History of coffee
The truth that nobody knows exact details of related the coffee but we know some interesting legends. It is also a fact that this black drink was sent to its world conquering journey by the Islamic culture.
Starting coffee’s journey
What is clear to experts is that the first coffee plant came from Ethiopia. Its name must have come from the Ethiopian region Kaffa, from where merchants of Yemen took it across the red sea in the 15th Century and made it well-known everywhere in the world.
The port where the beans first arrived was called Mocha. Due to coffee’s growing popularity and the shipment of coffee from the port city, Mocha became synonymous with coffee. And also there is a coffee which called Caffé Mocha.
Before coffee became important in everyday life, it had received an important religious role. In addition, coffee drinking was only a part of religious ceremonies in the beginning. But imams could not hinder to spread outside the walls of mosques as well.
The Islamic religion forbids wine consuming and coffee filled this void . This is how it could receive the name ‘wine of Islam’.
As the coffee started to become too popular, the first cafés appeared in the Near East, first in Persia and Egypt, and then in Turkey. These coffee houses were known as “Schools of the Wise”. These were the places you went to share and hear information. They became the epicenter of social activity.
The first café were opened in Istanbul in 1554. The wealthy Turkish households even had their own coffee-making servants.
Into Europe and Asia
The coffee bean spreads both east and west: East into India and Indonesia and West into Italy and the rest of Europe.
Arabia was the gatekeeper for coffee. If a country wanted coffee beans, they purchased it from Yemen. The authorities liked it that way and did everything to ensure that nobody could take fertile beans out of their control and plant the trees themselves.
Baba Budan, a Sufi saint from India was on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1670 smuggled some fertile beans and started coffee cultivation. These beans began large scale coffee farming in Southern India which are still producing plants nowadays.
The Dutch also smuggled coffee plants from Yemen in an attempt to grow the beans in Holland but due to cold weather their cultivation scheme failed. From Ceylon ( now Sri Lanka ) sent seedlings to the Dutch Governor of Java, Indonesia and in the late 1600s, the Dutch finally started growing coffee. Java becomes one of the best coffee regions of Indonesia and the world.
Coffee finally arrived in Venice in 1570 and quickly became quite popular. In 1615, Pope Clement VIII decided that the drink must be satanic.
Upon inspection, however, he gave in to the glory of the beverage, baptized it and declared it a Christian beverage.
As the 1600’s rolled on, coffee houses sprung up all over Europe in England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland.
Much like the coffee houses of Arabia, these places became social hubs where one could engage in stimulating conversation and political debates. In England, these became known as penny universities.
France was introduced to coffee in the 17th century – specifically in 1669 –by the Turkish Ambassador to Paris. In his time with Louis the XIV, the Royal Court swooned over the beverage and Paris was soon overtaken by the beverage.
In 1683, after the Battle of Vienna, Austria’s first coffee house opened – The Blue Bottle.
The Turks, who were attempting to invade the land, were shut down and left behind a surplus of coffee. The victorious officer opened the shop and popularized the practice of adding milk and sugar to coffee.
Coffee Introduced To The Americas
Crossing The Atlantic coffee’s final frontier: the Americas. In the early 18th century, the Dutch decided to extend their generosity in a way that would change the coffee farming world forever.
The Mayor of Amsterdam gifted King Louis XIV of France a young coffee plant in 1714, although the Dutch could not cultivate coffee trees in Holland, they could keep them alive in special greenhouses. This plant was protected in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Paris.
A captain of the French Navy, de Clieu visited Paris. It’s unclear whether he ended up stealing clippings from King Louie’s coffee tree or King Louie himself gave order for de Clieu to establish a coffee plantation in Martinique.
It was a long journey and de Clieu struggled to keep his plant alive. Water was scarce on the boat but he managed to keep the plant alive by giving it his own supply of water and often going thirsty himself.
Within 3 years coffee plantations spread throughout Martinique, St. Dominique and Guadalupe. These would be the plants that would eventually populate the rest of the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Francisco de Melo Palheta a Brazilian colonel was sent to Guyana to settle a dispute between the Dutch and the French in 1727. His priority was to get coffee and bring it back to Brazil, whatever the cost.
The Brazilian colonel requested coffee seedlings from the French Governor but the request was refused, so Francisco found another way through the French Governor’s wife who secretly gave Francisco. He took back to Brazil and started the largest coffee empire on the planet.
Brazil grows more coffee today than any other country in the world. In 1893, coffee from Brazil was taken to Kenya and Tanzania, close to the birthplace of coffee and cultivated in East Africa.
Why is coffee so popular?
Coffee is one of those things that has become part of our daily life. It is something that can be enjoyed by almost everyone. It’s not an expensive thing, everybody can afford it. It can bring friends and family together to talk or meet to discuss business. Coffee is now enjoyed by most people all over the globe from people of different age groups and different demographics of people, there are many different styles, tastes, and brews of coffee. Also, food restaurants have joined in to offer their customers the famous coffee drinks that everyone likes.