Plants & Human Affairs - Introduction
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Study Questions:  Beverage Botany

Matching Question:  Match each of the following with the appropriate beverage/product.  There may be more than one correct answer for some.     a.  coffee     b. mate     c.  tea   d.  chocolate

  silvery skin   food of the gods
  arabica   native to Ethiopia
  bombilla   native to Andes
  does not require a microbial fermentation   native to southern South America
  leaves are used to prepare the product   native to Asia
  seeds are used to prepare the product   decoction
  cherry   oolong
  from pods attached directly to the stem   caffeinated
  shrub   caffeine
  tree   dutching
  ranks close to petroleum in total global commerce   Heimilea

1. Which of the following is ranked in order of preference from most preferred to least preferred by western palates?
a.  Central America > Brazil > Africa

         b.  Brazil > Africa > Central America

2.  A coffee produced by the dry method is:
         a.  Brazilian    b.  Columbian    c.  Costa Rican    d.  Hawaiian Kona    e.  Mexican

3.  Compared to a dark roasted coffee, light-roasted coffee has:
         a.  more oily beans    b.  a darker color    c.  more caffeine    d.  more flavor    e.  none of the above

Coffee Comparison:  For each of the following pairs, select the one that is TRUE for arabica coffee.

 a. used in instants   b.  little used in instants
a. harsh flavor  b.  mild flavor
a. major coffee grown     b.  minor coffee grown worldwide
a. flavor preferred by coffee drinkers b.  flavor not preferred 
a. self-compatible plants b.  self-incompatible plants
a. grown primarily in C. America and Columbia b.  mostly in Africa
a.  diploid b.  tetraploid

 Questions for Thought and Study:

  1. Describe the physiological actions of caffeine.  Identify some benefits and problems with the consumption of caffeine.

  2. Name the country (region) of origin of coffee, tea, cacao.  Be able to locate them on a map.  

  3. What does dimorphic mean?  Explain why coffee is typically propagated by seeds rather than cuttings.

  4. Compare and contrast arabica and robusta coffees (i.e., scientific name, where grown, plant stature and yield, flavor, reproduction)Which is more widely used?  Why?

  5. Identify major coffee growing regions of the world.  Rank these in their approximate order of "preference" to western palates.

  6. Describe the wet method for processing coffee.

  7. Compare and contrast the wet and dry methods for coffee production.

  8. Describe the structure of a coffee fruit.   What is the silvery skin?

  9. What is coffee rust?  Describe its importance/effect on coffee. 

  10. What is the function of the roasting process in coffee production?

  11. What is the difference between heavy and light-roasted coffees?

  12. True or false.  "Strong" coffee has more caffeine that weaker coffee. Explain.

  13. Name the product with second highest trade value worldwide (what is first)?

  14.  Describe the three major methods for producing decaf coffee.

  15. Why do coffee lovers prefer the Swiss water method for decaffeinating coffee?

  16. How are instant coffees prepared?

  17. To where is tea native?

  18. Describe the method of tea harvest.

  19. Describe the method by which black tea is prepared.  Indicate the purpose of  each step.

  20. Compare and contrast black, green and oolong tea.

  21. Teas are often blended.  What does this mean and why is this done?

  22. Compare and contrast the use of the terms:  cocao, cocoa, cocao powder, cocao butter, coca, cocos,

  23. Name some products prepared from the cacao plant.  What part of the cacao  plant is used in these products? 

  24. Describe the process by which cocoa pods are converted in chocolate and other products.

  25. How was cocoa originally prepared by the Aztecs?

  26. True or false.  Britain has always been a nation of tea drinkers.  Explain.

  27. For each beverage, know the place of origin and the part of the plant used

  28. The processing of coffee, tea and cocoa require a fermentation.  Is this the same type of fermentation that is involved in alcohol production?  Explain.

An Unanswered Question:  As we've seen, all of our important beverages are biodynamic.  This is particularly interesting especially in light of the fact that many of these beverages, such as chocolate, require extensive processing to develop their characteristic flavors.  Why and how did our ancestors know to use these particular plants?

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Last updated:  12/10/2008     � Copyright  by SG Saupe