A Brief Origin of Coffee

images (1)The earliest origins of coffee are from Ethiopia. There is not an exact history about how people started roasting and drinking “coffee” only legends and myths. However, it was originally viewed as a food. The Ethiopians chewed the plant for it’s obvious stimulant properties, and also ate the fruit raw (the pulp is sweet and caffeinated.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They also pounded coffee cherries and mixed it with animal fat to mold into pellets. There are records that show the cherries were also used to make wine.

artists_thumbnailThe earliest use of coffee as a hot beverage entailed roasting the entire hull over an open fire and then mixing with boiling water for 30 minutes until a yellowish liquid came through.

9The drink stayed a green drink until aprx. the 13 century when they began to first dry the beans. With more  experimentation, the process was adapted further, and the practice of roasting formed.

22adf105-ebf0-4ca9-a446-e7a2789166dc Once coffee became the dried, roasted, and brewed drink we know it as today, it was mainly used for “medicinal” purposes and in religious practices. However, once it became increasingly popular, and a demand grew, the original coffee houses started opening.
Coffee-House1Persian cities became known for having stylish and elaborate coffee houses. They were reputed for serving coffee quickly and efficiently. They became famous social spots, where people gathered not just for coffee but also music, talking, and even dancing.

Turkish-CoffeeGradually the coffee house trend made its way to Turkey. The Turkish however drank just as much coffee in home as at coffee houses. This increased popularity and demand. By the 1600’s news spread and export and trade began throughout the Middle East; supplying Venetians and Europeans with beans.
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Eventually the coffee tree made its ways to the East Indian Dutch colony of Java. From there plantations started sprouting in neighboring colonies; Sumatra, Timor, Bali, and Celebes.

ExploreWithEd_FoodThrough the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.

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The coffee economy was therefor set in motion and began to adapt and increase  more and more, as it is still increasing even today.

A beverage as black as ink,
useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. It’s consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.

— Léonard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German)

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67 thoughts on “A Brief Origin of Coffee

  1. Pingback: A Brief Origin of Coffee – worldtraveller70

  2. Edward Lloyd of London, owned a coffee house in 1688 on Tower Street. His coffee house was used as a meeting place for ship owners and the like, to discuss shipping and insure cargo, So began Lloyd’s of London, all over a cup of coffee.

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  3. Pingback: A Brief Origin of Coffee - 4 My Dollar

  4. A footnote: The reason coffee is so much more popular in this country than tea is that just prior to the Revolution,. when things between the Colonies and England were tense, there was a ban on tea and coffee became the drink of choice. It still is! Fun facts.Thanks, Abbie.

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  5. Hi Abbie, I am a bit of a history nut (pretty much any history) and always interested in learning new things. My father traveled the world for his job and learned to love and appreciate tea. So, in the evenings my family drank tea and while I always loved the different types and flavors, and I still drink it. Coffee wasn’t an acquired taste until I started working as a social work home visitor. People were always offering me coffee, so I drank it to be polite. It is probably almost amazing I did acquire the taste given how awful some of the stuff I drank was! Of course, now I have my favorites in various incarnations. My daughter has tried to teach me the nuances of beans and levels of roasting, the different between strongly flavored and burnt beans…not sure I get them all, but I do know what I like! Thanks for the information…time to go get my third cup. Joanne

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  6. Every day’s a school day 🙂
    I’m currently reading a book set in the late 1800s in Iceland and I was surprised to read about the poorer Icelander’s asking each other if they had any coffee left. Apparently I had no idea we had it in Europe so early. This piece puts that into better perspective, so thank you 🙂

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  7. i was only recently asking this question without looking for an answer…those happy times where wikipee and poogle are decayed and not a coffee bean farmer in sight…..how serendipity is lovely brewed

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  9. Pingback: A to Z Doobsters (formerly of Mindful Digressions) – In the Zone

  10. What would we do without coffee? 🙂 Funny thing about your post: I finished high school in Ethiopia, and I just now realize that coffee was not a big deal back there and then. Strange.
    What would your favourite coffee be? At home, we have colombian. Mainly Quindío.

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  11. My friend and I used to refer to our afternoon coffee at the office as ‘the precious.’ Great history of the bean. I’d also love to read a history of coffee through the 20th century. I bet all of the new marketing and commercialization would make it an interesting read. As well and new ways to brew…like the aeropress, chemex, etc.

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    • It has definitely never slowed down economically, there are always new things being invented and new ways to enjoy the wonderful bean being explored. Enthusiast always have something new to learn, it’s all so very interesting. 🙂

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      • Agreed and I’m sure there will be new methods to make our most advanced methods out of date. So a related question: what temp of water do you brew at? I’ve been doing 175 degrees F, which is what the aeropress manual recommended but I got on a thread yesterday and the author suggested 195-205. I tried that temp out today and…the results were better than the 175.

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      • For the Aeropress, I haven’t tested it out a whole lot yet. I’ve had it at between aprx. 190-200 and it’s been good. I may try going to 205 and see if it makes a difference. I prefer to go as hot as possible without the risk of ruining the flavor.

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      • Lol sorry I hit send before I finished :/ …I meant to say I like to go a little lower on the French press. 190 or even a little below that seems best for me. I’ve gone just sub-boil into the press and I’ve burned it a little. Hey we always want to be on quality control when it comes to temperature management 🙂

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