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The History Of Coffee

Since the Boston Tea Party, Americans have been crazy for coffee, choosing it as their caffeine fix. But obviously that’s not the origin of java. Naturally, the history of coffee goes back much earlier.

A video clip that goes back to the first cup of coffee brewed and sipped, and after that it tracks the expansion of coffee around the world. We all read the Ethiopian tale which claims the goat herder Kaldi discovered the power of the coffee beans. But what happened afterwards?

So get out your Chemex, grind some beans, boil some water, and sit down to watch this history of coffee with a cup of your own.

Full story - the history of coffee

According to the legend, the invigorating effects of the coffee bean were first uncovered by a goat herdsman called Kaldi, that lived on the Ethiopian plateau throughout the 9th century.

Kaldi observed that after some of his heard had grazed on the cherry of the coffee plant they appeared to have boundless energy, definitely more than the rest of his animals. As the story goes, this left them as well stimulated to fall asleep in the evening, as their bundles of energy had them bounding everywhere.

A brief background

After Kaldi saw how " energetic" his goats became after eating the coffee berries, he went to the regional monastery to let the monks know. A monk created a brew from the berries and managed to keep up much later praying.

News of this new brew spread into Egypt and right into the Arabian peninsula, where coffee traveled east and west, finally getting in southeast Asia and the Americas. And it's been prominent ever since.

But if we are to consider facts only, and not legends, the earliest corroborated proof of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree is from the early 15th century, in the Sufi abbeys of Yemen, spreading quickly to Mecca and Medina. By the 16th century, it had gotten to the rest of the Middle East, South India (Karnataka), Persia, Turkey, the Horn of Africa, and northern Africa. Coffee after that infected the Balkans, Italy, and to the rest of Europe, along with Southeast Asia and regardless of the restrictions enforced throughout the 15th century by religious leaders in Capital and Cairo, and later on by the Catholic Church.


It turns out the word "coffee" originate from Arabic. The word entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch koffie, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah.

There is an even more interesting theory of the origin of the word, which you can read on Wikipedia here.

Modern Coffee Background

The modern times race for comfort and efficiency recognized that individuals are "wasting" too much time making coffee. This is how instant coffee was created. David Strang, a New Zealander created it in 1889. Freeze-dried coffee was created in 1938.

Decaffeinated coffee was created by Ludwig Roselius in 1903, filling a need for people that are sensitive to high levels of caffeine.

The coffee filter, the basis of one of the most popular coffee developing approach, the drip coffee, was created by Melitta Bentz in 1908.

Achille Gaggia developed the contemporary coffee maker in 1946. The very first pump-driven coffee equipment was made in 1960.

Today coffee is still one of the world's most common drinks. Brazil is still the world's biggest producer of coffee.