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The History of Coffee

There is no way to know exactly what happened or when coffee was discovered, even though there are numerous legends regarding the origins of coffee.

An Ethiopian Legend

The coffee grown all over the world can trace its origins back hundreds of years to the coffee forests of the past located on the Ethiopian plateau. According to legend, Kaldi, the herder of goats Kaldi first realized the benefits of these adored beans.

According to legend, Kaldi discovered coffee when he observed that after eating the berries of one particular plant, the goats got so active that they didn’t want to rest at night.

Kaldi revealed his findings to an abbot at the monastery nearby and he prepared a drink using the berries. They found that it kept him awake throughout all the hours spent in night prayer. The abbot shared the discovery with the monks who were also at the monastery and the knowledge of the energizing fruit was soon spreading.

When word spread to the east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula and began its trip that would transport these beans all over the world.

Read more stories like this at our coffee blog.

The Arabian Peninsula

The cultivation of coffee and the trade in it began in the Arabian Peninsula. The 15th century was the time when coffee was grown throughout the Yemeni district of Arabia and in the 16th century, coffee was widely known as being grown in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

The coffee was not just consumed in the home however, it was also enjoyed in the numerous cafes that were open to the publicalso known as Qahveh khaneh that began to pop up in cities throughout all of the Near East. The popularity of these cafes was unparalleled and many people flocked to them for any kind of social event.

In addition to being able to take a cup of coffee and talk as well, but they also enjoyed performances, listened to music playing chess, and were up to date with the latest news. Coffee houses soon became an important venue to exchange information that they were frequently described as “Schools of the Wise.”

In the wake of thousands of people coming to this holy city Mecca every year from across the globe The knowledge of this “wine from Araby” started to be spread.

Coffee is Coming to Europe

European travellers traveling to Near East brought back stories of a mysterious dark, dark beverage. In the 17th century, coffee was coming into Europe and was rapidly becoming popular throughout the continent.

A few people responded to this beverage with fear or suspicion they called coffee as the “bitter creation of Satan.” Local clergy opposed coffee when it arrived in Venice in 1615. The debate was so intense it that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. He decided to test the drink for himself prior to making a decision. He was so impressed by the drink that he granted the papal blessing.

Despite the controversy coffee houses soon becoming centers of socializing and interaction in the main cities in England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland. There was a time when in England “penny university” began to pop up, so they were named for the fact that for the price of one penny, you could buy a cup coffee and have a stimulating conversations.

Coffee started replacing the typical breakfast drinks that were popular at the time alcohol and wine. The people who took coffee in place of alcohol would start the day feeling energized and alert and, not surprising they found that the quality of their work was significantly improved. (We prefer to consider this as a prelude to the current office coffee service.)

In the late 17th the century, it was possible to find nearly 300 coffee shops in London and many of them attracted similar patrons, which included shippers, merchants, brokers and even artists.

Numerous businesses emerged from these coffee houses that were specialized. Lloyd’s of London, for example, began in the Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House.

The New World

In the late 1600’s coffee was introduced in the mid-1600’s to New Amsterdam, later called New York by the British.

Coffee houses quickly appeared and tea was the most popular beverage across the New World until 1773, when colonists rebelled against an imposing tax on tea, imposed on them by King George III. The rebellion, also known as”the Boston Tea Party,” Boston Tea Party, would forever alter the American drinking habits to coffee.

Plantations All Around the World

As the demand for coffee increased and grow, there was a fierce competition for coffee to be grown in other regions of Arabia.

The Dutch finally had seedlings the second half of the 17th century. The first attempt to plant seeds in India were unsuccessful however, they did succeed by their efforts in Batavia located on Java, the main island in Java located in the present-day Indonesia.

The plant thrived, and within a short time the Dutch enjoyed a thriving and expanding trade in coffee. The Dutch then extended cultivating coffee plants to the island of Sumatra as well as Celebes.

Arriving to the Americas

In 1714, the mayor of Amsterdam presented an early coffee plant to the King Louis XIV of France. The King had it get planted at the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. The year 1723 was when a new naval officer named Gabriel de Clieu was able to obtain an heirloom from the King’s garden. Despite a difficult journeythat included terrible weather as well as a saboteur who attempted to take down the seedling and even a pirate attackGabriel de Clieu was able to deliver the seedling safely to Martinique.

When it was planted the seedling prospered, but is also acknowledged as having facilitated the growth of more than 18 million trees of coffee on Martinique. Martinique over the following 50 years. What’s more remarkable is the fact that it was the mother of all coffee trees in across the Caribbean, South and Central America.

The well-known Brazilian coffee owes its origins its existence to Francisco de Mello Palheta, who was sent by the Emperor in French Guiana to get coffee seeds. The French did not want to sharetheir coffee, however it was the French Governor’s wife, impressed by his beautiful looks and regal appearance, presented him with a huge bouquet of blooms before he left. Buried inside were the seeds of coffee to start what has become an industry worth billions of dollars.

Missionaries , travelers traders, colonists and missionaries continue to transport coffee seeds across new lands as well as coffee tree plantings were established throughout the world. Plantations were planted in beautiful tropical forests as well as on the rugged mountains. Certain crops prospered, whereas other crops were less successful. New nations were founded by the coffee industry. Fortunes were created and lost. In the 17th century, the coffee was one of the most lucrative export agricultural products. Coffee, after crude oil, is the most sought-after commodity around the globe.