Today on our blog we’d thought we’d give a brief overview of the history of coffee beans, coffee houses and how it all got started. Settle in for a quick and light read with one of your favorite cups of gourmet coffee!
The Start of Coffee Bean History and Trade
The story of coffee begins in the Horn of Africa, where according to Ethiopian folklore, coffee trees originated on the high slopes in the province of Kaffa. There are recordings of slaves taken from modern day Sudan into Yemen through the great port of its day, Mocha where the population embraced the fruit.
By the 15th century Yemen coffee held a monopoly on the popular bean by imposing a ban on any export of fertile coffee beans. Rumor has it that Marco Polo stopped in Yemen for food supplies and discovered the drink, bringing beans back to Venice in the early1300’s. It was not until the Dutch circumvented the Arabian monopoly problem in the early 1600’s by sourcing out and growing their own live plants in greenhouses in the Netherlands that the Arabian stranglehold was broken.
Interested in gourmet coffee from where coffee beans were first discovered? Try our Ethiopian coffee beans!
The History of Coffee Houses
To explore coffee house history we must go back to some of the very first coffeehouses in Kaveh Kanes, which opened in Mecca as a place where social and business life came together in perfect harmony. Early coffeehouses were thriving centers of chess tournaments, gossip exchange, singing, dancing and all forms of music. For the price of a cup of coffee, anyone could find enjoyment and business advancement. Nothing had existed like the coffee house ambience before.
Perhaps because of the ease of access and their popularity, the Arabian coffeehouse soon became the centre of political activity and the governing bodies tried to suppress them…but they kept reappearing. Even with a tax on the beans and coffeehouses, the government did not manage to snuff out the popular drink and venue. The coffeehouse has endured to this day. When was the last time you had a business meeting or met a few friends to catch up at a local coffee house?
The History of Coffee in America (when coffee goes Global!)
In the 1500 and 1600s, Europeans were introduced to three significant new hot beverages:
- Coffee was first recorded in Venetian trade records in 1615.
- Tea first sold in 1610.
- Chocolate arriving in 1528.
The first European coffee house opened in Venice in 1683. The Caffe Florian, still open for business today, opened in 1720. Did you know that the largest insurance market in the world, Lloyd’s of London, began as a coffeehouse in 1688.
In North America the first reference to coffee houses is from 1668. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was planned in the Green Dragon coffee house, and both the New York Stock exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffee houses at what is today known as Wall Street.
By the late 1600’s the Dutch had established plantations at Malabar in India and in 1699 took plants to Batavia in Java (now Indonesia) Within the next few years the Dutch colonies became the main suppliers of coffee to Europe. The colonists also established the thriving plantations of Central and South America, first arriving at Surinam in 1718. The British brought it to Jamaica in 1730, where the most famous and expensive coffee in the world is grown in the Blue Mountains.
The History of Coffee Production
Coffee has seen highs and lows in global trading, but now has production and growth worldwide. Many countries have become dependent on the export revenue of this popular drink and it is traded as a prime commodity on major futures and exchanges in London and New York.
Coffee. Its cultivation, processing, trading, transportation and marketing provide employment for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It is rich in the heritage of many cultures – Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia, and most recent in its remarkable history is the birth of the North American “Cupping Party” born in Seattle in the early 1970’s.
Discovery of Coffee Nuance through Cupping
Cupping is to coffee as tasting is to wine. Coffee lovers have been introduced to the science of understanding the nuances of growing regions, bean preparation and roasting, grind and brewing on the flavour and texture of this enduring beverage for the people and the kings.
Once you have discovered the world through coffee shipped direct from the people who grow and harvest the crop, there is no going back to cheap big box brands. Through direct shipment from Fair Trade processors, you enjoy helping the local cultures, plus enjoy the benefits of exquisite flavour and economic benefit for the regions.
Travel the world with many of our best-selling origin coffees beans today! Whether served hot first thing in the morning, over ice as an afternoon pick me up as these Spring days keep getting warmer or as Decaf late into the evening, it’s always the right time to enjoy a cup of joe!