The Origin Of Coffee

Have you ever asked yourself how coffee turned a beverage when you like to drink? Did you think about the discovery of coffee when you make a cup of coffee or you order a pack of coffee from the shop? Coffee is not only a popular drink but also a billion-dollar business. 

Have we ever thought about the origin of coffee when we drink coffee? Somebody may reply ‘‘YES’’ and somebody may remain silent because they never think about it. Well, there is a fascinating story behind the origin of coffee beans.

Origin of coffee

There is long and interesting history behind the popularity of coffee in the modern world. The discovery of coffee traces to the Ethiopian (Abyssinia) story.  Once a goat herder named Kaldi from Kaffa went to the plateau of Ethiopia for feeding his goat.

Suddenly, he noticed that his goats began jumping – almost dancing around him. It seemed to him as abnormal behavior. So, he was curious and he wanted to find out why his goats looked abnormal.

Kaldi saw the goats eat some berries from a shrub tree and he discovered the beans. He collected some of the fruits and came back home. He shared this finding with his wife. His wife advised him to take them to the nearest monastery.  

Kaldi showed these fruits to the monks. The monks denied them and threw them on fire. Interestingly, a monk felt the aroma of these fruits coming from the fire and then he collected these roasted beans and put them into hot water.

The monk felt more curious about aroma and got energy from it. The monks started using these beans for getting energy during their night prayer. This legendary story happened around 850 AD.

But nobody can prove this story authentically. Whether this story is true or false, it is commonly believed that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia.

The Yemenite story

Ghothul Akhbar Nooruddin Abu Al-Hasan Al-Shadhili, a Yemeni Sufi, was traveling to Ethiopia for spiritual matters. He found some energetic birds who were eating some fruit of Bunn(known as coffee). He was very tired and he decided to get energy by eating these beans. He ate these beans and he felt vigorous energy. 

Some scholars consider both stories as myths or legends because they lack enough sources or evidence. But It is clear to us that coffee was discovered in these areas.

The root of the ‘Coffee’ word

The English word ‘coffee’ was borrowed from the Dutch word ‘Koffie’ which was derived from the Ottoman Turkish word Kahve and Kahve was borrowed from the Arabic ‘’qahwah”. So, It’s apparent to us that the origin or familiarity of coffee started from Arab or from its surrounding area.

How coffee was spread throughout the Middle East?

In Yemen, Sufis used coffee as a beverage and they took this beverage for concentration in prayer at night. Normally, coffee was used to keep the Sufis alert at nighttime.

This plant became more popular and it was known in Mecca and Medina immediately. By 1500, Coffee was spread out in Cairo of Mameluke Sultanate, Damascus, Bagdad, and in north Africa from the port of Mocha in Yemen

There were myriad coffee houses set up in Cairo and then these coffee houses grew up in Syria. People opened coffee houses in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman empire in 1554.

Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, noted coffee in Aleppo as the first European in 1573 and later other Europeans followed his description. The European were getting known to coffee gradually. 

How coffee was reached in Europe?

Coffee was introduced in Hungary first when the ottoman empire invaded at the war of Mohacs in 1526 and then It reached Vienna during the Siege of Vienna by the same Turks in 1529.

Gradually, Coffee was getting its familiarity in Europe. Finally, coffee reached in Venice in 1570 and it became more popular beverage. At the same time, it created a row in Europe that it should be banned because people feared or suspected of new beverage, calling it the ‘bitter invention of Satan’.

The local clergy decided to avoid and ban this new beverage. Meanwhile, Pope Clement VIII knew about the row of people in 1615. So, he decided to taste this beverage and inspected it, and baptized it.

Finally, he declared that Christian people could drink coffee. After the baptized by the pope, coffee became popular throughout Europe in England, Holland, Austria and Germany.

Normally, Europeans were used to drinking alcohol and beer at the breakfast table or at other time. Gradually, coffee was replaced in alcohol, and those who drank coffee felt much energy and they became more vigorous in their workplace.

Their quality of work was improved and they felt better than alcohol. They choose coffee instead of wine, beer, and alcohol. Many coffee shops or houses grew up all over in Europe.

There were 300 coffee houses grown up in London by the mid-17th Century. A new business trend started in Europe and European people were looking for growing this plant on their own land and they imported this plant and beans for Europe. More coffee houses grew in London and most of the European cities. 

History of coffee in Asia 

Coffee was brought to India by a Muslim Sufi saint named Baba Budan from Yemen in 1670. This was the first record of coffee in India. Since then coffee beans were transferred to the southern area because these areas were hilly area.

The production of coffee is still growing in south India in Karnataka state. In the southern state of India namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, and Orissa are the traditional producer of coffee.

Besides these traditional areas, the north and north-eastern provinces are producing coffee on a large scale. These provinces include Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Himachal, and Arunachal, etc.

Coffee was introduced in Indonesia by the Dutch colony and they started to plant these beans in Indonesia. Dutch wanted to cultivate coffee beans in Holland but the plant died due to bitter cold.

So, they started to cultivate in Indonesia because this country was under the Dutch colony. Coffee reached to Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, and China day by day. 

The travel of coffee to America 

The Mayor of Amsterdam presented a young coffee Plant to the King Louis XIV of France as a gift in 1714. The King ordered his officials to plant this coffee plant in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris.

Although Holland couldn’t grow due to cold, the Royal Botanical Garden of Paris protects it by special greenhouse. A young naval officer named Gabriel de Clieu obtained seedlings from the Royal Botanical Garden in 1723.

In spite of all challenges, Gabriel managed to reach in Caribbean island named Martinique. He planted seeds on island. Once the seeds were planted, this island grew 18 million plants in the next 50 years.

Interestingly, these seedlings were the mother of all coffee varieties of Caribbean, south, and middle America.

Brazil is the top producer in the modern world than any other in the world. The credit goes to Francisco de Mello Palheta for the present Brazilian fame in coffee sector.

He was sent by the emperor to French Guyana to settle a dispute between Dutch and French. The French were not willing to share seedlings but he managed it from the Governor’s wife.

Finally, Coffee started its regime in Brazil. Brazil has a billion-dollar business from coffee and a lion’s share of GDP comes from coffee export.

Wherever European went for establishing colony, they took coffee seeds. They planted these seeds whether for their drink or business, they grew it in the many islands.  

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