The history of coffee
The history of coffee
The story of how coffee was first made is complex and multifaceted, with various theories suggesting it originated in African languages like Arabic. The word “coffee” is named after Kaffa, a city in Ethiopia, and is believed to have originated from the Arabic word “bunn.”
The story of coffee’s spread includes various twists and turns, including smuggling, kingship, and exploitation. The Arabic word “bunn” is believed to be an altered version of “Kaffa,” while the Turkish word “kahve” refers to the drink. The story of coffee’s spread is a fascinating and complex one, involving romance, politics, religion, intrigue, and innovation.
The history of coffee
History of an Ethiopian Legend
Ethiopian coffee, which originated in ancient forests, was found by goat herder Kaldi. He found that after eating berries from a tree, his goats became more active. Kaldi presented the news to the abbot of the nearby monastery, who discovered it kept him awake during nightly prayer. The exciting berry spread after the abbot shared his finding with the other monks. Coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula as news traveled east, moving the beans all around the world. The origins of Ethiopian coffee are still debated, but the story of Kaldi’s discovery and the spread of coffee across the world bear witness to Ethiopian coffee’s rich history.
The Arabian Peninsula
Coffee, originating from the Arabian Peninsula, gained popularity in Yemeni Arabia by the 15th century and spread to Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey by the 16th century. The popularity of public coffee houses, known as “qahveh khaneh”, led to social activities such as drinking coffee, listening to music, watching performances, playing chess, and reading news. These coffee shops became hubs for knowledge sharing, earning the nickname “Schools of the Wise.” With thousands of visitors visiting Mecca annually, the “wine of Arabia” spreads worldwide.
Coffee Comes to Europe
Coffee, introduced by European travelers to the Near East, gained popularity in Europe by the 17th century. Despite initial suspicion and fear, coffee houses became centers of social activity and communication in major cities like London, England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland. In England, “penny universities” emerged, where people could purchase a cup of coffee for a penny and engage in stimulating conversation. Coffee replaced common breakfast beverages like beer and wine, making people alert and energized, leading to improved work quality. By the mid-17th century, London had over 300 coffee houses catering to merchants, shippers, brokers, and artists. Many businesses grew out of these specialized coffee houses, such as Lloyd’s of London, which originated at the Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House.
In the mid-1600s, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, later called New York by the British.
Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World until 1773, when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George III. The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference for coffee.”Coffee is the favorite drink of the civilized world.
“Coffee is the favorite drink of the civilized world.” , Thomas Jefferson
Plantations Around the World
There was intense rivalry to grow coffee outside of Arabia as the beverage’s popularity grew.In the latter half of the 17th century, the Dutch at last received seedlings. They were unsuccessful in their initial attempts to plant them in India, but they were successful in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.
The plants flourished, and the Dutch soon had a successful and expanding trade in coffee. The cultivation of coffee plants was then extended to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.
Coming to the Americas
In 1714, Amsterdam Mayor presented a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France, which was planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from the King’s plant and successfully transported it to Martinique. This seedling, which was the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South, and Central America, grew to spread over 18 million trees on the island. The Brazilian coffee, owes its existence to Francisco de Mello Palheta, who was sent to French Guiana to obtain coffee seedlings. The French Governor’s wife gifted him a bouquet of flowers, which buried enough coffee seeds to start a billion-dollar industry. Missionaries, travelers, traders, and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands, and coffee trees were planted worldwide. By the end of the 18th century, coffee became one of the world’s most profitable export crops, and it remains the most sought commodity globally.
Plan your unforgettable experience in Chiang Mai Today!
From Farm to Cup, The Journey of Coffee