Let’s put off the wine tasting for the evening or the weekend. And now, in order to effectively finish this working day, we may need some coffee. Although if you have already tried a wine and food pairing during your lunch or dinner, then coffee also does not hurt. So let’s talk about the history of the spread of coffee plant and drink in the world.
The birthplace of coffee
The birthplace of coffee is Ethiopia. A plant called Coffea Arabica has been used since time immemorial. Nevertheless, coffee was not used in the form, which this drink is familiar to us. Ethiopian locals made a paste by mixing coffee beans ground into powder and butter. This dish had both high calorie content and was a stimulating substance.
Arabica and Yemen coffee export monopoly
Coffee came to Yemen in the 6th century. Since on the other side of the Red Sea there were almost identical climatic conditions, as in Ethiopia, the plant quickly took root on the Arabian Peninsula. It was in Yemen that coffee appeared that we are familiar with today. The drink spread across the Arabian Peninsula from Moka, the city of Yemen, the oldest port specializing in the export of coffee. This city also gave its name to one of the varieties of arabica, as well as a geyser coffee maker.
In the 16th century, the Turks discovered coffee, conquering Egypt. Taking coffee beans with them back home, coffee spreads extremely quickly throughout the Ottoman Empire. Many coffee houses open in Istanbul in the middle of the 16th century.
Spread of coffee in Europe
Later, Europe got hooked on coffee. It was imported from Yemen. Demand grew, so did prices. Then in the middle of the 17th century the Dutch stole a coffee plant and planted it in their colony in Ceylon. From there, coffee hit Java, another Dutch colony. So Java becomes another coffee exporter.
At the same time, an Indian Muslim pilgrim brought several coffee beans to India from Mecca. So coffee plantations appeared in India.
In 1714, a burgomaster from Amsterdam offered coffee to the French king Louis XIV. The King ordered to plant coffee plantations in the West Indies. On the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, which at that time was called Bourbon, a variety of coffee Bourbon is cultivated. The island becomes the main supplier of coffee to France.
Coffee from South America and Robusta from West Africa
Interestingly, South America, which is now the leader in the cultivation of coffee, started to grow it much later. West Africa, where Robusta is grown, also joined coffee-growing countries only at the end of the 19th century.