Coffee History Facts

Coffee History | Coffee is the most consumed popular drink worldwide after water and tea, and its history is as complex and rich as the beverage itself. A cup of coffee is prepared by roasting seeds from the evergreen tropical coffee plants that originate from Africa. The stimulating effects of coffee contributed to its popularity in history and a fascinating backstory behind every cup of coffee your pour each morning.

Birthplace of the Coffee Plant

Ethiopia, a country in East Africa, is the birthplace of coffee plants. Over a thousand years ago, in the region of Kaffa, a coffee plant was discovered by an Arab goatherd, Kaldi.

Kaldi and the Frolicking Goats

The most famous legend that surrounds and initiates the history of coffee is that of Kaldi, an Arab goat herder who observed that his goats were acting exciting and energetic, so much so that they wouldn’t even sleep at night. He discovered that the animals ate some red berries from a plant with shiny green leaves. When Kaldi tried the red berries himself, he was surprised by the revitalizing effects of these berries and decided to share them with nearby Monks.

Devil’s Work

When Kaldi took the coffee berries to nearby Monks, they exclaimed that it was “Devil’s Work” and threw the berries into the fire. The monastery was immediately filled with the invigorating smell of the roasting beans emitting from the berries, which attracted other Monks, who took the roasted beans out, made a drink out of them, and drank it. The coffee drink kept them alert the whole night, and through evening prayers, so they decided to drink it every day to keep them awake.

The Journey Toward Arabian Peninsula

Coffee reached the east when the word spread, and its trade and cultivation began in Arabian Peninsula. The coffee plants started growing in the 15th century in the Yemeni district of Arabia, and coffee reached Egypt, Persia, Syria, and Turkey by the 16th century. The stimulating effects of coffee made it very popular worldwide, but it was also met with religious and political resistance.

Coffee Was Deemed Prohibited in Islam

The Islamic authorities deemed coffee haram or prohibited because it contains a psychoactive drug, which is caffeine, that affects a person’s mental state. Increased caffeine consumption leads to its dependence, which resembles addiction to alcohol.

The Ottoman Sultan Murad IV declared coffee consumption an immoral activity and ordered coffee drinkers to be punishable by death. He believed that coffee was introducing social decay and discord in Istanbul.

Rise of Coffeehouses

Many Muslims were attracted to coffee as a substitute for alcohol, and soon coffee was considered a safe alternative as it didn’t induce drunkenness but increased a person’s focus. Coffeehouses were rapidly established as the new social entity, and coffee wasn’t only enjoyed at home but in these public coffeehouses called qahveh khaneh.

Many people frequented these coffeehouses to get coffee and engage in absorbing conversations. The patrons played chess and listened to music, and coffeehouses soon became an important sanctuary to exchange information. These “schools of the wise” were the places from where the knowledge of coffee and its effects began spreading throughout the world.

Coffee Introduced to European Countries

Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, coffee became popular from one European county to another. Its popularity arose to such heights that by the end of the 17th century, multiple coffee houses flourished in Britain.

Devil’s Drink

Word also reached the streets of Italy, and the Catholic Pope was advised to announce coffee as a “bitter invention of Satan” due to its captivating effect on coffee drinkers.

Pope Clement VIII, however, didn’t want to make haste and tried tasting the beverage. He thought that the drink was delicious, and it is believed that the Pope blessed the coffee beans since they were a better and safe alternative to the intoxicating alcohol.

Coffeehouses Have Gained Popularity in France, England, and Germany

Coffee continued to push back all boundaries and controversies and started gaining popularity in Austria, England, Germany, France, and Holland. In the 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses became popular spots for gossip and engaging conversations. The coffee’s buzz proved addictive for people from all walks of life as they chattered, conducted business meetings, and exchanged valuable ideas.

Political Controversies and Penny Universities

During the English Civil War in 1672, King Charles II proclaimed coffeehouses as a source of spreading false information. He declared that men had assumed liberty to defame the State proceedings and “speaking evil of things” that they did not understand.

The ban on coffeehouses lasted only 11 days. Its failure proved to be a phenomenal event in history, as shutting down these hubs of exchanging ideas provoked an explosion of even greater ideas during the Enlightenment. In Oxford, “penny universities” were established and called so because, for a single penny, you could enter the coffeehouse or get a cup of coffee and then gain access to intellectual discussions and debates.

Coffee Replaces Beer and Wine

When beer was considered a safer drinking option than water, the rise in popularity of this beverage was no small thing. Coffee started replacing beer, wine, and alcohol, as people realized that if they started their day with coffee, their productivity levels were far greater, and they felt alert.

By the mid-17th century, coffee houses were spread across London, and more than 300 locations attracted like-minded merchants, patrons, shippers, and brokers. Many coffee businesses we see today, like Edward Lloyd’s coffee house, came into existence via these coffeehouses.

Coffee Comes to America

When the Mayor of Amsterdam gifted King Louis XIV of France a small coffee plant, it was planted in the Royal Botanical Garden.

A naval officer found a seedling from this plant in 1723. After a challenging voyage in which he battled with a saboteur, dreadful weather, and pirate attacks, he successfully brought the seedling to Martinique.

This seedling is responsible for the spread of more than 18 million coffee trees over the next 50 years on the Island of Martinique.

Coffee had become a profitable trade commodity by the end of the 18th century and is now considered a valuable export crop after cotton, crude oil, natural gas, etc.

Third Wave Coffee

Fast forward to today where cafes such as PUCCI Cafe, service third wave coffees.

Per Wikipedia; Third-wave coffee is a movement in coffee marketing emphasizing high quality. Beans are typically sourced from individual farms and are roasted more lightly to bring out their distinctive flavors. We, at PUCCI Cafe, think that one should relax and enjoy their coffees during the day.  We invite you to come and try one of our third wave coffees today.  You won’t be disappointed.   🙂