The History of Coffee – Early Beginnings

For most of us, coffee has become a source of life sustenance. It is probably the first thing we consume every day. As years have passed, we have moved on from the regular old milk lattes, cold brews, and Frappuccinos to more sophisticated Espressos and Cappuccinos.


Some of us are still very practical about the kind of caffeine-rich drink we tend to consume regularly, while others take their caffeine pretty seriously. For these individuals, preparing their regular drink is a work of art and involves intricate steps that need to be followed to make the perfect drink, something that would keep them going for the rest of the day.

In the US, coffee is the fourth most popular beverage and has become part of its popular culture.

But how exactly does the caffeine in coffee induce such boosts in our mood while its excessive consumption can have the exact opposite effect?

Let’s start at the very beginning and discuss the history and origin of coffee.

The History of Coffee

The history and origin of coffee is an interesting and fascinating tale. Its origin is commonly traced back to Ethiopia from where it was transported all around the World and managed to become one of the most valuable trading commodities of its time.

The most widely known and accepted origin story of the coffee beans is linked to the Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi. In 700AD while feeding his livestock, he noticed that some of his goats were acting quite strangely. He concluded that this unusual behaviour was a result of the recently discovered beans that his goats had eaten. He took the magic beans to a monk who acknowledged the energy inducing effects of coffee beans and how these could help him stay awake all night for worship.

After being discovered in Ethiopia, Coffee began its journey to the rest of the World. Its first destination was Yemen in the 15th Century and from there it gained popularity in neighbouring countries like Egypt, Persia, and Turkey. Coffee gained its real prominence when it was transported to both the Eastern and Western frontiers—East into Indian and West into Europe.

Coffee Enters Asia & Europe

Despite restrictions by Yemen on the trade and transport of coffee beans from the country, an Indian Sufi saint Baba Budan managed to smuggle some coffee beans to India during his return from Mecca in 1670. In the following years, the aromatic seeds quickly amassed reputation across Europe and became part of numerous beverages. In 1674, the Women in England filed a petition to ban coffee and prevent their men from spending way too much time in coffee houses discussing religion and politics.

Coffee’s Final Destination: The Americas

After spreading its aroma around the World, coffee finally made its way into the continent of America. The first coffee beans were transported to the Caribbean Islands from France; coincidentally, these Caribbean Islands had the ideal conditions for coffee cultivation. Gradually the popularity of coffee spread to the South American countries, where it started being cultivated on a larger scale.

Soon after the advent of coffee in Brazil, the country became its largest producer. Interestingly, Brazil still holds the title for the most significant coffee cultivator in the World, and coffee has proven to be a precious export for Brazil, playing a big part in fueling the country’s economy.

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