Sitting by the window, set amidst a cozy atmosphere, the fresh aroma of coffee stirred some thoughts in my mind. A group of boisterous teens nearby created quite a ruckus and I wondered if it was the result of perhaps, having too much coffee?
Hot and steamy or cold and frothy, I noticed, different people like their coffee’s served in various ways. This led me to think and ponder whether anyone has really wondered what went behind this alluring cup of coffee whilst they sipped the enticing brew?
The appeal of coffee has spanned over various continents but when I really discovered the origins of coffee is as rich as the brew itself, it really propelled me to share some of these fascinating stories with you.
History of Coffee:
There are lots of myths and legends when it comes to the history of coffee. Many thought the cup of coffee to be very mysterious and this stimulating coffee found itself shrouded in mystery in the earlier days. One of the most popular legends is associated with a goatherd named Kaldi. One day, when Kaldi was with his herd of goats he noticed a sudden change in their behavior. The goats turned spirited and that was made Kaldi hunt for the probable reason. That was the time he viewed a wild coffee shrub and it dawned on him that his goats probably had eaten some cherries off this shrub. Curious, it led him to have a taste of the wild cherries himself. Upon feeling energized, he spread the story of these wild cherries in his village. From the local monastery, the tale spread between the monks and even the locals.
The monks found it very useful as it helped them to stay awake for their ceremonies that went through the night. The Arabs were considered to be the first to cultivate coffee. They even began the trade. The first coffee plants are said to have come from the shores of the Red Sea. Coffee beans were actually considered to be a food in the olden days. The cherries were minced together and then mixed into the rest of the food. It was only in the 11th century that coffee first saw itself being developed into a hot drink.
The Venetian merchants imported coffee to Europe and by the 17th century, coffee had made its way not only to Europe, but was gaining popularity across the continent. Initially condemned due to religious reasons, one saw major controversies erupt around this dark beverage. Despite the facts that surrounded it, the mid 17th century saw a number of coffee houses cropping up all over the town. A lot of people gathered here to discuss business and to gossip in general.
The Arabs though were very possessive about the growing popularity of coffee and its spread around the world. The beans were dispatched from the Yemen province of Arabia and were kept a highly guarded secret. It was later thought, that it was either the Dutch or a group of Pilgrims who finally tried to smuggle the plants to India. After a few attempts, coffee finally took root in India. The cultivation then expanded to the islands of Java and Sumatra.
The Dutch brought coffee to France in 1715. Louis XIV of France was presented with a coffee plant and it was then planted in the Royal Botanical Garden. Also known as the Noble Tree, it had the French really hooked on to coffee and the crops really flourished with the plantation of the Noble Tree.
This tree saw itself have roots in various other parts of the world. Francisco de Mello Palheta is known to have brought the coffee into Brazil. He was sent to obtain coffee beans from the French Guinea. The French were known to guard this fiercely and Francisco de Mello Palheta would have actually been unsuccessful, had he not to have a very appealing personality. This resulted in the Governor’s wife presenting him with a huge bouquet of flowers. It was only much later; he made the discovery of the coffee seeds buried deep inside it!
The history of coffee has seen so many travelers, pilgrims and traders go on long voyages carrying these precious coffee seeds all over the world. New plantations meant more business and slowly, coffee plantations and its export, turned into a very profitable industry from the olden days till date.
Many innovations that go into the making of this beverage have seen the coffee really metamorphose over time. So the next time you sip your perfectly blended cup of coffee in a very swanky coffee shop, I hope this captivating history of coffee would linger on in your minds, for a long time to come.