The History of Coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world and dates back several centuries, to the ancient coffee forests of the Ethiopian plateau. Legend has it that the goat herder Kaldi was the one who first discovered the worth and potentialof these flavored beans.
The story goes that Kaldi discovered coffee beans after he noticed that his goats became extra energetic and awake after they eat some berries from a tree. Kaldi reported his discovery to the abbot at the local monastery who also prepared a drink for himself and found that it kept him active throughout his long prayer sessions. The abbot shared his discovery with his fellow monks and the word about the energizing berries started to spread.
As it became popular in the east, it was a matter of time before coffee was introduced in the Arabian Peninsula, from where it began its journey that would later take these beans everywhere.
The Arabian Peninsula Meets Coffee
Coffee trade and cultivation began in the Arabian Peninsula, and by the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemini district in Arabia. By 16th century, coffee gained popularity in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, and Syria. With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca every year, word of the “wine of Araby” started spreading.
The Introduction of Coffee in Europe
Travelers who visited the Near East came back with stories of a unique black drink. By the 17th century, coffee had found its way into Europe and over time, gained considerably fame throughout the continent. Despite people thinking that coffee was Satan’s bitter invention, it soon became a topic of great interest and coffee houses were transformed into hubs of communication and social activity.
The New World
During the mid-1600s, coffee made its way to New York (then called New Amsterdam). Though coffee was a big hit among the people, tea continued to remain their favorite drink until 1773, when colonists protested against heavy tax impositions levied by King George III. This protest, also referred to as the Boston Tea Party, was an impactful factor that would change the drinking preference of people in the US from tea to coffee, forever.
Coffee Comes To Americas
The mayor of Amsterdam offered King Louis XIV a young coffee plant in 1714. The king ordered the plant to be planted in Paris’ Royal Botanical Garden, from where a naval officer acquired a seedling and took it to Martinique.
Travelers and missionaries, colonists and traders continued to take coffee seedlings to new and different lands, where coffee trees were planted and had the chance to flourish. While some crops were short-lived, others thrived for longer. The popularity of coffee was so immense that it was able to establish economies. There were some gains and some losses, but by the end of the 18th century, coffee accounted as one of the world’s most lucrative export crops. It is surprising to know that coffee is the second most sought out commodity in the world, after crude oil.