History of Coffee

The almost universal morning beverage seems so much a part of our lives that it is amazing to realize that the history of coffee is a relatively short one; only 300 years in the Western world! It might be hard to imagine that there was life before Starbucks and dashing off to work, latte in hand, but the history of coffee shows that this ubiquitous beverage did indeed have specific origins.

The first mention of java in the history of coffee begin in 800 BCE when mention is made of the dark, stimulating substance by Homer. Coffee appears in classic Arabic legends, and there are stories of Yemenite shepherds, who, after noticed that after their goats partook of a certain red berry, they became significantly more jumpy! The history of coffee begins in Ethiopia, where coffee originates, and the region still produces among the finest coffee beans in the world. Arabic traders brought coffee bean to all four corners of the world, and the rise of the Ottoman Empire was a high point in the history of coffee.

As the history of coffee progressed, Europeans were looking for cheaper routes and places to grow the coffee bean. At that time, most of the coffee came to Western Europe through specific ports that charged a heavy tax. The French, English and Dutch began to colonize South America, partly out of a desire to make their own mark in the history of coffee and to avoid paying high prices.

Brazil became the chief exporter of coffee in the Americas, and the region forever changed the history of coffee. The beverage continued to grow in popularity, particularly in the 18th century, when the Enlightenment brought the café society, and prominent intellectuals would sit in cafes and discuss the issues of the day over endless cups of coffee. There was a monograph describing the health benefits of coffee, and in the 18th century, it was considered as a “cure all” the way green tea is thought of today. There would be backlashes and critics who would claim that coffee was unhealthy, and it seems that, since the history of coffee began, there have been extravagant claims of its benefits and drawbacks.

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