Known History of Coffee
No one knows exactly how coffee was discovered. The first coffee plants probably grew in Kaffa, a province in southwestern Ethiopia. This province may have given coffee its name. Persian armies in the 6th Century probably carried coffee seeds to the Arabian Peninsula. There the Arabs brewed the bitter, but stimulating, seeds into a drink to make them taste better. Soon the new beverage spread to Europe. By the beginning of the 17th Century, so much coffee was passing through the Arabian port of Mocha that mocha became another word for coffee.
During the 18th Century, coffee culture spread to Asia and the New World. The Netherlands East Indies, now called Indonesia, dominated the world market for nearly a century. Brazil then took over the leading position and has held it for many decades.
After Brazil, the leading coffee-producing countries are Colombia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Uganda, and India. The United States is the leading consumer, followed by Brazil, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Great Britain, and Italy.
Note – This is according to Harold F. Winters, US Department of Agriculture, 1994 Grolier Incorporated. Some recent statistics may have changed since the date of this publication.
Coffee Etymology and History
The word entered English in 1598 via Italian Caffe, via Turkish kahveh, from Arabic qahwa. Its ultimate origin is uncertain, there being several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink.
One possible explanation is the Kaffa region in Ethiopia, where the plant originated (its native name there being bunna). Coffee beans were first imported from Ethiopia to Yemen. One legendary account (though certainly a myth) is that of the Yemenite Sufi mystic named Shaikh ash-Shadhili who when traveling in Ethiopia observed goats of unusual vitality, and upon trying the berries that the goats had been eating, experienced the same effect.
A similar myth ascribes the discovery to an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi. Qahwa originally referred to a type of wine, and need not be the name of the Kaffa region. Consumption of coffee was outlawed in Mecca in 1511 and in Cairo in 1532, but in the face of its immense popularity, the decree was later reverted.
In 1554, the first coffeehouse in Istanbul opened. Largely through the efforts of the British and Dutch East India companies coffee became available in Europe in the 16th century, at the latest from Leonhard Rauwolf’s 1583 account, with first coffeehouses opening in the mid 17th century: in Cornhill, London in 1652, in Boston in 1670, and in Paris in 1671. By 1675, there were more than 3,000 coffeehouses in England. Women were not allowed in coffeehouses, and in London, 1674 anonymous “Women’s Petition Against Coffee” complained that:
“The Excessive Use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE has Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age”.
Legend has it that the first coffeehouse opened in Vienna in 1683 after the Battle of Vienna, taking its supplies from the spoils left behind by the defeated Turks. Another more credible story is that the first coffee houses were opened in Krakow in the 16th or 17th century because of closer trade ties with the East, most notably the Turks. The first coffee plantation in the New World was established in Brazil, in 1727, and this country, like most others cultivating coffee as a commercial commodity, relied heavily on slave labor from Africa for its viability. The success of coffee in 17th century Europe was paralleled with the spread of the habit of tobacco smoking all over the continent during the course of the Thirty Years War (1618-48).
The motherplant for much of the arabica coffee in the world is kept in the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus.
The word cafe is ironically not so much used for places where coffee is served. In English it refers mostly to places to have quick meal (usually with a cup of coffee, though). In Dutch the word refers to a bar and is thus more associated with alcohol-consumption. Also, in the Netherlands, the word coffeeshop is used for places where marijuana is sold (the reason being that one needs fewer permits for a coffeeshop). This usage of the word has also spread to other languages.
Source [ Wikipedia ]