A Coffee Story: Coffee History 101

Ever wondered where coffee comes from and how this invigorating beverage came to be? That's what we'll dive into below!

The Origins of Coffee - Coffee’s History, Legends, and More

There are all kinds of coffee beans to enjoy with nuanced flavors and distinctive profiles. Since coffee is sourced from regions all over the globe, it can be hard to figure out where everything started. You've probably heard about coffee from South America. There are Peruvian blends, Colombian blends, and more. So is South America where coffee originated? Not exactly! 

Maybe you are familiar with Italian espresso. Does that mean the Italians discovered coffee? Nope! Although, they did perfect the way it was served. In fact, the origins of coffee can be traced to shepherds in Ethiopia sometime toward the middle of the 14th century A.D. Here's the story! 

Once Upon a Time… There Were Some Very Hyper Goats!

Coffee is a beverage enjoyed all around the world. The heritage of coffee can be traced back many centuries, into ancient times. Surprisingly, the origins of coffee are thought to have begun on the Ethiopian plateau, and it all started with a very active herd of goats and one curious shepherd! 

According to various legends, a goat herder first discovered coffee beans because he noticed unusual activity in his goat herd. As the story goes, the goat herder discovered coffee after noticing that his goats were unusually energetic whenever they grazed near a certain grove of trees and shrubs. The lively goats were prancing and playing more than usual, and no longer wanted to settle down at night. Naturally, the shepherd inspected what they had been getting into, and discovered the coffee fruit.

After realizing that the fruit had energy-boosting properties, the shepherd reported his findings to local monks. The monks sampled the coffee fruit and discovered a way to make a drink with its seeds. They soon found that this new drink kept them alert through long hours of the night, allowing for further prayer and study.  

As word began moving across the East about this fascinating plant, people on the Arabian Peninsula began to trade goods for coffee beans. Before long, coffee was being traded all around the world! 

Knowledge of Coffee Spreads Across the Arabian Peninsula 

The cultivation of coffee and its trade value began to grow and spread all throughout the Arabian Peninsula. At the start of the 15th century, coffee plants were being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia. By the time the 16th century rolled around, coffee was well-known in Egypt, Persia, Turkey, and Syria. 

Soon, coffee was being enjoyed in homes, palaces, and public coffee houses all across the region. Coffee houses began to appear all over cities in the Near East as well. These coffee houses became incredibly popular and people would frequent them for a range of social activities. 

Coffee house patrons would drink coffee and engage in deep conversation. Music was performed, chess was played, and visitors would catch up on current news from near and far. Coffee houses eventually became such important centers for informational exchange that they were deemed “schools of wisdom.”

How Coffee Came to Europe

In time, European travelers began visiting the Near East. These travelers returned home with fascinating stories of an unusual black drink that filled their bodies with vigor and alertness. By the 17th century, coffee began making its way into Europe and becoming popular all across the European continent. 

Coffee Controversy

In 1615, clergy members began to condemn coffee in Venice. The controversy around coffee was so intense that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. The Pope tasted coffee for himself and found that it was so delicious, he wanted to regularly enjoy it. Suffice it to say, with this new papal approval, coffee soon replaced common breakfast beverages like beer and wine. 

Coffee for the Common Folk

People who drink coffee as opposed to alcohol found that they could stay alert and energized throughout the day. Their quality of work began to improve and the popularity of coffee as a regular drink continued to grow. By the late 17th century, over 312 coffee houses existed in London alone. Merchants, shippers, and coffee brokers began to emerge all over the world. Before long, many people were making a business out of the beverage. 

How Coffee Came to America

Coffee was brought to New York by the British in the late 1600s. At the time, New York was known as New Amsterdam. Tea was the preferred drink in the new world until 1773. At this time, the colonists revolted against the heavy tea taxation imposed by King George III. This revolt was known as the Boston Tea Party. It would forever change the preference for tea over coffee in America. 

Coffee Cultivation in New Places Worldwide

The popularity of coffee continued to spread around the world. Competition for the cultivation of coffee plants outside of the Arabian Peninsula led the Dutch to bring seedlings to India. However, attempts to plant coffee in India failed. Efforts were then made in Batavia, on the island of Java, in an area that is what is now known as Indonesia. Coffee plants thrived in the Java region and soon, the Dutch had productive coffee trade routes to many parts of the world. The cultivation of coffee soon expanded to Sumatra and Celebes. Colonists, missionaries, and Merchants continued to bring coffee seeds and coffee plants to new places all around the world. Brazilian coffee was brought to the region by the Emperor of French Guiana. From tropical forests to rugged highlands, coffee crops flourished in new places all over the world. 

Travel the World One Sip at a Time With Globally Sourced Small-Batch Coffee

From a single shepherd to a multi-billion dollar industry, the story of coffee is surely a fascinating one!

Now that you know the history of coffee and its ancient legend, are you ready to get a taste of delicious freshly-roasted coffee beans from all over the globe? If you are, you can click here to explore an array of delicious single-origin coffee beans sourced from Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, and more! 

Or, follow this link and check out these delicious Fair Trade coffee options from small-batch farmers in Nicaragua, Timor, Sumatra, and beyond. No matter what kind of coffee you are looking for, Onegreatcoffee.com is here to help you unlock excellence in every sip! 

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