Well, my dear readers, are you ready to hear the story of your favorite beverage.
Will it be just dry facts about the discovery of the coffee tree and the stages of development of coffee production in the world or will it be an exciting story full of legends and mysteries?
Let’s try to collect all the facts about the origin of coffee and its production in one place.
WHERE DID COFFEE ORIGINALLY COME FROM
It is generally accepted that Ethiopia is the birthplace of the most popular drink in the world. The first mention of coffee dates back to the very distant 9th century, so it is impossible to determine who found coffee.
But, there are several beautiful Ethiopian legends about how coffee was discovered by man. One of them says that the history of coffee begins with the Yemen sheik Abd al-Qadir, who discovered the fruits of the coffee tree during research work on various medicinal plants.
Therefore, at first, coffee was used only for medicinal purposes for headaches and indigestion. According to another legend, around 850, an Ethiopian herdsman named Kaldi drew attention to a plant whose leaves ate goats.
Too active behavior of goats after eating coffee leaves interested Kaldi and he told about this to the head of the local monastery. When the abbot tried the leaves of the fruits of the coffee tree, he decided to make a tonic and invigorating decoction for the monks.
So gradually, interest in a coffee drink began to grow among the residents of this region, and then its popularity spread far beyond its borders. Most likely these two stories are only beautiful fictions since there is no historical evidence of those events.
However, knowing that coffee grows in the wild only in Ethiopia, we can safely say that this country is the birthplace of coffee.
WHEN WAS COFFEE CREATED
Most likely, coffee was first eaten to achieve a tonic effect. To do this, people mixed coffee beans with animal fat, and then made edible balls. Such travel food was indispensable for nomads in the desert, as it provided energy and stamina.
Coffee as a drink began to be used when Arab merchants brought coffee to Yemen. It was in this country that began to brew green grains in cold water in the middle of the 14th century.
So the 14th century can be considered a time when did people start drinking coffee. And only with some time, the evolution of coffee happened, and people began to roast coffee beans and put them in hot water instead of cold.
Despite the interest in coffee from the inhabitants of Yemen, coffee began to be widely used here only after they learned how to grow coffee trees. This plant took root well in Yemen and began to give a good harvest due to a favorable climate and fertile soil.
Gradually, the coffee drink was recognized outside the borders of Ethiopia and Yemen, and it became loved throughout the Middle East and Europe. (An interesting fact. It is believed that the first coffee houses were opened in 1475 in Constantinople)
COFFEE IN EUROPE
Prospero Alpini, an Italian doctor from Padua, was the first European to describe a coffee plant after visiting Egypt in 1591. However, this was not enough to start coffee production in Europe.
Arabs for a long time maintained a monopoly on the cultivation and production of coffee. They did not want to share secrets to maintain control over the trade-in coffee on the world market.
Therefore, they were allowed to export only dried grains from the country so that no one else could grow a coffee tree.
In addition, foreigners could not visit coffee plantations and learn the subtleties of coffee making. Finally, in 1690, the Dutch were able to acquire coffee tree growths, which marked the beginning of the cultivation of coffee on the islands of Java and Sumatra, which were Dutch colonies.
Ten years later, the Netherlands began to supply coffee to Europe, and Amsterdam became the world leader in coffee trade. Coffee became more and more popular among residents of European countries, although before it became an everyday drink in Europe, coffee was often used as a medicine.
For example, coffee in England was added to various herbal tinctures for the treatment of the gastrointestinal tract and constipation.
It was also believed that medicines containing coffee concentrate could help treat depression, hysteria, and other mental disorders. Gradually, Europeans learned to appreciate this oriental drink and created their own coffee traditions, such as the famous coffee houses in London.
COFFEE IN AMERICA
Today, coffee is an American’s favorite drink, and we cannot imagine at least one day without a fragrant cup of this drink. But when did coffee come to America? It is believed that it was the Dutch and the British who first brought coffee to the American continent.
As early as the beginning of the 17th century, the early colonialists brought their traditions to the new continent, including the habit of drinking coffee. So, on the ship that arrived in the American colonies in 1607 were a wooden mortar and pestle for grinding coffee beans.
The coffee-drinking culture quickly gained popularity among the colonists, and the coffee trade became a lucrative business in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities of the future USA. Already in 1696, the first coffee cafe opened its doors in New York for visitors who loved to visit such places.
Initially, coffee was brought from Europe, but gradually coffee plantations in the Americas began to not only produce coffee for the American colonies but also export coffee to Europe.
Coffee trees began to be grown in the New World from the 1720s, namely on the French island of Martinique. It was from Martinique and Dutch Guiana that coffee production began to spread throughout America.
So, in 1730, coffee was imported by the Spanish to countries such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
The Portuguese established coffee production in Brazil, and Jamaica learned about coffee from the British.
Interestingly, the United States officially made coffee its national drink in 1774.