History of coffee

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Some claim it is the most widely consumed liquid in the world aside from water.

Where did coffee bean come from?

History of Coffee

No one knows exactly from where and when and how the coffee was discovered. The history dates as back as the 10th century with numbers of reports of its first use. Botanical evidence indicates that the coffee was originated from central Ethiopia. However, the early substantial evidence coffee usage and knowledge about this magical fruits are from the 15th century by Sufi monasteries in Yemen. How it got from Ethiopia across the Red Sea to Yemen is uncertain. Yemen started cultivating it. From humble origins in Africa, coffee cultivation wandered east and west, eventually forming  “The coffee belt” that roughly bounded by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

However, there are many stories of the origin of coffee. It’s very interesting and worth reading with a cup of coffee in hand!!!


Origin of Coffee in Ethiopia

Coffee, now grown worldwide was first believed to be discovered in Ethiopia. There are a number of reports and legends surrounding its first use. The famous story linked to the coffee origin is “The dancing goat story”. It is said that Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd first came across this red, cherry-like magic fruit. Kaldi noticed that his goats were dancing and jumping from one shrub to another. With curiosity, Kaldi too ate some and felt more cheerful and active. Later he narrated the story to a monk in a nearby monastery. But monks did not approve it and they threw the beans into the fire. Soon the enticing aroma of coffee started spreading in the air and other monks came to investigate.  Monks started making drinks with the berries and they could stay more alert during the long hours of evening prayer. Coffee began its journey that later spread its reputation across the globe world.

Origin of Coffee in Yemen

Coffee cultivation and trade started in the Yemeni district of Arabia. Good climate of Yemen and fertile soil offered the ideal conditions to harvest coffee. Thus, coffee went wherever Islam went: North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and India. Arabian coffee traders wanted to preserve their precious coffee monopoly. To do so, they intentionally made export beans infertile by parching or boiling. They made it sure that no coffee seed sprouted outside Africa or Arabia. Baba Budan, a pilgrim to Mecca somehow managed to get some fertile coffee seeds while returning from Mecca. He initiated an agricultural expansion and the coffee later reached Europe.

Origin of Coffee in Europe

A Venetian merchant became fond of this magical drink during his stay in Istanbul. He carried it himself on his way back home. Thus, coffee enters Europe. Soon coffeehouses were open and it became a platform for people with a different background to come together and chat.

Origin of Coffee in France

French King Louis XIV received a coffee plant as a gift for his royal botanical garden. Thus, coffee entered France and French people start enjoying this enticing black drink. Several years later a young naval officer, called Abriel Mathieu de Clieu was on his way to Martinique from France requested some clippings from the king’s tree. But the king did not permit him to take any. But still, de Clieu managed to steal a sprout.!!

De Clieu started his journey to Martinique. Unfortunately, the coffee clippings were seriously affected by the heavy storm that hit the ship and almost sank it. De Clieu gave most of his water ration in the ship to the coffee plant. Finally, with persistent care and nurturing the sprout grew strong in Martinique.

Origin of Coffee in Brazil

Brazil government wanted to enter into the emerging coffee market. But they wanted to get a coffee sprout first. Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta went to France as a mediator to a border dispute. Clever Francisco chooses the easy path – Governor’s wife!! During a farewell party, she gifts him a bouquet sprinkled with coffee seedlings. Thus “the James Bond of Coffee Beans”, Francisco got the first coffee sampling to Brazil which is now, ranks No.1 in the list of world coffee growing countries.

Climate condition where coffee grows.

Coffee cultivation is done where there are moderate sunshine and rain, high altitude, steady temperatures around 70°F (20°C), and rich, porous soil.

Two main varieties of Coffee:

History of Coffee Beans
There are two main varieties of coffee trees: Arabica and Robusta.  Arabica coffee trees are more delicate, must be grown at higher elevations (1800 feet or more), and yield fewer beans per tree per growing season. Robusta coffee trees are much harder, may be grown at lower elevations, and have a high bean yield. Of the two, Arabicas get the better beans – and about 70 percent of the harvest. The harsher beans Robusta tree account for about 30 percent of the world’s production and are used for “mainstream” (lower quality) coffee blends.

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