Sunday, June 6, 2010

Coffee in Germany, 1922

Cafe Bauer, GermanyEditor's note: this is an interesting description of cafe life in Germany between the wars.

Germany originated the afternoon coffee function known as the kaffee-klatsch. Even today, the German family's reunion takes place around the coffee table on Sunday afternoons. In summer, when weather permits, the family will take a walk into the suburbs, and stop at a garden where coffee is sold in pots. The proprietor furnishes the coffee, the cups, the spoons and, in normal times, the sugar, two pieces to each cup; and the patrons bring their own cake. They put one piece of sugar into each cup and take the other pieces home to the "canary bird," meaning the sugar bowl in the pantry.

Cheaper coffee is served in some gardens, which conspicuously display large signs at the entrance, saying: "Families may cook their own coffee in this place." In such a garden, the patron merely buys the hot water from the proprietor, furnishing the ground coffee and cake himself.

While waiting for the coffee to brew, he may listen to the band and watch the children play under the trees. French or Vienna drip pots are used for brewing.

Every city in Germany has its cafés, spacious places where patrons sit around small tables, drinking coffee, "with or without" turned or unturned, steaming or iced, sweetened or unsweetened, depending on the sugar supply; nibble, at the same time, a piece of cake or pastry, selected from a glass pyramid; talk, flirt, malign, yawn, read, and smoke. Cafés are, in fact, public reading rooms. Some places keep hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers and magazines on file for the use of patrons. If the customer buys only one cup of coffee, he may keep his seat for hours, and read one newspaper after another.

Three of the four corners of Berlin's most important street crossing are occupied by cafés. This is where Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse meet. On the southwest corner there is Kranzler's staid old café, a very respectable place, where the lower hall is even reserved for non-smokers. On the southeast corner is Café Bauer, known the world over. However, it has seen better days. It has been outdistanced by competitors. On the northeast corner is the Victoria, a new-style place, very bright, and less staid. There no room is reserved for non-smokers, for most of the ladies, if they do not themselves smoke, will light the cigars for their escorts.

Around the Potsdamer Platz there is a number of cafés. Josty's is perhaps the most frequented in Berlin. It is the best liked on account of the trees and terraces in front. Farther to the west, on Kuerfuerstendamm, there are dozens of large cafés.

Some of the cafés are meeting-places for certain professions and trades. The Admiral's café, in Friedrichstrasse, for instance, is the "artistes'" exchange. All the stage folk and stars of the tanbark meet there every day. Chorus girls, tumblers, ladies of the flying trapeze, contortionists, and bareback riders are to be found there, discussing their grievances, denouncing their managers, swapping their diamonds, and recounting former triumphs. Cinema-makers come also to pick out a cast for a new film play. There one can pick out a full cast every minute.

Then there is the Café des Westens in Kuerfuerstendamm, the old one, where dreamers and poets congregate. It is called also Café Groessenwahn, which means that persons suffering from an exaggerated ego are conspicuous by their presence and their long hair.

At almost every table one may find a poet who has written a play that is bound to enrich its author and any man of means who will put up the money to build a new theater in which to produce it.

Saxony and Thuringia are proverbial hotbeds of coffee lovers. It is said that in Saxony there are more coffee drinkers to the square inch and more cups to the single coffee bean than anywhere else upon earth. The Saxons like their coffee, but seem to be afraid it may be too strong for them. So, when over their cups, they always make certain they can see bottom before raising the steaming bowl to the lip. Von Liebig's method of making coffee, whereby three-fourths of the quantity to be used is first boiled for ten or fifteen minutes, and the remainder added for a six-minute steeping or infusion, is religiously followed by some housekeepers.Von Liebig advocated coating the bean with sugar. In some families, fats, eggs, and egg-shells are used to settle and to clarify the beverage.

Coffee in Germany is better cooked (roasted) and more scientifically prepared than in many other European countries. In recent years, during the World War and since, however, there has been an amazing increase in the use of coffee substitutes, so that the German cup of coffee is not the pure delight it was once.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Handling Coffee in San Francisco

San Francisco ranks third in the list of United States coffee ports, having received its greatest development in the four years of the World War, when the flow of Central American coffees was largely diverted from Hamburg to the Californian port. In the course of these four years, the annual volume of coffee imports increased from some 380,000 bags to more than 1,000,000 bags in 1918. The bulk of these importations came from Central America, though some came from Hawaii, India, and Brazil and other South American countries. Because of its improved unloading and distributing facilities, San Francisco claims to be able to handle a cargo of coffee more rapidly than either New York or New Orleans.

Handling Central American coffees in San Francisco is distinctly different from the business in Brazil. In order to secure the Central American planter's crops, the importers find it necessary to finance his operations to a large extent. Consequently, the Central American trade is not a simple matter of buying and selling, but an intricate financial operation on the part of the San Francisco importers. Practically all the coffee coming in is either on consignment, or is already sold to established coffee-importing houses. Brokers do not deal direct with the exporters; and practically none of the roasters now import direct.

In recent years San Francisco has adopted the practise of buying a large part of her coffee on the "to arrive" basis; that is the purchase has been made before the coffee is shipped from the producing country, or while in transit. This practise applies, of course, only to well known marks and standard grades. Coffee that has not been sold before arrival in San Francisco is generally sampled on the docks during unloading, although this is sometimes postponed until the consignment is in the warehouse. It is then graded and priced, and is offered for sale by samples through brokers.

San Francisco is better equipped with modern unloading machinery and other apparatus than either New Orleans or New York, even more liberal use being made there than in New Orleans of the automatic-belt conveyors both for transferring the bags from the ships to the docks and for stacking them in high tiers on the pier. Another notable feature of the modern coffee docks is that the newer ones are of steel and concrete and, as in New Orleans, are covered to protect the coffee from wind and storm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicory and Coffee

This article is excerpted from the 1911 edition of a major British encyclopedia, and contains a brief discussion of how chicory has been used as a substitute for (or addition to) coffee.

The chicory or succory plant, Cichorium Intybus (natural order, Compositae), in its wild state is a native of Great Britain, occurring most frequently in dry chalky soils, and by road-sides. It has a long fleshy tap-root, a rigid branching hairy stem rising to a height of 2 or 3 ft.—the leaves around the base being lobed and toothed, not unlike those of the dandelion. The flower heads are of a bright blue colour, few in number, and measure nearly an inch and a half across. Chicory is cultivated much more extensively on the continent of Europe—in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany—than in Great Britain; and as a cultivated plant it has three distinct applications. Its roots roasted and ground are used as a substitute for, adulterant of, or addition to coffee; both roots and leaves are employed as salads; and the plant is grown as a fodder or herbage crop which is greedily consumed by cattle.

In Great Britain it is chiefly in its first capacity, in connexion with coffee, that chicory is employed. A large proportion of the chicory root used for this purpose is obtained from Belgium and other neighbouring continental countries; but a considerable quantity is cultivated in England, chiefly in Yorkshire. For the preparation of chicory the older stout white roots are selected, and after washing they are sliced up into small pieces and kiln-dried. In this condition the material is sold to the chicory roaster, by whom it is roasted till it assumes a deep brown colour; afterwards when ground it is in external characteristics very like coffee, but is destitute of its pleasing aromatic odour. Neither does the roasted chicory possess any trace of the alkaloid caffeine which gives their peculiar virtues to coffee and tea. The fact, however, that for over a hundred years it has been successfully used as a substitute for or recognized addition to coffee, while in the meantime innumerable other substances have been tried for the same purpose and abandoned, indicates that it is agreeable and harmless. It gives the coffee additional colour, bitterness and body. It is at least in very extensive and general use; and in Belgium especially its infusion is largely drunk as an independent beverage.

The blanched leaves are much esteemed by the French as a winter salad known by the name of Barbe de capucin.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Some Interesting Claims Made About Coffee

One can not fail to note in connection with the introduction of coffee into England that the beverage suffered most from the indiscretions of its friends. On the one hand, the quacks of the medical profession sought to claim it for their own; and, on the other, more or less ignorant laymen attributed to the drink such virtues as its real champions among the physicians never dreamed of. It was the favorite pastime of its friends to exaggerate coffee's merits; and of its enemies, to vilify its users. All this furnished good "copy" for and against the coffee house, which became the central figure in each new controversy.

From the early English author who damned it by calling it "more wholesome than toothsome", to Pasqua Rosée and his contemporaries, who urged its more fantastic claims, it was forced to make its way through a veritable morass of misunderstanding and intolerance. No harmless drink in history has suffered more at hands of friend and foe.

Did its friends hail it as a panacea, its enemies retorted that it was a slow poison. In France and in England there were those who contended that it produced melancholy, and those who argued it was a cure for the same. Dr. Thomas Willis (1621–1673), a distinguished Oxford physician whom Antoine Portal (1742–1832) called "one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived", said he would sometimes send his patients to the coffee house rather than to the apothecary's shop. An old broadside, described later in this chapter, stressed the notion that if you "do but this Rare ARABIAN cordial use, and thou may'st all the Doctors Slops Refuse."

As a cure for drunkenness its "magic" power was acclaimed by its friends, and grudgingly admitted by its foes. This will appear presently in a description of the war of the broadsides and the pamphlets. Coffee was praised by one writer as a deodorizer. Another (Richard Bradley), in his treatise concerning its use with regard to the plague, said if its qualities had been fully known in 1665, "Dr. Hodges and other learned men of that time would have recommended it." As a matter of fact, in Gideon Harvey's Advice against the Plague, published in 1665, we find, "coffee is commended against the contagion."

This is how the drink's sobering virtue was celebrated by the author of the Rebellious Antidote:

Come, Frantick Fools, leave off your Drunken fits. Obsequious be and I'll recall your Wits, From perfect Madness to a modest Strain For farthings four I'll fetch you back again, Enable all your mene with tricks of State, Enter and sip and then attend your Fate; Come Drunk or Sober, for a gentle Fee, Come n'er so Mad, I'll your Physician be.

A Dr. Willis, in his Pharmaceutice Rationalis (1674), was one of the first to attempt to do justice to both sides of the coffee question. At best, he thought it a somewhat risky beverage, and its votaries must, in some cases, be prepared to suffer languor and even paralysis; it may attack the heart and cause tremblings in the limbs. On the other hand it may, if judiciously used, prove a marvelous benefit; "being daily drunk it wonderfully clears and enlightens each part of the Soul and disperses all the clouds of every Function."

It was a long time before recognition was obtained for the truth about the "novelty drink"; especially that, if there were any beyond purely social virtues to be found in coffee, they were "political rather than medical."

Dr. James Duncan, of the Faculty of Montpellier, in his book Wholesome Advice against the Abuse of Hot Liquors, done into English in 1706, found coffee no more deserving of the name of panacea than that of poison.

George Cheyne (1671–1743), the noted British physician, proclaimed his neutrality in the words, "I have neither great praise nor bitter blame for the thing."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cafe de Procope

Cafe Procope, Paris It was not until 1689 that there appeared in Paris a real French adaptation of the Oriental coffee house. This was the Café de Procope, opened by François Procope (Procopio Cultelli, or Cotelli) who came from Florence or Palermo. Procope was a limonadier (lemonade vender) who had a royal license to sell spices, ices, barley water, lemonade, and other such refreshments. He early added coffee to the list, and attracted a large and distinguished patronage.

Procope, a keen-witted merchant, made his appeal to a higher class of patrons than did Pascal and those who first followed him. He established his café directly opposite the newly opened Comédie Française, in the street then known as the rue des Fossés-St.-Germain, but now the rue de l'Ancienne Comédie. A writer of the period has left this description of the place: "The Café de Procope ... was also called the Antre [cavern] de Procope, because it was very dark even in full day, and ill-lighted in the evenings; and because you often saw there a set of lank, sallow poets, who had somewhat the air of apparitions."

Because of its location, the Café de Procope became the gathering place of many noted French actors, authors, dramatists, and musicians of the eighteenth century. It was a veritable literary salon. Voltaire was a constant patron; and until the close of the historic café, after an existence of more than two centuries, his marble table and chair were among the precious relics of the coffee house. His favorite drink is said to have been a mixture of coffee and chocolate. Rousseau, author and philosopher; Beaumarchais, dramatist and financier; Diderot, the encyclopedist; Ste.-Foix, the abbé of Voisenon; de Belloy, author of the Siege of Callais; Lemierre, author of Artaxerce; Crébillon; Piron; La Chaussée; Fontenelle; Condorcet; and a host of lesser lights in the French arts, were habitués of François Procope's modest coffee saloon near the Comédie Française.

Naturally, the name of Benjamin Franklin, recognized in Europe as one of the world's foremost thinkers in the days of the American Revolution, was often spoken over the coffee cups of Café de Procope; and when the distinguished American died in 1790, this French coffee house went into deep mourning "for the great friend of republicanism." The walls, inside and out, were swathed in black bunting, and the statesmanship and scientific attainments of Franklin were acclaimed by all frequenters.

The Café de Procope looms large in the annals of the French Revolution. During the turbulent days of 1789 one could find at the tables, drinking coffee or stronger beverages, and engaged in debate over the burning questions of the hour, such characters as Marat, Robespierre, Danton, Hébert, and Desmoulins. Napoleon Bonaparte, then a poor artillery officer seeking a commission, was also there. He busied himself largely in playing chess, a favorite recreation of the early Parisian coffee-house patrons. It is related that François Procope once compelled young Bonaparte to leave his hat for security while he sought money to pay his coffee score.

After the Revolution, the Café de Procope lost its literary prestige and sank to the level of an ordinary restaurant. During the last half of the nineteenth century, Paul Verlaine, bohemian, poet, and leader of the symbolists, made the Café de Procope his haunt; and for a time it regained some of its lost popularity. The Restaurant Procope still survives at 13 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie.

History records that, with the opening of the Café de Procope, coffee became firmly established in Paris. In the reign of Louis XV there were 600 cafés in Paris. At the close of the eighteenth century there were more than 800. By 1843 the number had increased to more than 3000.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Coffee-Growing in Brazil in the 1920s

Brazilian CoffeeIn Brazil, the Giant of South America, and the world's largest coffee producer, the methods of cultivation naturally have reached a high point of development, although the soil and the climate were not at first regarded as favorable. The year 1723 is generally accepted as the date of the introduction of the coffee plant into Brazil from French Guiana. Coffee planting was slow in developing, however, until 1732, when the governor of the states of Pará and Maranhao urged its cultivation. Sixteen years later, there were 17,000 trees in Pará. From that year on, slow but steady progress was made; and by 1770, an export trade had been begun from the port of Pará to countries in Europe.

The spread of the industry began about this time. The coffee tree was introduced into the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1770. From there its cultivation was gradually extended into the states of São Paulo, Minãs Geraes, Bahia, and Espirito Santo, which have become the great coffee-producing sections of Brazil. The cultivation of the plant did not become especially noteworthy until the third decade of the nineteenth century. Large crops were gathered in the season of 1842–43; and by the middle of the century, the plantations were producing annually more than 2,000,000 bags.

Brazil's commercial coffee-growing region has an estimated area of approximately 1,158,000 square miles, and extends from the river Amazon to the southern border of the state of São Paulo, and from the Atlantic coast to the western boundary of the state of Matto Grosso. This area is larger than that section of the United States lying east of the Mississippi River, with Texas added. In every state of the republic, from Ceará in the north to Santa Catharina in the south, the coffee tree can be cultivated profitably; and is, in fact, more or less grown in every state, if only for domestic use. However, little attention is given to coffee-growing in the north, except in the state of Pernambuco, which has only about 1,500,000 trees, as compared, with the 764,000,000 trees of São Paulo in 1922.

The chief coffee-growing plantations in Brazil are situated on plateaus seldom less than 1,800 feet above sea-level, and ranging up to 4,000 feet. The mean annual temperature is approximately 70° F., ranging from a mean of 60.8° in winter to a mean of 72° in summer. The temperature has been known, however, to register 32° in winter and 97.7° in summer.

While coffee trees will grow in almost any part of Brazil, experience indicates that the two most fertile soils, the terra roxa and the massape, lie in the "coffee belts." The terra roxa is a dark red earth, and is practically confined to São Paulo, and to it is due the predominant coffee productivity of that state. Massape is a yellow, dark red—or even black—soil, and occurs more or less contiguous to the terra roxa. With a covering of loose sand, it makes excellent coffee land.

Brazil planters follow the nursery-propagated method of planting, and cultivate, prune, and spray their trees liberally. Transplanting is done in the months from November to February.

Coffee-growing profits have shown a decided falling off in Brazil in recent years. In 1900 it was not uncommon for a coffee estate to yield an annual profit of from 100 to 250 percent. Ten years later the average returns did not exceed twelve percent.

In Brazil's coffee belt there are two seasons—the wet, running from September to March; and the dry, running from April to August. The coffee trees are in bloom from September to December. The blossoms last about four days, and are easily beaten off by light winds or rains. If the rains or winds are violent, the green berries may be similarly destroyed; so that great damage may be caused by unseasonable rains and storms.

The harvest usually begins in April or May, and extends well into the dry season. Even in the picking season, heavy rains and strong winds—especially the latter—may do considerable damage; for in Brazil shade trees and wind-breaks are the exception.

Approximately twenty-five percent of the São Paulo plantations are cultivated by machinery. A type of cultivator very common is similar to the small corn-plow used in the United States. The Planet Junior, manufactured by a well known United States agricultural-machinery firm, is the most popular cultivator. It is drawn by a small mule, with a boy to lead it, and a man to drive and to guide the plow.

The oldest coffee-growing district in São Paulo is Campinas. There are 136 others.

Bahia coffee is not so carefully cultivated and harvested as the Santos coffee. The introduction of capital and modern methods would do much for Bahia, which has the advantage of a shorter haul to the New York and the European markets.

On the average, something like seventy percent of the world's coffee crop is grown in Brazil, and two-thirds of this is produced in São Paulo. Coffee culture in many districts of São Paulo has been brought to the point of highest development; and yet its product is essentially a quantity, not a quality, one.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caffeine-Free Coffee Trees

Certain trees growing wild in the Comoro Islands and Madagascar are known as caffeine-free coffee trees. Just whether they are entitled to this classification or not is a question. Some of the French and German investigators have reported coffee from these regions that was absolutely devoid of caffeine. It was thought at first that they must represent an entirely new genus; but upon investigation, it was found that they belonged to the genus Coffea, to which all our common coffees belong.

Professor Dubard, of the French National Museum and Colonial Garden, studied these trees botanically and classified them as C. Gallienii, C. Bonnieri, C. Mogeneti, and C. Augagneuri. The beans of berries from these trees were analyzed by Professor Bertrand and pronounced caffein-free; but Labroy, in writing of the same coffee, states that, while the bean is caffein-free, it contains a very bitter substance, cafamarine, which makes the infusion unfit for use. Dr. O.W. Willcox, in examining some specimens of wild coffee from Madagascar, found that the bean was not caffein-free; and though the caffein content was low, it was no lower than in some of the Porto Rican varieties.

Another source reports that Hanausek found no caffein in C. mauritiana, C. humboltiana, C. Gallienii, C. Bonnerii, and C. Mogeneti.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Physiological Action of Coffee

Drinking of coffee by mankind may be attributed to three causes: the demand for, and the pleasing effects of, a hot drink (a very small percentage of the coffee consumed is taken cold), the pleasing reaction which its flavors excite on the gustatory nerve, and the stimulating effect which it has upon the body. The flavor is due largely to the volatile aromatic constituents, "caffeol," which, when isolated, have a general depressant action on the system; and the stimulation is caused by the caffein. The general and specific actions of these individual components, together with that of the hypothetical "caffetannic acid," are considered under separate headings.

Coffee may be considered a member of the general class of adjuvant, or auxiliary, foods to which other beverages and condiments of negligible inherent food value belong. Its position on the average menu may be attributed largely to its palatability and comforting effects. However, the medicinal value of coffee in the dietary and per se must not be overlooked.

The ingestion of coffee infusion is always followed by evidences of stimulation. It acts upon the nervous system as a powerful cerebro-spinal stimulant, increasing mental activity and quickening the power of perception, thus making the thoughts more precise and clear, and intellectual work easier without any evident subsequent depression. The muscles are caused to contract more vigorously, increasing their working power without there being any secondary reaction leading to a diminished capacity for work. Its action upon the circulation is somewhat antagonistic; for while it tends to increase the rate of the heart by acting directly on the heart muscle, it tends to decrease it by stimulating the inhibitory center in the medulla.

The effect on the kidneys is more marked, the diuretic effect being shown by an increase in water, soluble solids, and of uric acid directly attributable to the caffein content of the coffee taken. In the alimentary tract coffee seems to stimulate the oxyntic cells and slightly to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid, as well as to favor intestinal peristalsis. It is difficult to accept reports of coffee accomplishing both a decrease in metabolism and an increase in body heat; but if the production of heat by the demethylation of caffeine to form uric acid and a possible repression of perspiration by coffee be considered, the simultaneous occurrence of these two physiological reactions may be credited.

The disagreement of medical authorities over the physiological effects of coffee is quite pronounced. It will be noticed that the majority opinion is that coffee in moderation is not harmful. Just how much coffee a person may drink, and still remain within the limits of moderation and temperance, is dependent solely upon the individual constitution, and should be decided from personal experience rather than by accepting an arbitrary standard set by some one who professes to be an authority on the matter.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Coffee-House Keepers' Tokens

Coffee House TokensThe great London fire of 1666 destroyed some of the coffee houses; but prominent among those that survived was the Rainbow, whose proprietor, James Farr, issued one of the earliest coffee-house tokens, doubtless in grateful memory of his escape. Farr's token shows an arched rainbow emerging from the clouds of the "great fire," indicating that all was well with him, and the Rainbow still radiant. On the reverse the medal was inscribed, "In Fleet Street—His Half Penny."

A large number of these trade coins were put out by coffee-house keepers and other tradesmen in the seventeenth century as evidence of an amount due, as stated thereon, by the issuer to the holder. Tokens originated because of the scarcity of small change. They were of brass, copper, pewter, and even leather, gilded. They bore the name, address, and calling of the issuer, the nominal value of the piece, and some reference to his trade. They were readily redeemed, on presentation, at their face value. They were passable in the immediate neighborhood, seldom reaching farther than the next street. C.G. Williamson writes:

Tokens are essentially democratic; they would never have been issued but for the indifference of the Government to a public need; and in them we have a remarkable instance of a people forcing a legislature to comply with demands at once reasonable and imperative. Taken as a whole series, they are homely and quaint, wanting in beauty, but not without a curious domestic art of their own.

Robinson finds an exception to the general simplicity in the tokens issued by one of the Exchange Alley houses. The dies of these tokens are such as to have suggested the skilled workmanship of John Roettier. The most ornate has the head of a Turkish sultan at that time famed for his horrible deeds, ending in suicide; its inscription runs:

Morat ye Great Men did mee call;
Where Eare I came I conquer'd all.

A number of the most interesting coffee-house keepers' tokens in the Beaufoy collection in the Guildhall Museum were photographed for this work, and are shown herewith. It will be observed that many of the traders of 1660–75 adopted as their trade sign a hand pouring coffee from a pot, invariably of the Turkish-ewer pattern. Morat (Amurath) and Soliman were frequent coffee-house signs in the seventeenth century.

J.H. Burn, in his Catalogue of Traders' Tokens, recites that in 1672 "divers persons who presumed ... to stamp, coin, exchange and distribute farthings, halfpence and pence of brass and copper" were "taken into custody, in order to a severe prosecution"; but upon submission, their offenses were forgiven, and it was not until the year 1675 that the private token ceased to pass current.

A royal proclamation at the close of 1674 enjoined the prosecution of any who should "utter base metals with private stamps," or "hinder the vending of those half pence and farthings which are provided for necessary exchange." After this, tokens were issued stamped "necessary change."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Venice's Cafe Florian

Venice Cafe Florian Probably no coffee house in Europe has acquired so world-wide a celebrity as that kept by Florian, the friend of Canova the sculptor, and the trusted agent and acquaintance of hundreds of persons in and out of the city, who found him a mine of social information and a convenient city directory. Persons leaving Venice left their cards and itineraries with him; and new-comers inquired at Florian's for tidings of those whom they wished to see. "He long concentrated in himself a knowledge more varied and multifarious than that possessed by any individual before or since," says Hazlitt, who has given us this delightful pen picture of caffè life in Venice in the eighteenth century:

"Venetian coffee was said to surpass all others, and the article placed before his visitors by Florian was the best in Venice. Of some of the establishments as they then existed, Molmenti has supplied us with illustrations, in one of which Goldoni the dramatist is represented as a visitor, and a female mendicant is soliciting alms."

So cordial was the esteem of the great sculptor Canova for him, that when Florian was overtaken by gout, he made a model of his leg, that the poor fellow might be spared the anguish of fitting himself with boots. The friendship had begun when Canova was entering on his career, and he never forgot the substantial services which had been rendered to him in the hour of need.

In later days, the Caffè Florian was under the superintendence of a female chef, and the waitresses used, in the case of certain visitors, to fasten a flower in the button-hole, perhaps allusively to the name. In the Piazza itself girls would do the same thing. A good deal of hospitality is, and has ever been, dispensed at Venice in the cafés and restaurants, which do service for the domestic hearth.

There were many other establishments devoted, more especially in the latest period of Venetian independence, to the requirements of those who desired such resorts for purposes of conversation and gossip. These houses were frequented by various classes of patrons—the patrician, the politician, the soldier, the artist, the old and the young—all had their special haunts where the company and the tariff were in accordance with the guests. The upper circles of male society—all above the actually poor—gravitated hither to a man. For the Venetian of all ranks the coffee house was almost the last place visited on departure from the city, and the first visited on his return. His domicile was the residence of his wife and the repository of his possessions; but only on exceptional occasions was it the scene of domestic hospitality, and rare were the instances when the husband and wife might be seen abroad together, and when the former would invite the lady to enter a café or a confectioner's shop to partake of an ice.

The Caffè Florian has undergone many changes, but it still survives as one of the favorite caffè in the Piazza San Marco.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Commercial Coffee Roasting

Commercial Coffee Roasting Coffee is roasted commercially in cylinder or ball receptacles revolving in heated chambers, the degree of heat reaching about 420° F. The cylinder type of roaster is invariably used in the United States; while both the cylinder and the ball types are popular in England, France, Germany, Holland, and other foreign countries.

Each roaster has his or her own opinion about the fuel that gives the best result, and throughout the world the choice lies between anthracite coal, coke, and gas; though hard wood is frequently used in countries where other fuels are not available or not economical. Electric heat has been tried for commercial roasting in Germany (1906), in England (1909), and in the United States (1918); but the experimenters have always found the cost of electric fuel to be prohibitive in competition with coal and gas. An electric roaster was demonstrated at the Food Conservation Show in New York, in 1918, at a time when the federal government was urging the necessity of conserving coal as a war economy measure. The inventor claimed that his machine would reduce roasting cost, improve the flavor and the aroma, and maintain a constant and easily controlled heat. He declared also that when roasted in his devices, less coffee was required for brewing.

An expert coffee-roasting-machinery man who has been working on the development of a practical electric roaster says that if it were possible to bake the coffee in an oven, just as the baker does his bread, the fuel cost would then compare favorably with that of gas or coal. It is because the heat chamber must have an exhaust to release the chaff and smoke that the use of electricity to replace the heat loss proves prohibitive when compared with coal or gas.

In all types of coal and coke burning roasters, the cylinders are heated by a fire underneath; while in gas roasters, the flame may be underneath or within the cylinder itself. Roasters in which the heat is within the cylinder are known as direct-flame or inner-heated machines. All three systems are used in the United States and Europe.