The History Of Coffee | A Trip That Led Humans To Euphoria!
Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world, with about 2.5 billion cups of coffee being served in various nations daily. It is also one of the oldest materials to have traveled across the oceans. Let us dive into the origin story of this magnificent seed and relish its tales.
It all began with a few ecstatic goats! A herder named Kaldi in Ethiopia was on his daily route with the animals when he noticed that some of the goats are acting weird and dancing in bliss.
They had just consumed bright red berries from a nearby tree. The loud bleats and wild behavior amazed him and he reported it to the local monastery. It sounded odd and thus the monk decided to try the berries himself. He boiled them in a hot pot of water and drank it.
The result was mind blowing as he stayed awake through the evening, focused on the long prayers. It was the first time when a human had experienced the effects of pure coffee beans.
This discovery spread like wildfire and in no time, people from around the monastery started visiting to experience energizing berries. The Oromo tribe in a region of Oromia(Ethiopia) was the first to cultivate coffee for use and trade. Its existence became concrete by the 15th century.
Coffee was first exported out of Ethiopia by Somali merchants. It roved to Yemen where the Sufis used the beverage as an aid to concentration and spiritual intoxication. The plant attracted the attention of Mecca around 1415 and reached the Mameluke Sultanate of Egypt in the early 1500s.
Myriad coffee houses associated with Sufism started opening up in Cairo, Syria, Istanbul, and the rest of middle-east by the 16th century. This is the time when coffee started jumping continents. It first went to Italy, then the rest of Europe, the Americas, and finally Asia.
Coffee In Europe
The Turks invaded Hungary at the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and brought coffee to Europe. It reached Vienna in the late 16th century and the first coffeehouse in Austria opened around 1685. This is where the tradition of adding sugar and milk to the beverage began.
Society elites like scientists, artists, intellectuals, and finance men met in special rooms of the Viennese coffee houses. They spent quality time discussing various topics while sipping this awesome delight. There were more than 3,500 coffeehouses across England by the late sixteen hundreds. The custom of drinking coffee among Parisians got established by the Ambassador from Sultan Mehmed IV. The aroma of coffee spread around Germany in the 18th century.
The Dutch won the race to acquire live coffee trees. They were the first to begin coffee bean cultivation in Srilanka and southern India. It turned them into the main suppliers of coffee to all of Europe. The Caribbean region in the Americas tasted the magic of coffee in the 1700s.
Coffee in Americas
The French territory of Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean region started cultivating coffee in 1734 and took over half of the global market by 1788. Here’s a captivating story about Santos coffee and Oaxaca coffee. It comes from smaller beans found in Réunion. The King of Portugal sent Francisco de Melo Palheta to obtain these seeds when things took a wild turn.
Francisco kidnapped the French Governor's wife and asked for enough seeds/shoots to commence the coffee industry of Brazil in return. His demands were met and by 1893, the coffee from Brazil was introduced to the people living in Kenya and Tanzania.
It marked an important milestone in the journey of coffee. These regions are close to Ethiopia, thus ending the transcontinental adventure that began 600 years ago! Coffee cultivation spread across many other countries in the latter half of the 19th century. During the World Wars, the USA helped Latin America maintain the supply of coffee throughout the planet.
Brazil became the largest producer of coffee in the world and dominated production. It exported insane amounts of these euphoric beans between 1850 to 1950. Both North and South America benefitted greatly because of their agreement and to date reap the rewards of coffee trades.
Lastly, as the demand for coffee increases, so does its variety and fluctuations in cost. Today, the race for the highest production is on between Brazil, Vietnam, and Columbia. There are thousands of beverages that use these beans in one way or another. Coffee beans have become the most profitable export crops. The love for it is undying and so is the business!