The History of Coffee

There are many stories on how coffee beans were discovered. In one story, an Ethiopian shepherd was tending his sheep, found that they became quite active after eating red cherries from some plants; he, too, tried the cherries and became as hyperactive; this led to the start of coffee drinking using this red cherries.

So as it is, the first coffee beans were cultivated in the Ethiopian highlands, and subsequently entered Yemen, a country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee was called 'qahwe' (wine), the truncation of qahhwat al-bun or wine of the bean, by the Arabs; and 'kahve' by the Turkish. The Islamic religion prohibits the consumption of alcoholic drinks, and coffee was an alternative choice. Turkish coffee was originally brewed in little pots called ibriks or cezves.

As the Arabs expanded trades, coffee beans were exported and cultivated in northern Africa, and later, spread to India and Europe. Coffee entered Europe first through Venice in Italy. The Venetians and Arabs traded in a wide range of commodities and goods, including coffee, which was introduced to wealthy people. Stories have it that at that time, Christianity was facing the threat of Islamic power, and the Pope was advised that coffee should be banned since it came from the East. But when the Pope tried the beverage, he blessed the drink and made it a Christian beverage.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Brazil became the biggest producer of coffee. Due to its high profitability, many countries, such as Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India, then started to plant coffee beans. Since early 20th century, US became the largest coffee importing country. Starbucks Café started their café chain in 1970s and thus leads the café business around the world.

Today if you walk around any parts of the world, you will definitely find cafes in every corner, selling different coffee from various parts of the world.


Andrew CostarisComment