A Brief History of Coffee
Worldwide coffee consumption is at an all-high and is expected to soon surpass the milestone of 9 billion kilos of coffee per year.
But how did coffee get to this stage of mega, global popularity? What are the origins of coffee?
Many people love coffee, but not many people know where it originated from and where it travelled to get here today.
So let’s take a look at where the joy of coffee began throughout history and its journey to this present day.
Where the joy began
Because coffee was discovered such a long time ago, there are less surviving documentations of its use than is desired, and there have been many legends and reports about its discovery.
However, it is widely believed that coffee goes back to at least the 10th century and was first consumed in Ethiopia.
The earliest substantiated accounts of coffee consumption and coffee tree knowledge is known to be approximately 600 years later in 15th century Yemen. This is where sustained coffee production first began.
“We are indebted”
Originally viewed as far more of a commodity than as a universally loveable beverage, coffee’s delicious taste and warming sensations eventually started to spread throughout the Middle East – eventually finding its way first to Italy and as a result, the rest of Europe.
The word "coffee" became an English word for the first time in 1582, which is a progressive form of the Dutch word koffie. In turn, this word was derived from the Turkish kahve, which itself was derived from the Arabic qahwah (قهوة).
In the 16th century, coffee came to Britain. During the enlightenment period, coffee houses in Britain were referred to as ‘penny universities’. With only one penny, a person could buy a cup of coffee and partake in intellectually stimulating conversations.
France were overjoyed with the pleasures that coffee brought them, as Antoine Galland (1664-1715) exclaimed “We are indebted to these great [Arabian] physicians for introducing coffee to the modern world through their writings, as well as sugar, tea, and chocolate.”
We certainly can’t blame him for his appreciation of those other items, either!
The large and late producer
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee, yet it was actually only discovered when when Portuguese sailor de Mello Palheta brought coffee saplings from French Guyana to the Brazilian shores as late as 1727.
Not only that, but cultivation did not even begin to gather momentum until Brazil gained independence in 1822. Just three years after its introduction to Brazil, Britain had already begun cultivating coffee in Jamaica.
However, by 1852, Brazil established itself as the coffee cultivating kingpin that it is known as today and it has held the number one coffee producing position ever since. This is largely because it cleared tracts of rainforest in Rio and Sao Paolo for coffee production, which has significantly boosted their economy growth.
Brazil dominates world production and once exported more volumes of coffee than the rest of the world combined for a hundred years between 1850 1950.
Find out how Brazilian coffee tastes with our piece of on coffee tastes from around the world.
Proof of popularity through pop culture
So through many, many years of tried and tested formulas, exportation and integration into societies and culture around the world, coffee eventually became the most popular beverage in the world – and rightly so.
Coffee has become such an integral part of people’s lives, and this is no better demonstrated than through the personal endorsements of coffee provided by celebrities and respected figures that are recognisable to the majority of people in our society today.
We’ve selected some amazing and inspirational coffee quotes from well-known and loved figures from the entertainment industry:
“I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee.” – Clark Gable
“To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions.” – Hugh Jackman
“Coffee is a language in itself.” – Jackie Chan
“I like cappuccino, actually. But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.” – David Lynch
“Like most of the world’s population I’m into coffee, but in a properly big and important way. My perfect weekend would start with a pint of coffee.” – Jimmy Carr
“Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.” – Johann Sebastian Bach
“I eat really well and I work out, but I also indulge when I want to. I don’t starve myself in an extremist way. You’re not taking away my coffee or my dairy or my glass of wine because I’d be devastated.” – Jennifer Aniston
“I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can't go back. You cannot go back.” – Hugh Laurie
The journey of coffee doesn’t end
If you’d like to find out more, have a read of our other researched articles about coffee here. Otherwise, have a browse at your local library for coffee literature; there are many fascinating pieces of coffee history out there that there wasn’t room to discuss in this article.
Coffee is incredible both to learn about and to drink, and although a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all (David Lynch), we recommend finding out what all the fuss about proper coffee is (Hugh Laurie), by taking a look at our range of our espresso machines and purchasing one of your choice to help you create coffee how it’s supposed to be; in its best, pure, and most satisfying form.
You cannot go back once you’ve shopped with Coffee Hit!