A Brief Overview Of Coffee’s History

Coffee corresponds to 71 percent of caffeine consumption; next to it are soft drinks and tea respectively. It is also considered as the World’s most popular beverage. Some people prefer drinking it plain (black) while others desire cream and milk as complement. But it did not make its way there overnight. It had its own humble beginnings before reaching its position as the second largest traded commodity next to oil.

The coffee history traces back as early as the 9th century. It was attested because even Homer already told stories about a strange bitter and black beverage with influence to stimulation.

One of the stories behind the coffee history and its beginnings was from a herder in Caffa, Ethiopia where it was believed to have acquired its name. Kaldi (the herder) was just intending to sheep when he noticed that one of his sheep became very active after it ate the mysterious “red cherries”. He tried some for himself and became overactive as well. It was then known to where the coffee plant was born. From there it reached throughout nearby cities in Yemen and Egypt and further in Persia, North Africa and Turkey in the fifteenth century.

Coffee was not accepted instantly at first. It was even prohibited and banned by Mecca’s theological court for its unusual stimulating effect. It was also assumed by some Christian’s to be a devil’s drink. However its popularity eventually gave way to people to overturn their decisions. By late 1500’s, it was then transported and traded in Europe, thus introducing it to the Westerners but was popular not until the 1700’s because the Americans find it as a poor substitute for alcohol.

Due to growing popularity, traders can no longer cope up with consumer’s demand and very costly taxes imposed for shipment; they forced themselves to study its botanical aspect so they can further grow it themselves.

It was classified in the Rubiacee family and was given the scientific name of “Coffea” by Linnaeus. There are more than sixty species of coffee growing in subtropical areas but only few are commercialized. Only around ten kinds are cultivated and produced all over the world. There are two most important species grown today: Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta. Coffea Arabica is the older one, it taste less bitter than the second type. Coffea Robusta (canephora) on the other hand contains more caffeine, 40 – 50% more.

Coffee was and still is a growing industry, so a lot of entrepreneurs grabbed the opportunity, thus coffeehouses were born. The history of coffee shops began in 1475; it was the first record of coffee being served in public. It was situated in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in Turkey. Coffee was treated with high importance in Turkish history; women can even legally divorce their husband if he can’t provide enough coffee. The idea of using creams and sweeteners came around 1529 in Europe. From then, coffee shops continued to expand offering a wide variety of choices including pastries and cakes which further opened up the history of coffee cake for consumers and the like.

Brazil still reigns in terms of production throughout the coffee history, it being the largest nation exporting coffee. But some farmers in the Third World countries are doing their best to cope up with the industry, especially Vietnam which provided large quantities of Robusta beans in a lower price.

The history of coffee took its course through time. We know for a fact that it has disadvantages as well. Coffee is indeed a mild stimulant; it is most of the time consumed in the morning to help one jumpstart his day and reduce the aftereffects of sleeping.
There are more to it than its botanical content. It plays a major role in social lives today.