It’s a Monday morning and you’re sipping on your coffee thinking of all the things you’ve got to do today. Work, but first coffee, though. But have you ever wondered to whom we owe the discovery of coffee? How has coffee become such an important part of our lives? Well, the history of coffee is ….complicated. From death-defying moments to intrigues and romance, coffee has always made our hearts pound and our energy levels go way higher than we’d ever thought. Coffee is not just a dream, it is much more than that and has enticed the minds of humanity ever since its discovery. But to start with that zero moment…
Who discovered coffee?
An Ethiopian cattlemen discovered coffee around 850 when he noticed his goat sporting a very energetic mood after she had chewed on some red berries. Hence, the coffee berry! Kaldi, the Ethiopian, tried the berries himself and said to his goats: “These berries are heaven-sent”. Well, we don’t know the exact words, but it must have been something like that. Before long, Kaldi told his family and friends about the miracle trees and the word swiftly got out. However, please note that this is more a legend than history; still, some truth might be in it, right?
Some two centuries later, the Arab traders bring coffee from Ethiopia to their homeland. They cultivate the plant at their homes and create something resembling today’s drink, by boiling the beans in water.
Brief History of Coffee & Facts
In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks introduced coffee to the rest of the world
It might sound like a bold statement, but this is mostly the truth. During the reign of Suleiman I, coffee penetrated through the Ottoman Turks society and swiftly became a favorite of the courtesans and the richest. They’ve added clove, cardamom, cinnamon or anise for a richer taste. If you ever visit Istanbul, you can still order this sort of coffee and you’ll be amazed by the incredibly strong taste.
Around 1475, the first coffee shops open in Constantinople. They swiftly become places where people meet and have lively discussions about everything, from politics to love and philosophy. Story has it that coffee became so important for the Turkish, that they’d created a law that made it legal for any wife to divorce her husband if he could not provide her with her daily coffee.
Coffee is banned and riots start
Coffee has quickly gained popularity and made it all the way to Mecca. However, around 1511 the Governor Khayr Bey bans coffee because he thought it was a powerful fuel that would trigger political discussions and debates against his rule. His law hits hard in the Constantinople coffee shops as well and the retaliations do not cease to appear.
The public riots were stopped by the Sultan of Cairo’s intervention. He declared coffee sacred and gave order so that the Governor who dared to outlaw coffee be executed. So, the lesson is simple: never mess with somebody else’s coffee for you might lose your own head. Well, leaving jokes aside, coffee became a really important drink and also became a meaningful social occasion and we can say nothing has changed ever since.
1570 – 1600s: Coffee arrives in Venice and India
Around 1570, coffee arrives in Venice and, at first, it was available only to the very wealthy. This happened because Arabia and Muslim Africa were holding the monopoly on the world coffee production and had harsh laws forbidding the export of fertile beans. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop an Asian Indian priest named Baba Budan to sneak out some fertile coffee beans and secretly cultivate them in India. He is nowadays known as the man who introduced India to coffee.
Coffee arrives at the newly-discovered Americas and Britain
Around 1607, the British world adventurer, Captain John Smith brings coffee to the newly discovered America and names the drink “coffa” in his “Travels and Adventure” book. Around 1637, a Greek student from Oxford first brews the very first cup of coffee in England. Instantly coffee was welcomed by the British with opened hands as well and following other centuries full of stories and adventures, coffee became our must-have morning energy drink that we almost cannot live without these days. What a story!