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Who Invented Coffee? – Coffee History Explained

when did people start drinking coffee

As you know, coffee has a long and very rich history, from the first time it was discovered to the present time.

The coffee and the plant that produces it, the coffee tree, originated in Africa, but it was the Arabs who first extracted the coffee beans in this way. It is believed that they were the ones who introduced the custom of drinking coffee, motivated by Islam’s prohibition of drinking alcohol.

It is easy to get confused or enter a dilemma when we talk about the history of coffee and its origin, since ancient legends about the cultivation and the custom of drinking coffee come from the Arabs.

They are the first to extract the beans, roast them, grind them and mix them with hot water.

Coffee is the second legal product marketed in the world after petroleum.

It is the second most commercialized merchandise in the world after oil. About 1.4 billion cups of coffee are drunk daily; It is estimated that the number of people who live from its cultivation is close to 125 million, and about 100 million bags are produced per year.

Coffee is undoubtedly the most consumed drink in the world. However, behind this unique product hides an origin full of questions and a history riddled with prohibitions, coincidences, and threats.

So today we’ll be over questions such as who invented coffee, how was coffee discovered, when was coffee invented and where did coffee originate!

when did coffee come to america

What is the Origin of Coffee?

There are many stories related to the origin and discovery of coffee, some fictitious and others with certain traces of verisimilitude, without a doubt, all exciting.

According to historians, the history of coffee is found in the province of Kaffa (today, Ethiopia).
Over time, coffee has been viewed in different ways, from being a magical medicinal remedy to being a dark drink product of the devil and prohibited by that very reason.

Who Invented Coffee?

It is known that the best-known story regarding the origin of coffee was discovered in 300. it is an old man named Kaldi who lived in Ethiopia (Africa). Kaldi was a goat keeper who kept composing songs all day on his flute.

Every day. Before the sun went down, Kaldi played his flute in a particular way to call his goats. One day to his surprise, no goat listened to his call, and no matter how much he played and played his flute, the goats did not get to where he was.

Therefore, he went to look for them, while he was still playing his flute, tired of walking and playing, he finally found them. He was amazed at what he saw. his goats were running, bleating, jumping, and everyone was very excited.

After observing them, he realized that they were chewing on the leaves and fruits of a plant that he had never seen before. Kaldi also decided to try the fruits, and soon after he began to feel more energy, happiness, he began to dance and sing with his goats.

Kaldi, very ecstatic and expectant, took some of these fruits and branches to the religious superior of a nearby monastery, the monks upon receiving them, boiled the berries, and tasted the resulting infusion, discovering that with them, they could stay awake and energized.

They started using it as a stimulant, to maintain vitality or to stay awake at night to pray.

when did coffee become popular

Besides, by chance. ‘ also realized that these beans could be roasted and could make a drink that had the same effect and tasted more pleasant. “

One day two monks named Sciadli and Aydrus were collecting coffee when the rain caught up with them in the field. Upon arrival at the monastery, they left the harvested coffee beans drying near the stove while they went to pray.

When they returned, they found a delightful smell that invaded the entire room and the roasted coffee beans; We could say then, that this was the discovery of coffee roasting.

Thus, this drink was considered religious in its beginnings, later stimulating. It was also given to warriors to fight in battles, it even happened to be considered a somewhat magical drink with healing powers, and finally, this infusion became, in the social drink of the Arab world.

Eventually, this infusion became the social drink of the Arab world, and from there, it spread across the globe. So who first invented coffee, well Kaldi is thought to be the first.

Other Legends About The History Of Coffee – Where Did Coffee Originate?

There is also a fascinating and colorful legend from the 15th century that occurred in the port of Moka. At that time. Moka was the main port of the region. European merchants in the port watched slaves feed on red fruit.

Curious about this discovery, they investigated the fruit. They observed that not only nurtured these people but also endowed them with energy. That fruit came from the Kaffa region in Ethiopia, then Absinia.

Ethiopia was then under the influence of Yemen. During this century, coffee cultivation began in Yemen, and it was commercialized in Sudan and Egypt.

Due to the relevance that this fruit was beginning to have, the authorities took rigorous policies so that the fertile grain cannot be exported. In this way. They guaranteed that cultivation would not spread throughout the world.

At that time, leaves of the ‘Khat,” a specie of shrub in the Area, were consumed as a stimulant. Due to the harmful effects. Yemeni authorities encouraged coffee consumption to replace that leaf.

Another of the stories of the origin of coffee refers to the Yemeni and Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili. Who observed on a trip through Ethiopia the vitality of birds that ate from a bush and experienced the same sensation when trying those fruits.

This is according to the story of how coffee was first discovered; it is indeed very fascinating. But beyond these legendary stories, what does seem sure is that coffee was discovered around the 7th century in those same African regions.

brief history of coffee

Name’s Origin – How Was Coffee Discovered?

The coffee bush is native to Ethiopia in Africa. Its name originally comes from the Arabic qahhwat al-bun, which means grain wine. Many studies also claim that “coffee” comes from the Arabic term Qahwa. meaning “exciting.” “energetic.” “vigorous.”

In time, the word would have passed to Turkish Kaveh, which referred to the fruit of the coffee plant.

After that, it would have evolved into Italian (“Caffe”).

Expansion Around The World

Although there are no reliable documents on when it began to be consumed, what we do know is that it was not until the 15th century, when the first substantial evidence of its consumption appeared. If you think about it, the writing did not appear until the 4th century BC, and during those more than 2.000 years, no evidence of coffee consumption was recorded.

If you wondering in what region of the world did coffee first appear, well it is thought to be Ethiopia.

Expansion into Yemen begins – What Is The Birthplace of Coffee?

He went there in the 15th century, thanks to records of coffee commercialization between Ethiopia and the Sufist monasteries in Yemen. And whose expansion accelerated in the 16th century. It was then that he reached the rest of the population and the entire Islamic world.

In the city of Mecca, the first “Kaveh Kanes” “coffee houses” were opened, the principal place where coffee merchants came to exchange the grain for money or whatever else they needed.

Damascus and Syria opened their first coffee houses in the 1530s. But it was in 1554 that the first coffee house opened in Turkey. Where men gathered to talk, play board games, and have a strong coffee.

The Dutch were the first to remove coffee from the port of Mocha and introduce it to the rest of the world. His first harvest was in a place called Ceylon, better known today as Sri-Lanka.

how long has coffee been around

Coffee reaches Europe and Asia – When Did Coffee Become Popular?

The history of coffee begins in Ethiopia, but the protagonist of this history in Europe, which expanded it throughout the world from cultivation to consumption.

The next jump was to Europe, the early seventeenth century. Coffee arrived in Europe through Venice, where perfumes, tea. dyes, and fabrics were traded through the merchants on the Spice Route, as many European merchants got used to drinking it abroad and took it back to that city.

The history of coffee on the old continent begins in 1575. by a German botanist named Leonhard Rauwolf. Who mentioned it in one of his explorations to Africa.

Thanks to him, and to other European explorers, interest began to be generated. A few years later, at the beginning of the 17th century, the first records of coffee trade were found between the Republic of Venice and North Africa.

In the same century, its consumption reaches the great Asian continent through India. Dutch traders brought beans to grow coffee in Malabar, India.

There were regions of this country that commercialized with Yemen, and that is how it was introduced there. In 1699 they reached Batavia in Java (now Indonesia). And shortly after, he arrived in Japan and China.

The coffee bean that arrived in Europe at first came from the Yemeni port of Moka. But its cultivation soon spread through the American colonies, to supply the demand of the old continent.

where does coffee come from

The Coffee Ban

Coffee, at one point in history, came to be known as “the devil’s cup.”

The history of coffee would be very different from what is known if it were not because many religions and governors failed in their attempt to ban it.

By the time he arrived in Europe and around the world, not everyone was amazed, and not everyone accepted him with open arms.

For some, it only brought fear and suspicion; therefore, the consumption of coffee was prohibited by jurists in Mecca in 1511.

But why was coffee banned?

In 1511. the orthodox imams of Mecca banned coffee because the Islamic tradition condemns any type of poisoning. But in itself, the prohibition was due to the rumors that reached the emir Khair Bey from the “Kaveh Kanes.”

Khair Bey feared that the cafe would fuel opposition to his government by bringing the men together and allowing them to discuss their injustices. Coffee was declared sinful, and there was controversy over whether it was intoxicating for the next 13 years.

In Egypt, this ban caused citizen rebellions, and by the year 1630. there were thousands of coffee houses in the city of Cairo.

In 1524 the ban was lifted by order of the Turkish Sultan Selim I., who was unaware of this and was offended at not being consulted about this decision.

For many European Catholic priests, it was “Satan’s bitter invention.” Since according to them, it had the smell of Islam and seemed more like a substitute for the wine used in the Eucharist.

So it was also prohibited, but this time there was much consternation by the people, and Pope Clement VIII had to intervene.

It is said that the Pope tasted coffee and decreed that it was a Christian and Muslim drink. Testing it. He stated the following: ’This devil’s drink is so delicious … we should fool the devil by baptizing it!”

His response was very ingenious, and he once again allowed the coffee to continue to delight with its flavor and aroma.

What Was The First Cafeteria In The World?

Kiva Han was the world’s first coffee house and opened in 1475 in Constantinople, now Istanbul. Over time many more were created, but these coffee houses were exclusive and only admitted diplomats and intellectuals.

In 1645. the first European cafeteria was opened in Venice, which was more accessible to the public.
Then in 1650. the first cafe in England was opened in Oxford.

The Angel. The same thing happened in this cafeteria as in Mecca. It became a conspiracy center, and King Carlos II ordered them closed: but due to the protests, he had to retract his decision.

By 1652 at St Michael’s Alley. London’s first coffee shop opened, directed by Pasqua Rose.

Thus, coffee grew with the help of indispensable companions: coffee shops. During the 17th and 18th centuries, these businesses were not only leisure places to have a comforting cup of coffee, but also a meeting point for intellectuals and politicians who used coffee shops both to conspire and to illuminate some of the most essential ideas of our era.

This mixture of popularity and elitism accompanied the first steps of coffee in Europe, but as early as the 19th century, the drink definitively turned to the popular side, and its rise was unstoppable.

The increase in coffee shops and the diversification of coffee ranges led to its democratization, and coffee became the king of beverages in its own right.

how was coffee discovered

When Did Coffee Come To America? – History Of Coffee In America

The American continent is a lover of this grain. The story of how the coffee came will fascinate you!
The most accepted theory about the arrival of coffee in the new world is attributed to Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu.

He was an officer in the French Navy, in 1720 he brought a coffee plant to Martinique Island on the orders of Louis XIV.

It is said that Gabriel Mathieu, on his return to the island, faced a great storm that delayed his arrival. Supplies were running low, and water became scarce, so Marthieu shared the water that was his turn with the plant.

His effort made the plant reach Martinique alive, where it began to spread throughout the American continent thanks to different sailors.

One of those sailors was Nicholas Lewis, who. in 1730. introduced the coffee tree to Jamaica.
Spanish missionaries of the unknown name were the ones who brought the plant to Java in 1740.

In Cuba, it arrived thanks to the sailor Jose Antonio Gelabert. In the year 1748.

The Portuguese introduced coffee to Brazil in 1727. the world’s leading coffee exporters today.
In 1785 the coffee plantation came to Colombia, which today is one of the largest producers in the world.

It arrived in the Spanish colonies much later because its consumption in Spain appeared late during the second half of the 18th century. But his entry was made in a big way by Italian merchants like Gippini. Who had several establishments in different cities.

Coffee arrives in the United States.

The history of coffee in North America is estimated to have started around 1668 in New York. Philadelphia, and Boston.

He arrived in the new world through New York, which in those years was called New Amsterdam, in the mid-1600s.

In 1689 the first coffee establishment was created in Boston. It gained popularity at full speed, especially after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. which took place in the Green Dragon cafeteria; There, coffee became a national American drink.

In this riot, the consumption of coffee was promoted over tea, which had been heavily taxed by the British. The now well-known Bank of New York and New York Stock Exchange emerged in coffee houses on Wall Street.

If this growth seems impressive, it is not comparable to that experienced during the 20th century. It was then that coffee became the most consumed infusion in all the earth.

That’s one of the key moments in the history of coffee. Thank you for the globalization of the cultures of the most influential countries, and especially for the improvement in world transport. The Coffee bean history and coffee beans background is deep and rich.

who discovered coffee

How Was Coffee Consumed?

The most common method of preparation today is to mix the ground grains with hot water. However, throughout the history of coffee, many other methods have been used. Some of them are considered authentic relics of the past today.

Coffee consumption began in the African regions of Ethiopia. In those regions, the tribes that inhabited these lands started to take them as wild berries. The fruit was either eaten whole or crushed.

As is usual in man’s own creative nature, new forms of preparation began to be devised. One of the most curious was the use of the leaves of the coffee tree to prepare infusions. To give you an idea, it would be something like making a coffee tea.

Infusion of roasted coffee beans

We have to advance in the coffee’s history until the beginning of the 17th century, to find a significant advance in the sophistication of its preparation. It’s at this moment that we approach the mode of preparation that we have today.

At that time, there was no current technology, which makes the whole process so easy. So the first challenge was to properly toast the grain. Although it seems easy, it turns out to be a very complicated task, since true masters were needed to leave the grain in its proper place.

Once they had been roasted, they had to be ground; the problem is that generally, a very inhomogeneous grinding was obtained.

Then it was mixed with hot water and filtered, leaving a very watery and not very dense infusion. So coffee in Europe in the 1700s could be … somewhat disappointing.

Coffees prepared with coffee machines

It was not until the 19th century, together with the industrial revolution, that the preparation process began to be improved and optimized.

At this time, the first coffee machines emerged. That is why it is considered that this was the moment in the history of coffee when the current mode of consumption began to take shape.

Currently, the preparation process has changed little. However, a significant evolution has emerged in technologies used in their cultivation and devices used to make the infusion.

Due to this, and the cultural influences of the regions in which it is taken, a wide variety of preparations have appeared, ranging from pure espresso to elaborate Irish coffee.

who first started drinking coffee

Curiosities Of The History Of Coffee

Around the 15th century, when it began to spread throughout the Islamic world via Yemen, an intense debate started over the legality of its consumption.

The main reason for the discussion was the effects of excitement and energy that caused the body. The thing is. They used to interpret it as intoxication, and in Islamic culture, that is prohibited.


The thing did not stop there, because, in the 17th century, both tea and coffee were considered a drug. Excessive consumption was thought to cause death. However. King Gustav III of Sweden decided to test that assumption.

This basically consisted of selecting two prisoners; one would drink a cup of coffee each day and the other one of tea.

This experiment was followed by a medical commission. The curious thing is that the members of the commission and the king himself died before the prisoners.

Finally, after many years of continuing with their daily doses, the first prisoner to die was the one who drank tea.

Even with this test, there were areas where the authorities did not tolerate it. This is the case in Germany, and especially in Russia. In that country, he was persecuted with physical punishments, which went as far as mutilation in many cases.

Even to people who suffered from nervous breakdowns, it used to be indicated that the cause was coffee. But in the middle of the XIX century, this rigidity was decreasing.

Eliminating prejudices from the past

Currently, a multitude of scientific studies is discovering that coffee provides many benefits for the human body. Many of them confirm those benefits that were intuited or that were known by popular wisdom.

While others deny both benefits and dangers, which were generated by prejudices rooted in traditions, so these discoveries are a pleasant surprise for lovers of this drink.

What was coffee originally used for?

Coffee was first seen as the drink for devil, but originally coffee was just used for trading and as a source of barter rather than an actual commodity.

Is Coffee illegal anywhere?

Great question, there have been many attempts and there have been successful attempts to ban coffee throughout history. But unlike many other drugs, caffeine is not banned anywhere in the world, and that also allows coffee to be legal throughout the globe.

Coffee Today

The history of coffee, along with the influence of the European colonizers, made this drink reach all corners of the world.

And this story continues, the facts about coffee are truly amazing.

Today, both in North America where coffee is one of its national drinks and in Central and South America, coffee cultivation is widespread and is a crucial component of the economies of many of these countries.

Consumption of coffee cups around the world is affirmed annually at 400 billion, being the countries that contribute the most to this figure: United States. Germany. Japan. France. Italy. Canada. Russia and Spain.

Every day more different cafeterias are opened with new and different concepts to those we already know. Every time new ways of drinking and enjoying coffee are invented, such as Nitro Cafe, truly innovative drinks.

coffee story

Nor should we forget to mention the World Coffee Championship. A competition of professional baristas, passionate about coffee. It is a competition in which people master the art of preparing and obtaining the best coffee flavor.

Coffee is consumed in Europe and Asia, in America and in Africa, both in modest places and in the great Viennese and Parisian cafes.

Besides, the consumers’ need has motivated the producers to show more and more demand in their crops and offer a higher quality coffee for bars to the customers.

Currently, the largest coffee producers are countries such as Brazil. Vietnam. Colombia. Indonesia, and Ethiopia, which have large coffee plantations. Most consumers look forward to the production area on coffee packages, knowing that, with this drink, the place of origin is a sign of quality.

This is perhaps the main revolution of our time: the appearance of a consumer who has a lot of information at his disposal and consequently demands the best experience from producers and restorers.

Today coffee continues to make history; the best thing of all is that now we have to make it—coffee lovers.

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About David Dewitt

Hi, my name is David and I come from Columbus, Ohio. I am a amateur photographer, and a coffee lover. I love to write, and don't mind me a cup of joe!