A Brief History of Coffee

Coffee is so ubiquitous and easily accessible that we rarely stop to think about where coffee comes from or how it came to be. Coffee has a history that is almost as rich as its flavor! Its origin spans several centuries and continents. It all starts with a legend from Ethiopia…

Ethiopia, 9th Century

A goat-herder named Kaldi is said to have first discovered coffee beans. The legend goes that he noticed his goats eating berries from a certain tree. The goats became so energetic that they couldn’t fall asleep. He then shared this discovery with the others at the monastery, who then turned the beans into a drink. The knowledge of this drink then spread, moving across the world until it reached…

The Arabian Peninsula, 15th Century

The coffee trade hit its full swing in the Arabian Peninsula, starting out in what is now commonly known as Yemen then moving through countries such as Egypt, Serbia and Turkey. Coffee became so popular that they started the first coffee houses, known as qahveh khaneh. Unlike today’s coffee houses, which are commonly filled with cramming students and working professionals, these coffee centers were places for watching performers, listening to music and playing chess. These coffee houses were even seen as information centers! This coffee then spread from Mecca and moved into….

Europe, 17th Century

European travellers brought back this drink to their homes. Initially, it was met with suspicion, with the Church labelling it as the “bitter invention of Satan.” Pope Clement VIII, however, was of a different opinion and loved it, thus opening up the drink to the Christian world. Coffee then became the common morning drink and coffee houses started to appear. London alone had over 300 coffee shops! The English brought this drink with them when they went to….

The United States, 18th Century

Initially, the colonists favored tea. With the Crown’s imposition of heavy taxes on tea (which lead to the Boston Tea Party!), America’s preference shifted and coffee became its favorite drink.

From there, coffee evolved, taking several different shapes and forms. Now, it has taken on a new and solid form, a square of Pocket Latte!

Thanks to Yaakov for the idea and to  https://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/history-of-coffee for the information!