« PreviousContinue »
Methinks that there abides in thee
The forest thorough.
Or on his reason,
tem-per-at-ure bev-er-age trop-ic-al
har-vest-ing ad-ult-er-ate cy-lin-der
The coffee-tree is an evergreen shrub from fifteen to twenty feet in height, with an erect stem covered with a brownish bark, and opposite branches with a slightly downward inclination, giving to the whole shrub an elegantly beautiful pyramidal outline. The flowers of the coffee-tree resemble those of the white jessamine. The trees are very beautiful and fragrant when in bloom, and not less attractive when the berries are ripe and ready for gathering; for these are then of a deep scarlet colour, and show to great advantage amongst the dark-green glossy leaves.
The home of the coffee-tree is said to be Abyssinia, where it still grows wild; thence it was transplanted to Arabia towards the close of the fifteenth century. It was introduced by the Dutch into Batavia in 1690, and thence carried to the West Indies in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and afterwards to the Brazils. Coffee is now grown in almost every tropical country having an average temperature of above fifty-five degrees. We receive it from Java in the East Indies, from Trinidad in the West Indies, and from Rio Janeiro in South America. The best coffee comes from Mocha in Yemen, the southernmost province of Arabia.
As soon as the crimson colour of the coffeeberry indicates the time for harvesting, the berries, which drop readily when mature, are shaken from the trees upon cloths or mats spread under them. They are then piled together in heaps for fortyeight hours to soften the pulp, and afterwards put into tanks through which water flows continually, to wash off the pulp. The berries are then spread out on the platform, with which every coffee-estate is furnished, to dry in the sun. But there still exists the husk, which is broken off by means of heavy rollers. The seeds are then winnowed, and put into bags for sale.
Raw coffee is roasted-after it arrives in this country—in a hollow iron cylinder, which is kept turning for half an hour over a charcoal fire, until the berries are coloured sufficiently brown. Roasting coffee improves its flavour and strength,
Coffee is said to have been first used by the Persians as a beverage as early as 875 A.D., and from them the Arabs learned its value. The consumption of coffee was not at all rapid at first, and it was not until 1554 that it was publicly sold in Constantinople.
The consumption of coffee in Turkey is very great. This is probably owing to the strict prohibition which the Mohammedan religion lays against wine and spirituous liquors. So necessary is coffee to the Turks, that the refusal of it in reasonable quantities to a wife is considered to be a sufficient ground for a divorce. The coffee-houses in Turkey are very numerous, and some of them spacious and handsome. In Constantinople such as are regularly licensed are gaudily painted, and furnished with mats, platforms, and benches. Sometimes there is a fountain in the middle of the room, which renders the atmosphere delightfully cool, and also a gallery for the musicians. Towards evening these houses become thronged with a motley assemblage of Armenians, Greeks, and Jews, all smoking and indulging in the tiny cups of coffee, generally drunk without sugar or milk.
It is in the Turkish coffee-houses that the vagrant story-teller finds his stage and his audience. He walks to and fro, stopping when the sense of his story requires some emphatic expression or attitude, and generally contrives to break off in the most interesting part of his tale, making his escape from the room despite of every precaution that may be taken to prevent him. His hearers,
thus compelled to restrain their curiosity, are induced to return the next evening at the same hour to the coffee-room.
Coffee was first sold in London in 1652, by a Turkish merchant, who kept a house for that purpose in George Yard, Lombard Street. It soon became very popular.
Coffee, like tea, is frequently adulterated. Of these adulterations the most common one is chicory, a plant resembling a dandelion, with blue flowers. The large roots of this plant are sliced and dried in kilns; they are then roasted and reduced to powder, and this, when boiled, yields a drink not unlike coffee. Chicory is perfectly wholesome. When added to coffee in small quantities, it rather improves its flavour, and renders it less difficult of digestion. In 1867 about 61,486 tons were imported into the United Kingdom, principally from our foreign possessions.
Yeats' “ Natural History of Commerce."
stud-ded priv-il-ege na-tur-al-ize-d
prop-a-gate The most remarkable feature about the peacock is the immense tail with which nature has endowed it. This tail, formed of long, large, and tufted feathers, coloured with the richest shades, is capable of being raised up like that of a turkey. When one contemplates this magnificent appendage in which purple and gold vie with the most varying colours of the emerald, and notices the innumerable and brilliant eyes with which it is studded; when one views its lofty stature, elegant shape, noble carriage, and, above all, a slight and mobile tuft, the emblem of royalty, crowning its head, one cannot help being struck with lively admiration, and at once according the palm of beauty to the privileged being which unites in itself so many marvels. The peacock was known from the earliest time, for it is mentioned in the Bible as one of the most precious products brought from Asia by King Solomon's ships. It made its first appearance in Greece after Alexander's expedition into India. Alexander, it is said, was so astonished at the sight of this bird, that he forbade it to be killed under the severest penalties. For a long time they were very rare, and fetched a high price at Athens, and the people from the neighbouring towns assembled in crowds to see them. From the Greeks they passed to the Romans; but this nation, more fond of the pleasures of the table than of spectacles, soon made them figure in their feasts. Peacocks consequently were rapidly propagated in the poultry-yards of the rich patricians, and some of the emperors caused dishes of the heads or brains of peacocks to be served. From this cause their price became excessive in Rome. Little by little they spread throughout the empire, and thus the peacock became naturalized in Europe. During several centuries its exquisite and delicate flesh was in very great