The history of coffee is an interesting story, the coffee bean has travelled the world for many centuries. They have been stolen from royalty, trafficked out of strict countries and transformed nations and economies. It’s amazing to think that coffee beans that are taken from small trees in Ethiopia could turn into the second largest product traded around the world. Have you ever wanted to find out where coffee came from and where the coffee bean started to become popular? In this blog post, we’ll go through the coffee history story.
Legend has it that a lonely goat herder named Kaldi in Ethiopia discovered the effects of coffee on his goats getting excited after eating some berries that they had sourced from a tree. Kaldi told the abbot of the local monastery about his findings and then they had the idea of drying and boiling the berries to make a drink.
Coffee was originally discovered in Ethiopia, then the product started to be transported around the world. After the first discovery in Ethiopia, the coffee bean moved west into Europe as new civilisations discovered the commodity. It was also found and coveted by the Asians and reached the Arabian Peninsula, where coffee was planted and harvested. The Arabs were the first to farm coffee and were the first to begin its trade.
In 1699, Dutch traders had already taken coffee to Indonesia as they were one of the first countries to see it as a good business opportunity. This became the second commercially accessible coffee in the world. Other countries acknowledged the success of the Dutch and started to trade coffee.
The Pope’s Approval
In the 17th Century, coffee had expanded its way into Europe and became a popular beverage across the continent. However, there were some doubters about the product, at one point coffee was known as ‘the bitter invention of Satan’. Coffee then found its way in Venice where the local ministry condemned the product. The uproar was so great that Pope Clement VIII needed to get involved. Before he decided on the beverage, he tried itfound it very enjoyable and gave it Papal consent.
The very first coffee shop was opened in Venice in 1683. The most famous coffee house in Venice, Caffe Florian in Piazza San Marco opened its doors in 1720, it is still open to this day. London then got in on the act, with the first coffee house opened in 1688 by Edward Lloyd. Lloyds Insurance is now housed in that building. In other areas of England, ‘penny universities’ which were coffeehouses that were alternative forms of learning to structural academic learning became trendy. Coffee became more and more popular in the mid-17th century and there were over 300 coffee houses in London. These were popular with people that had common interests such as artists, shippers and merchants.
The renowned Boston Tea Party in the British Colonies indicated the end of the New World’s reliance on tea, and coffee achieved a new level of popularity. In the 1800s, coffee was being grown in many areas of the world including the Pacific Islands and Jamaica. In the late 1800’s Brazil became the leading coffee growing country in the world, they produced 80% of the world beans. The South American country is still the largest growers of coffee beans in the world today.
The coffee industry has continued to develop and is a part of everyone’s daily life, even those that don’t consume the beverage. The implementation of the Fair-Trade movement that came into effect in 1958, which is a regulation trying to enable farmers to carry on growing coffee and improves their living conditions. Although sadly some coffee farmers are still underappreciated by coffee companies, however, things are moving in the right direction. Speciality coffee is the new phenomenon with people seeking better quality coffee with the product being graded between 80 to 100 points by a certified coffee taster.
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