The History of Coffee


Coffee is key to many people’s lives. A lot of people drink it in the morning and can’t seem to live without their morning or night coffee. But have you ever wondered where the popular drink came from?

It all started in forests on the Ethiopian Plateau. The legend goes that a goat herder named Kaldi was the first to discover coffee beans when his goats ate them and became so energic that they didn’t want to sleep at night. Kaldi reported this discovery to the abbot of the local monastery who then made a drink with the beans and discovered that it kept him awake and alert during hours of prayer. He shared this discovery with the other monks at the monastery and the knowledge of the energy-filled bean spread.

The world then started to move east and coffee came to the Arabian Peninsula. It started to be grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century, it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. Coffee spread into homes but that wasn’t the only place where the bean was enjoyed. Coffee houses, (Qahveh Khaneh), which started to appear in cities. Patrons engaged in drinking coffee and had conversations, but that wasn’t all. They also listened to music, kept up to date with current news, played games, and shared knowledge. The coffee houses later would earn the name “Schools of the Wise.”

Coffee then came to Europe and gained rapid popularity. However, not all welcomed the drink. Some even called it “the bitter invention of Satan” out of fear. Despite the road in the bump though, coffee houses in Europe started to pop up and were at the time, local hot spots. They would even be called “penny universities” because for a penny you could get a cup of coffee and engage in conversation. Coffee soon replaced that common breakfast drinks, which were, funnily enough, beer and wine. Workers who drank coffee in the morning showed improve working quality and started the day energized.

In the mid-1600s, coffee came to New Amsterdam (Now known as New York). And while coffee houses did start to appear in the new world, tea was still the favored drink. That was until colonists revolted against the heavy tax on tea imposed by King George. After the revolt, also known as The Boston Tea Party, coffee took teas place as the favorite drink of the new world.

Now with coffee gaining huge popularity, the demand grew. Plantations around the world started popping up and soon enough, the Dutch got ahold of the bean in the later 17th century. They first tried to plant them in India, however, the attempt failed. And then they tried to plant on an island of Java, (what is now Indonesia), known as Batavia. The attempt was successful and the Dutch soon had an up and running coffee trade.

Coffee still grows in popularity to this day, evident by the thousands of coffee shops around the world.