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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

History of coffee

 History of coffee


No one knows exactly how or when coffee was found , though there are several legends about its origin.

An Ethiopian Legend

Coffee developed worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. There, legend says the goat herder Kaldi first found the potential of these beloved beans. 

The story goes that that Kaldi found coffee after he noticed that after eating the berries from a definite  tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not wish to sleep at night. 

Kaldi reported his security to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert via the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and knowledge of the energizing berries start to spread.

As word moved east and coffee approached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would bring these beans all around the globe.

The Arabian Peninsula

Coffee cultivation and trade started on the Arabian Peninsula.  By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of the Arabia and by the 16th century it was recognized in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.

Coffee was not only enjoyed in houses, but even in the many public coffee houses — called qahveh khaneh — which started  to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and humans frequented them for all types of social activity. 

Not only did the patrons drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they even listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept recent on the news.  Coffee houses speedily became such vital  center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise.”

With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca every year from all over the world, knowledge of this “wine of Araby” started to spread. 

Coffee Comes to Europe

European visitors to the Near East brought back stories of an unusual dark black beverage. By the 17th century, coffee had created its way to Europe and was becoming famous across the continent. 

Some humans reacted to this new beverage with suspicion or fear, calling it the “bitter invention of Satan.” The local clergy criticize coffee when it came to Venice in 1615. The controversy was so best that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. He determined to taste the beverage for himself before making a decision, and established the drink so satisfying that he gave it papal approval.

Despite such controversy, coffee homes were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication in the major cities of the  England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland. In England “penny universities” sprang up, so called because for the cost  of a penny one could buy a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation.  

Coffee started to replace the common breakfast drink beverages of the time — beer and wine. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol started the day alert and energized, and not surprisingly, the quality of their work was greatly developed .  

By the mid-17th century, there were over 300 coffee homes in the  London, several of which attracted like-minded patrons, containing merchants, shippers, brokers and artists.

Several  businesses grew out of these specialized coffee houses. Lloyd's of London, for example, came into existence at the Edward Lloyd's Coffee Home.

The New World

In the mid-1600's, coffee was led to New Amsterdam, later called New York by the British.

Though coffee houses quickly 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 majesty George III. The revolt, recognized as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee. 


Plantations Around the World

As request for the beverage continued to spread, there was fierce competition to cultivate coffee outside of the Arabia. 

The Dutch eventually got seedlings in the latter half of the 17th century. Their 1st attempts to plant them in India failed, but they were successful with their tries in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.  

The plants thrived and soon the Dutch had a productive and developing  trade in coffee. They then expanded the cultivation of coffee trees to the islands of the Sumatra and Celebes.

Coming to the Americas

In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a present of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King commanded it to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, a young naval officer, Gabriel de Clieu got a seedling from the King's plant. Despite a challenging voyage — finish with horrendous weather, a saboteur who tried to destroy the seedling, and a pirate attack — he managed to transport it securely to Martinique.  

Once planted, the seedling not only thrived, but it’s credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique in the next fifty years. Even more unbelievable is that this seedling was the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America.

The famed Brazilian coffee owes its existence to Francisco de Mello Palheta, who was sent by the emperor to French Guiana to obtain  coffee seedlings. The French were not wanting to share, but the French Governor's wife, captivated by his good looks, gave him a big bouquet of flowers before he left— buried inside were enough coffee seeds to start what is today a billion-dollar industry.

Missionaries and visitors , merchants and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands, and coffee trees were planted worldwide. Plantations were founded  in magnificent tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. Some crops flourished, during others were short-lived. New countries  were established on coffee economies. Fortunes were created and lost. By the end of the 18th century, a coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops. After crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity on the Earth.

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