Coffee – Balance
Genus: Coffea – Family: Rubiaceae
Coffee offers us energy and serves as a reminder to maintain balance in our hectic lives. This may indicate a time of conflicting interests where we are being asked to determine the right balance.
Coffee is the second most popular drink in the world, behind water. It’s also the world’s second most tradable commodity after oil and one of the most valuable cash crops. Arabian scholars were the first to record how drinking roasted coffee helped them work longer hours. Coffee beans are actually “seeds” held within the “cherries” of the Coffea tree. Each cherry contains two seeds – – or coffee beans, indicating its innate desire to maintain balance. There are also only two primary species of Coffea. Coffea Arabica, Arabian coffee represents 60% of global production, which was first cultivated in the forested mountains of Ethiopia and Yemen during the 12th century. The other 40% is Coffea canephora, Robusta coffee, which is native to central and western Africa.
Until 50 years ago both of these evergreen species were grown almost exclusively under the shade of larger trees in the tropical rainforests of the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia and India.
Due to increasing demand, coffee is now grown on nearly 25 million acres of land throughout the world. In the 1900s, the coffee industry began deforesting millions of acres of rich, bio-diverse rainforest to increase production and profits. They began switching to sun grown methods of farming to produce larger trees with higher yields in high density. The environmental impact has been devastating. Sun grown coffee requires more fertilizers and cuts the lifespan of a coffee tree in half. This has proven be an unsustainable model as the industry grapples with finding the right balance of shade and sun.
Arabica beans, considered the premier coffee bean, contain 1.5% caffeine, have less acid and offer a smoother flavor. Robusta beans contain 2.7% caffeine, with a stronger, bitter flavor. Numerous blends have been created as producers try to balance the increasing demands of discerning consumers with the environmental benefits of growing sustainable coffee.
Message: The coffee tree teaches us to find balance in all aspects of life. If we are focused on making money at the expense of our health or the world around us then what good is the money in the long run? Coffee is reminding us to find balance between work and play and to balance our financial affairs by asking what is truly necessary and what is superficial. This is a time to replenish our self, versus depleting our resources on tasks that take us off course. Now is a time to refocus our energy on living a life that is more in harmony with our natural state of being. We are being encouraged to sit under the shade of a large tree and relax.
Challenge: Living life in extremes that manifest as excess or deprivation, neither is healthy or sustainable.
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