Et must have been in Aleppo, Syria, that a German first came into contact with coffee: in 1582, the Augsburg doctor Leonhard Rauwolf reported on an invigorating drink that he had drunk on a trip there a few years earlier. Less than 100 years later, the first coffee house opened in Bremen. And from then on, the Germans gradually became coffee drinkers: last year, people in Germany drank a total of 450 cups apiece, according to the Statista portal; 169 liters according to the German Coffee Association. So quite a lot. And that alone is reason enough to get to grips with coffee. Because the plant and the drink have an eventful, exciting history full of legends, which Lani Kingston tells in her book “In 80 Kaffees around the world” and she also gives a few recipes for coffee specialties from all over the world.
Just a glance at the table of contents shows that coffee culture is alive everywhere. However, Kingston only mentions in passing that it could be in danger: climate change is causing problems for the coffee plants, acreage and quality are falling. Kingston only touches on this in passing in her lavishly illustrated coffee table book. It focuses on the cult of the coffee plant and what on earth has been and is being made of it.
The coffee plant originally came from the forests of present-day Ethiopia and South Sudan. Its triumphal march began across Yemen, and with it that of the associated drinks and specialties. Kingston – herself a trained barista and already the author of two coffee books – is talking less about a drink than about a plant.
Not only with the coffee bean you can do a lot
She starts her book with a little coffee knowledge, introduces the different varieties of the coffee plant, talks about coffee cherries and coffee beans, their processing methods and of course the degree of roasting and grinding. The heart of the book, however, is the coffee trip around the world. For each region Kingston features, she briefly tells how the coffee got there, followed by recipes for the local specialty coffees. Of course, the western coffee nation can make the entry: Italy. The journey then leads to the country of origin of coffee (Ethiopia) and it becomes clear: coffee is drunk everywhere, but you can still do a lot with the beans and the rest of the plant.
In Ethiopia, the beans are roasted in spiced butter and then served as a small snack. One Yemeni specialty Kingston features is Qishr, a tea made from coffee bean husks served with cinnamon, ginger and sugar. Dalgona coffee is popular in South Korea. Instant coffee is mixed with sugar and water to form a cream and then added to a cup of hot or cold milk as a topping. Of the Morning keopi from South Korea, on the other hand, sounds something that takes some getting used to: an egg yolk is placed in a cup of black coffee. This should make the coffee less acidic. The drink is intended as a coffee and breakfast meal, writes Kingston. And even in Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway, you can discover coffee specialties that have nothing to do with the drinks in the minimalist hipster cafés that have become so popular internationally. For example, a coffee with cheese, a specialty of the Sami.