Where did coffee come from?
No one knows for certain how or when coffee was found, yet there are numerous legends surrounding its discovery. Coffee grown all over the world may be traced back centuries to the ancient coffee woods of the Ethiopian plateau. Legend has it that the goat herder Kaldi recognized the potential of these treasured beans there.
According to legend, Kaldi discovered coffee after noticing that after consuming the berries from a specific tree, his goats became so energized that they refused to sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to the local monastery’s abbot, who concocted a drink from the berries and discovered that it kept him alert throughout the lengthy hours of nightly prayer. The abbot informed the other monks at the monastery about his discovery, and word of the stimulating berries spread. As word spread east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a voyage that would take these beans all the way around the world.
Coffee comes from the ancient coffee woods of the Ethiopian plateau. Legend has it that a goat herder discovered the potential of these treasured beans there. As word spread east and coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, it began a voyage that would take these beans all the way around the world.
Evolution of Coffee Industry
The Arabian Peninsula was the birthplace of coffee cultivation and trading. Coffee was grown in Yemeni Arabia by the 15th century, and by the 16th century, it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.
Coffee was consumed not just in homes, but also at the many public coffee houses, known as qahveh khaneh, that began to sprout in cities throughout the Near East. People frequented coffee houses for all kinds of social activities, and their popularity was unparalleled.
Customers not only drank coffee and conversed, but they also listened to music, watched entertainers, played chess, and read the news. Coffee houses quickly became such an important hub for information sharing that they were dubbed “Schools of the Wise.”With thousands of visitors from all over the world visiting the holy city of Mecca each year, word of this “wine of Araby” spread.
Coffee was grown in Yemeni Arabia by the 15th century, and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. Coffee houses quickly became such an important hub for information sharing that they were dubbed “Schools of the Wise”.
Coffee Has Arrived in Europe
European visitors to the Near East returned with tales of a unique dark black liquor. Coffee had found its way to Europe by the 17th century and was becoming popular throughout the continent.
Some viewed this new beverage with distrust or terror, dubbing it the “bitter invention of Satan.” When coffee arrived in Venice in 1615, the local church denounced it. The debate was so heated that Pope Clement VIII was summoned to intercede. He decided to taste the beverage before making a decision, and he found it so delicious that he gave it papal permission.
Despite the controversy, coffee shops were soon becoming hubs of social activity and communication in major cities across the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland. In England, “penny universities” came up, so-called because a cup of coffee and interesting conversation could be had for the price of a penny.
Coffee began to supplant the popular breakfast beverages of the period, beer and wine. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol started the day alert and energized, and unsurprisingly, the quality of their work improved significantly. (We like to think of this as the forerunner to today’s office coffee service.)
By the mid-17th century, London had over 300 coffee houses, many of which drew like-minded clientele such as businessmen, shippers, brokers, and artists. specialty coffee shops spawned a slew of new businesses. Lloyd’s of London, for example, was founded as Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House.
Coffee arrived in Venice in 1615; the local church denounced it. Pope Clement VIII decided to taste the beverage before deciding. By the mid-17th century, London had over 300 coffee houses. Specialty coffee shops spawned a slew of new businesses.
The Modern Era
Coffee was imported to New Amsterdam, subsequently renamed New York by the British, in the mid-1600s. Though coffee establishments sprouted up quickly, tea remained the preferred beverage in the New World until 1773, when colonists revolted over King George III’s hefty tax on tea. The Boston Tea Party revolution would forever transform the American drinking preference to coffee.
Coffee was first introduced to New York by the British in the 1600s, but tea remained preferred until 1773. The Boston Tea Party revolution led to the end of tea drinking in America.
Plantations Throughout the World
As the beverage’s popularity grew, there was tremendous competition to plant coffee outside of Arabia. In the latter half of the 17th century, the Dutch finally obtained seedlings. Their early attempts to plant them in India were unsuccessful, but they were successful in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.
The plants thrived, and the Dutch soon had a thriving coffee trade. They then introduced coffee tree cultivation to the Sumatra and Celebes islands. Coffee was brought to Ceylon by the British in the nineteenth century, and by the 1860s, it had become the world’s largest exporter.
Coffee was first introduced to the world by the Dutch in the 17th century, when they planted seedlings on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia. Coffee was brought to Ceylon by the British in the nineteenth century, and by the 1860s, it had become the world’s largest exporter.
Arriving in the Americas
The Mayor of Amsterdam presented King Louis XIV of France with a seedling coffee plant in 1714. It was ordered by the King to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. Gabriel de Clieu, a young naval officer, received a seedling from the King’s plant in 1723. Despite a difficult voyage that included horrible weather, a saboteur who attempted to destroy the seedling, and a pirate raid, he was able to carry it safely to Martinique.
The seedling not only thrived once planted, but it is credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique during the next 50 years. Even more amazing, this seedling was the progenitor of all coffee trees in the Caribbean, South and Central America.
Francisco de Mello Palheta, who was sent by the emperor to French Guiana to obtain coffee seedlings, is responsible for the legendary Brazilian coffee. The French were unwilling to share, but the French Governor’s wife, taken with his excellent looks, gave him a large bouquet of flowers before he left, burying enough coffee seeds to start what is now a billion-dollar industry.
Coffee seeds were carried to other areas by missionaries and travelers, traders and colonists, and coffee plants were planted all over the world. Plantations were created in beautiful tropical jungles as well as severe mountain altitudes. Some crops thrived, while others went dormant. Coffee economies helped to form new nations. Fortunes have been made and lost. Coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops by the end of the 18th century. Coffee is the most sought-after commodity in the world, second only to crude oil.
Coffee seeds were carried to other areas by missionaries and travelers, traders, and colonists. Plantations were created in beautiful tropical jungles as well as severe mountain altitudes. Coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops by the 18th century.
Coffee Episode 01 | End