like sweet, nutty, floral, or grassy.

Tea plants are native to East and South Asia, and probably originated around the meeting points of the lands of north Burma and southwest China. Statistical cluster analysis, chromosome number, easy hybridization, and various types of intermediate hybrids indicate that there is likely a single place of origin for Camellia sinensis, an area including the northern part of Burma, and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China. Tea drinking likely began during the Shang Dynasty in China, when it was used for medicinal purposes. It is believed that, soon after, ''for the first time, people began to boil tea leaves for consumption into a concentrated liquid without the addition of other leaves or herbs”.

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