Lists and Curiosities

Coffee: the story of this grain that saves us on those days

If you need a break, take a coffee. If you want to know its history, you will enjoy reading this article about this famous drink!


If there is one drink that many people can rely on when they need that boost in their energy, it is coffee.

This drink is so important in our history that some historians claim it as one of the most important drinks of all time.

Let’s take a look at the story of this amazing beverage.

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Where the word comes from?

By way of the Dutch word koffie, which was itself a loan from the Ottoman Turkish word kahve, which was itself a loan from the Arabic word qahwah, the word coffee made its way into the English language in 1582.

Arabic lexicographers claim that the verb qahiya, which means “to lack hunger,” is where the name qahwah comes from.

This claim is in reference to the beverage’s well-known reputation for suppressing appetite. Coffee pot and coffee break were first used in respective contexts in 1705 and 1952.

The legend of Coffee

The history of coffee cultivation dates back many millennia to the old coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

Folklore has it that Kaldi, a goat herder, was the one who first discovered the precious beans there.

Legend has it that Kaldi discovered coffee after seeing that his goats would not sleep at night because they were so stimulated after eating the berries from a certain tree.

The local monastery’s abbot used the berries to create a beverage after receiving Kaldi’s findings.

It kept him awake during the many hours of evening prayer, he found. The abbot told the other monks at the monastery about his finding, and they later learned about the reviving berries.

The trip around the world

The trading and cultivation of coffee began on the Arabian Peninsula. By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in Yemen, and by the sixteenth century, Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey were all familiar with it.

In addition to being drunk in households, coffee was also enjoyed in the numerous qahveh khaneh, or public coffee houses, that began to appear in cities throughout the Near East.

Because of their unparalleled popularity, people frequented coffee shops for all kinds of social contact.

An unholy drink

Travelers from Europe to the Near East returned with tales of a unique dark, black liquor. Coffee arrived in Europe in the 17th century and spread to other parts of the continent.

When coffee arrived in Venice in 1615, the local clergy opposed it, and some people reacted to this new beverage with distrust or horror, calling it the “bitter invention of Satan.”

Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene when the situation got out of hand. He made the decision to try the beverage for himself before passing judgment. He gave the drink his mark of approval because it was so satisfying.

Despite this debate, coffee shops in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland were swiftly evolving into hubs of social interaction and communication.

In England, establishments known as “penny universities” arose because a cup of coffee and enlightening discourse could be had for just one penny.

Beer and wine, which were popular at the period as breakfast drinks, started to be replaced by coffee.

The quality of their work was significantly higher because those who drank coffee instead of alcohol were more awake and enthusiastic when the day started.

Over 300 coffee shops existed in London by the middle of the 17th century, and many of them drew customers who shared their interests, such as businessmen, shippers, brokers, and artists.

These specialty coffee shops gave rise to a large number of businesses.

For instance, the Edward Lloyd Coffee House was the birthplace of Lloyd’s of London.

Getting into America

Coffee arrived in New Amsterdam, which the British eventually renamed New York, around the middle of the 1600s.

Although coffee cafes quickly appeared, tea remained the preferred beverage in the New World until the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when colonists revolted against a hefty tax on tea imposed by King George III, which permanently changed American drinking preferences to coffee.

The beginning of cultivation around the world

The demand for coffee outside of Arabia increased the level of competition in the market.

The Dutch at last got seedlings in the second half of the 17th century. When they first tried to plant them in India, they were unsuccessful, but they were successful in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.

The plants thrived, and the Dutch soon had a prosperous and growing coffee trade.

The cultivation of coffee trees was then extended to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.

Recent days

Many people, including historian Mark Pendergrast, have wrongly referred to coffee as the world’s “second most legally traded commodity” going back to the 1970s.

In contrast, from 1970 to about 2000, “coffee was the second most valuable commodity exported by emerging countries.”

With such vast history and importance, coffee is still one of the most popular beverages in the world and shows no signs of stopping it.

After all, with the craziness of the world, we may need an extra dose of attention.

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