05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
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Listening Test 1.1


Professor – Coffee as a brewed beverage has a distinct aroma and flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the Coffea plant. The beans are found in coffee “cherries” which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equitorial Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa. Green coffee (unroasted coffee) is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Coffee is slightly acidic and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content. It is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. While coffee’s energizing effect was likely first discovered in the northeast region of Ethiopia, coffee cultivation first took place in southern Arabia. In East Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in native religious ceremonies that competed with the Christian church. As a result, the Ethiopian church banned its secular consumption until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. The beverage was also banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons. Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seeds or beans, are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded Coffea arabica and the ___ form of the heartier Coffea caniphora. The latter is resistent to the devastating coffee leaf rust. Once ripe, the coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways. An important export commodity, coffee was the top agricultural export for 12 countries in 2004 and it was the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005. Some controvery is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Consequently, organic coffee has an expanding market.

Student – And, is cofffee bad or good for us?

Professor – Well, that’s a good question. Many studies have examined the health effects of coffee and whether the overall effects of coffee consumption are positive or negative has been widely disputed. The method of brewing coffee has been found to be important in relation to its effects on health. For instance, preparing coffee in a French press leaves more oils in the drink compared to the coffee prepared with a paper coffee filter. This might raise the drinker’s level of bad cholesterol. The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the ___ monasteries around Mocha in Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed in a similar way to how it is now prepared. By the 16th century it had reached the rest of the Middle East – Persia, Turkey, and Northern Africa. From the Middle East, coffee spread to Italy. The thriving trade between Venice and North Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East brought many goods including coffee to the Venetian port. From Venice it was introduced to the rest of Europe. Coffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian beverage by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the Muslim drink. The first European coffeehouse opened in Italy in 1645. The Dutch East India Company was the first to import coffee on a large scale. The Dutch later grew the crop in java in ___ and the first exports of Indonesian coffee from Java to the Netherlands occurred in 1711. Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well, and Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. When coffee reached North America during the colonial period, it was initially not as successful as it had been in Europe, as alcoholic beverages remained more popular. During the Revolutionary War, the demand of coffee increased so much that dealers had to horde their scarce supplies and raise prices dramatically. This was also due to the reduced availability of tea from British merchants. Meanwhile, coffee had been introduced to Brazil in 1727. Although its cultivation did not gather momentum until independence in 1822. After this time, massive tracks of rain forests were cleared first from the vicinity of Rio and later Sao Paolo for coffee plantations. Cultivation was taken up by many countries in Central America in the latter half of the 19th century and almost all involved the large scale displacement and exportation of the indigenous peoples. Harsh conditions led to many uprisings, coups, and bloody suppression of peasants. The notable exception was Costa Rica where lack of ready labor prevented the formation of large farms. Smaller farms and more egalitarian conditions ameliorated unrest over the 19th and 20th centuries. Coffee has become a vital cash crop for many third world countries. Over 100 million people in developing countries have become dependent on coffee as their primary source of income. It has become the primary export and backbone for African countries like Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, as well as many Central American countries.