History of Coffee
While you are sipping your coffee in the morning do you ever look out the window and say to yourself, “I wonder where coffee came from? What the history of coffee is? Or, I wonder how coffee has played a part in world politics?” To be honest, I haven't. I never really thought about it or really cared (to be that honest), but after doing some research for this site I found it to be quite interesting and a great way to start a conversation at the coffee shop when you are with a dullard. So, to prep you for that ever-so-exciting date you met online…
here, as you've never really wanted to know, is the history of coffee:
- About 900 BC Arabian Doctors used coffee as medicine, but there is no historical record before that date.
- The coffee plant originated from Ethiopia and rumor has it that goats from 300 AD played a vital role in the history of coffee. The story is: Kaldi an Ethiopian Goatherder found that his goats had more energy after eating certain red berries. He tried them and found they gave him energy and promptly told monks at a nearby monastery who found they stayed awake after late evening prayers. They told two friends and so on, and so on, and so on until the monks gave the info to Islamic pilgrims on their way to Mecca and Medina. (It does make me wonder if you made a goat eat strictly coffee beans and milked it if you would have some sort of café au lait beverage ready to go?)
- As more people came to drink and eat coffee beans a coffee plantation was cultivated in Yemen, then spread to Arabia and Egypt.
- In 1445, it was ruled that Turkish women could divorce their husbands if the didn't provide the daily coffee quota.
- In the 16th Century priests asked Pope Clement VIII to ban the evilness known as coffee. The Pope declined and baptized it instead. Making it 1-0 for the goats.
- Around the 1600's, the founder of Jamestown, Virginia, Captain John Smith, introduces coffee to North America.
- Finally, the 1st coffeehouse opened in London, England in the 17th Century. These coffeehouses were the first to come up with the tipping system. There would be a box out on the counter, which read, “To Insure Prompt Service.”
- The Ottoman Empire banned coffee drinking, in 1656, and people caught during the prohibition were dunked in the Bosphorus straits encased in a leather bag (probably made of goat).
- Just over 10 years later, a Turkish Ambassador introduced Louis XIV to the delights and coffee infiltrates Europe.
- In 1670, Boston's Dorothy Jones became the first American licensed coffee trader.
- Then a mere 5 years later the “Women's Petition Against Coffee” was established in London, England. Women were not allowed in coffeehouses and called coffee heathenish.
- Paradoxically, coffee was introduced to Java in 1690.
- 1714 a greenhouse was built to protect a coffee plant given to Louis XIV as a gift. This particular coffee plant is said to have been the “stock” of all coffee plants in Latin America today.
- “If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times a day, then in my torment I will shrivel like a piece of roast goat.” This is from Bach's Coffee Cantata which premiered, in 1732, at Zimmerman's Coffeehouse in Leipzig, Germany. Poor goat's start the trend and end up like coffee; roasted.
- 18 years later handles for the bowls were invented in Europe. The trend of sticking out your little finger, while sipping, also began.
- 1791 a successful slave revolt took place at coffee plantations in Haiti.
- The first espresso machine was invented in France in 1822 and half a century later, housewife, Melitta Benz invents the coffee filter.
- From 1861 to 1865, US soldiers in the Civil War had Shapes' Carbine Gun's installed with coffee grinders in their buttstocks (and no, I'm not kidding).
- 1881- The Hills Brother's Coffee Empire is started in San Francisco, by Austin & Reuben Hills, when they purchased a coffee shop. They introduced the US to grocery store coffee instead of village roasters. They packaged their Hills Coffee in a vacuum can.
- The abomination (in my opinion) of instant coffee was invented by a Japanese-American Chemist, in Chicago, in 1901.
- Two years later, decaf was invented by a German Coffee Importer. He called it, “Sanka.”
- 1946 - Achilles Gaggia develops first cappuccino machine. He named it “cappuccino” after the color of a Capuchin Friar's hat.
- The UN established coffee export quotas in 1962.
- In 1989, world coffee prices plunge.
- Currently, Brazil is currently the world's largest coffee producer. Next comes Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.