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Curious about the History of Coffee?



The History of Coffee — No one really knows how coffee originated; its origin was lost in legends worldwide. However, a frequently told story that the history of coffee is attributed its discovery to a 16th Century herd of hungry goats and their Ethiopian caretaker named Kaldi. The goats, tired of searching for greener pasture, began to nibble the sweet red berries from a strange and unknown bush. Soon unusual behaviour followed, the herd became friskier and begun to kick their heels; witnessing the lively behaviour, Kaldi decided to taste the berries. Soon after, he became restless as well. He then shared his discovery to a monk and the news was brought to a monastery. The monk started serving them in the monastery and their evening prayers suddenly became more pleasant. The glories of the magical berries then begun to spread rapidly.

Coffee was then considered as a standard Ethiopian tribal food. They mixed the coffee berries with animal fat, rolled them into balls, and ate them when they travel at night which made them awake and alert. Below is the time line in the evolution of coffee.

1st Century

By the 1st Century, Arab traders brought back coffee to Arabia and cultivate the plant for the first time on plantations. They created a drink out of the berries and called it “qahwa”; which literally translates as “that which prevents sleep”

15th Century

Around 1453, coffee was introduced into Constantinople by the Turks and the first ever coffee shop, Kiva Kan, opened there in 1475.

16th Century

Jesuit missionaries then brought arabica coffee beans to the country of Colombia. The volcanic soil of the Andes Mountains, along with the mild temperatures and abundant rainfall of the Colombian topography, provided ideal growing conditions enabling the coffee plants to flourish.

By the late 1500’s, the first traders were selling coffee in Europe, thus introducing the new beverage into Western life. The Dutch planted coffee in their tropical colonies of Batavia and Java, while the French planted it in Martinique in 1723 and later on in the Antilles. The English, Spaniards and Portuguese followed suit in their own colonies.

17th Century

In 1607, coffee was thought to have been introduced to the ‘New World’ by Captain John Smith; the founder of Virginia.

In 1652, the first coffeehouse opens in England. Coffee houses multiply and become such popular forums for intellectual discussions that they are dubbed “penny universities” (a penny being the price of a cup of coffee).

In 1668, Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse opens in England and is frequented by merchants and maritime insurance agents. Eventually it becomes Lloyd’s of London, the best-known insurance company in the world.

In 1672, the coffee shop opened in Paris.

In 1675, the Turkish Army surrounded Vienna. Franz Georg Kolschitzky, a Viennese who had lived in Turkey, slips through the enemy lines to lead relief forces to the city. The fleeing Turks leave behind sacks of “dry black fodder” that Kolschitzky recognizes as coffee. He claimed them as his reward and opened central Europe’s first coffee house. He also establishes the habit of refining the brew by filtering out the grounds, sweetening it, and adding a dash of milk.

With a coffee plant smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha in 1690, the Dutch become the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially, in Ceylon and in their East Indian colony – Java, source of the brew’s nickname.

18th Century

In 1713, King Louis XIV was presented with a coffee tree. It is believed that coffee additives was first used as coffee additive in his courts.

1721: First coffee house opens in Berlin.

1723: French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu do Clieu stole a coffee seedlings and transported it to Martinique. Within 50 years, official survey recorded 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the world’s coffee spreads from this plant.

In 1727, coffee growing started in northern Brazil through Lieutenant colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta who was sent by government to arbitrate a border dispute between the French and the Dutch colonies in Guiana. Not only did he settled the dispute, but also came up with a secret liaison with the wife of French Guiana’s governor. Although France guarded its New World coffee plantations to prevent cultivation from spreading, the lady said good-bye to Palheta with a bouquet in which she hid cuttings and fertile seeds of coffee

19th Century

The first espresso machine might have been invented in France at the start of the 19th century. But the first manufactured machine is said to have happened 100 years later in Italy.

In 1886, former wholesale grocer Joel Cheek names his popular coffee blend “Maxwell House,” after the hotel in Nashville, TN where it was served.

20th Century

The 20th century saw a major evolution of coffeein the way it was made and served.

In 1900, Hills Bros. begins packing roast coffee in vacuum tins, spelling the end of the ubiquitous local roasting shops and coffee mills.

In 1901 a Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago, created the first soluble “instant” coffee.

In 1903 a German coffee importer, Ludwig Roselius and a team of researchers perfected the process of removing the caffeine content from the coffee beans without destroying the flavour. He marketed it under the brand name we still know today, “Sanka.”

In 1905 the first commercial espresso machine was manufactured in Italy.

In 1906, George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala, notices a powdery condensation forming on the spout of his silver coffee carafe. After experimentation, he creates the first mass-produced instant coffee (his brand is called Red E Coffee).

In 1908 Melitta Bentz invented the world’s first drip coffeemaker by using blotting paper.

In 1933 Dr. Ernest Illy developed the first automatic espresso machine.

In 1938 Nescafé instant coffee was invented by the Swiss Nestlé company, to aid the Brazilian government in solving its coffee surplus problem.

In 1945 Achilles Gaggia perfected the espresso machine with a piston that creates a high pressure extraction to produce the thick layer of crema that we all love today.

In 1971, Starbucks opens its first store in Seattle’s Pike Place public market, creating a frenzy over fresh-roasted whole bean coffee.

In 1979, Mr Cappuccino opens for business.

In 1991, Caffè Carissimi Canada, a network of espresso service providers is formed in Canada, modeled after a visit to Franco Carissimi (roaster and equipment manufacturer) in Bergamo Italy. It becomes the fastest growing network of private and independant super automatic machines providers in Canada.

In 1995, Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. More than 400 billion cups are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil.

Visit www.coffeetology.com for more facts and trivia about coffee…

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