Few people may be aware of this, but when you are tasting coffee, you are taking part to one of the most ancient traditions in the development of mankind. Coffee has a long history that spans across all corners of the world and that has been taken to a whole new meaning in today’s global society.
COFFEE ORIGINS – circa 500 to 800 A.D.
No one really knows how old the coffee plant itself is. However, some archaeological evidence shows that humans were eating its berries as far back in the past as a hundred thousand years ago.
Between 500 and 800 A.D. one legend says that Kaldi, a goat herder in Ethiopia, observed his herd become excited as they ate red berries, whose red outer shell contained green coffee beans, from a nearby tree. Trying the berries himself, he felt great energy and discovered the invigorating virtues of coffee cherries. Witnessing Kaldi’s experience, a monk plucked berries as a gift for his brothers: that night they felt an incredible connection with their divine spirits!
Around the same period, other Africans created the first energetic power bars using coffee and animal fat.
From Africa, coffee then crossed the Red Sea to what is now Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.
ESCAPE FROM ARABIA - circa 1000 to 1600 AD
Coffee as we know it today kicked off in Arabia, where roasted beans were first brewed around A.D. 1000. By the 13th century Muslims were drinking coffee religiously.
Arabs valued coffee so much that they made export beans infertile by parching or boiling them, and it is said that no coffee seed escaped Africa or Arabia until around 1600. The story tells of a native of India, Baba Budan, smuggling the precious seeds out of Arabia. He left Mecca with fertile seeds strapped to his belly and he planted them in the hills of Chikmagalur, in the Indian state of Karnataka. Baba’s beans bore fruit and initiated an agricultural expansion that would soon reach Europe’s colonies.
INTRODUCTION TO EUROPE AND TO CENTRAL – SOUTH AMERICA – circa 1615 to 1770 AD
A merchant of Venice introduced coffee in Europe in 1615. The Dutch were responsible for its introduction into colonial Java (now part of Indonesia) around 1696. As the coffee business boomed, the Dutch increased their production to adjacent islands and began giving coffee trees as a gift to aristocrats around Europe.
The French, Dutch and British introduced coffee in Central and South America. It was not an easy step: as reported by Gabriel de Clieu, a French naval officer who exported coffee to Martinique, his ship was threatened by pirates and by violent storm and when the ship was becalmed and drinking water rationed, De Clieu ensured the plant’s survival by giving it most of his precious water.
The first European coffeehouse opened in Venice in 1683, with the most famous, Caffè Florian in Piazza San Marco, opening in 1720—and still open for business today.
COFFEE BLOOMS IN BRAZIL - circa 1727 to 1800
Like the Dutch and the Arabians, French Guiana didn’t want to give away its precious coffee. Around 1727, the Brazilian Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Mello Palheta was sent to French Guiana on a double mission: officially, to resolve a border dispute between the French and the Dutch; unofficially, to steal coffee plants from the French. Using his charm and charisma, Palheta managed to smuggle the seeds into Brazil by seducing the governor's wife.
Brazil is now one the largest coffee producers on the planet: it is responsible for about one third of all coffee production.
COFFEE AS A GLOBAL PLEASURE
Nowadays, coffee is one of the most global beverages, part of most countries’ cultures and enjoyed in different ways throughout all the world. More than 500 billion cups are consumed worldwide each year. Coffee plants are grown in more than 50 countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2011 8.5 million tonnes of green coffee were grown, and the International Coffee Organization reports that 144 million coffee bags were produced in 2012.
Coffee could be made in several ways, since there are many available coffee makers, from French press or moka pot to capsule and pod machines. Gimoka Coffee UK guarantees the latest technologies to bring the best Nespresso® compatible pods, Lavazza® compatible capsules or ESE 44 paper coffee pods to your home.