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The History of Coffee: How Much Do You Know?

Did you know that coffee, is the most bought, sold and consumed commodity in the world, second only to crude oil? Yep!! That’s right! There is more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed in the world every day! Coffee is a product produced in more than 70 countries, by many thousands of coffee growers around the world, producing many tons of raw coffee beans every year.

So where exactly did coffee come from, and which part of the world was it discovered? There is a legend that says coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia during the 11th Century, by a goat herder named Kaldi, who found his goats frolicking and full of energy, after eating the red berries, of what is now known as the coffee shrub, or bush.

Later however, the genetic analysis of the coffee plant, shows its origin to be the South-West side of the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia. It would make sense then, people of the area were first to discover it. Whether or not our friend Kaldi, and his goats were among those people, is anyone’s guess.

Moving away from fables and legends, in the very beginning,100’s of years before Kaldi supposedly discovered the coffee plant, it is thought that raw coffee beans were chewed by locals, for its stimulating effects. There are some records that show, the first commercial cultivation of coffee took place in a country now known as Yemen, at some point in the time period of 800 AD. It was a drink known as Qahwa, made from boiling green coffee beans. Hardly the roasted coffee we know today. When we think about coffee as we know it today, made from roasted coffee beans, records show it began in the country of Turkey, around 1200 AD, which then spread throughout many Arabic countries

The coffee tree/shrub, “coffea arabica” has a white blossom that some say smells like jasmine and a red, cherry-like fruit, the bean. Back in those days, coffee was thought of as a "magical fruit". The leaves of the plant were boiled in water and the resulting brew was thought to have medicinal properties. The word about this so-called magical plant, slowly and surely began to spread to other countries around the world, and so began the long history of coffee as we know it today.

As some records show, the magical elixir coffee, began its world-wide popularity, when a traveler from India, Baba Budan, in the very early 1600’s, brought the plant back to India. Then once again as records show, in 1616 another traveler from Denmark, Pieter van der Broeck, smuggled coffee plants from Mocha, Yemen, and took them back to Amsterdam. Soon afterwards, the great taste, and energy producing effects of coffee quickly spread throughout Europe. From there, some European countries in turn, spread the product around the world. The French introducing it to the Caribbean, while the Spanish and Portuguese introducing it to Central and South America. Finally, the great tasting beverage made its way to America via colonizers from England.

Strange as it may seem, some of the first coffee houses in the world sprang up on the Arabian Peninsula. They were places much like today, where people would go for a cup of their daily 'pick-me-up'. Hmmm... Ever wonder where Starbucks got their idea? Such places became quite popular gathering locations for local people, where besides drinking a cup of coffee, they also took part in many social activities such as listening to music, watching various performances, playing various games such as Chess, and yes, even staying current on the news. So we can see that coffee houses are actually a timed honored tradition!

As the beverage we know as coffee spread around the world, so did the coffee house gathering places. It should be told however, in the early years upon reaching Europe, because of its stimulating effects, many people feared the dark black beverage, referring to it as, “the bitter invention of Satan”. The fear was so great, that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. But after trying the beverage for himself, he decided to give it Papal approval. In America although coffee became popular in some circles, tea was still the most popular past time beverage. The popularity of coffee did not truly take hold in America, until after the event known as the Boston Tea Party took place, which was a revolt against the heavy taxation of tea by King George III. Besides the Tea Party itself, people began turning to the consumption of coffee, as retaliation of the Kings high taxes on tea.

There is so much more about the colorful history of coffee. However, the long and short of it is, that throughout the centuries until today, coffee has become the most popular beverage in the world, consumed by many millions of people every day. For many people, it is hard to think about starting the day, without that cup of morning brew.

Here at Boompsdinks, we hope you have a great day, and a great cup of coffee, to start it off the right way.

And don’t forget to check out The Boompsdinks Gourmet Coffee Shop for the best coffees on the planet!

Stayed tuned for more informative articles all about coffee…


1- Quora – Who Discovered Coffee – Peter Baskerville Retrieved- 11 Nov 2018

2- Mental Floss – Who Discovered Coffee? – Sean Hutchinson Retrieved 11 Nov 2018

3- National Coffee Association – History of Coffee – Retrieved 11 Nov 2018

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