Your alarm goes off at 6:30 AM. As you drag your tired bones out of bed, your mind goes on autopilot straight to the kitchen. You engage in your usual morning routine, as you prepare your morning pot of coffee. The fruity fragrance of your favorite Autumn Mornings Blendstimulates your sense of smell within the first few seconds of grinding the beans.
As one of the top traded commodities in the entire world, it’s no secret that coffee has been popular since its discovery. A 2018 studycommissioned by the National Coffee Association reaffirms coffee’s widespread consumption, revealing that a whopping 64% of Americans drink a cup of coffee everyday. So before you brew tomorrow’s batch of coffee, let’s take a look at where this symbol of our society originated.
Although an exact date is unclear, it is believed by many that coffee was first discovered around 700-850 AD in Ethiopia. The legend tells the story of an Ethiopian herdsman who observed his goats acting unusually goofy. As they pranced around excitedly and full of energy, he noticed that they were eating small, red berries from a nearby tree. Out of curiosity, he collected the berries for himself and brought them to an abbot. When the abbot shared the berries with other monks, they threw them into a fire, claiming that they were berries from the devil. But the aroma from the fire sparked every monk’s nose, and their tune began to change. They then transported the roasted berries into a pot of hot water, and were astonished by the rich taste and bright vitality that encompassed them.
From Ethiopia, the coffee beans traveled across the red sea into Yemen in the 15th century. Ever wonder where the name “Mocha” comes from? Mocha is the name of the port where the beans first arrived in Yemen. By the mid 1550s, it became a widespread delight across the Arabian peninsula, giving rise to a plethora of coffeehouses where people could meet and socialize for an afternoon drink. But like every good thing, not everyone will share the same opinion. The Muslim clergy worked hard to shut down coffeehouses, but were immediately met with riots and backlash, leading to the eventual restoration of coffee and its legal consumption.
Europe and Asia
By the 17th Century, coffee finally reached Europe. Yet again, some skeptics regarded the earthly dark beverage as a “bitter invention of Satan.” Once it reached Venice in 1615, the debate around coffee was so notable that Pope Clement VIII was asked for a final say. He was so delighted by the beverage put before him that the fears and doubt surrounding coffee began to fall away.
Much like Arabian coffee houses, shops began popping up all across Europe and were termed as “Penny Universities.” One could buy a cup of coffee for one penny and engage in intellectual and political debates, hear of news and listen to music. By the end of the 1600s, coffeehouses became a staple of culture. An estimated 300 locations were present throughout all of London.
Instead of the usual beer or glass of wine for breakfast, people opted for coffee with their morning meal. Not surprisingly, people’s productivity was positively affected, breeding a more focused work environment. But between pubs and coffeehouses, men were always gone, enraging many wives who sat alone at home. In response to this conflict, the Women’s Petition Against Coffee was started in 1674 in an effort to bring husbands back home and ban coffee for good. Obviously, their efforts were not successful.
It wasn’t until the mid 1600s that coffee beans traveled west into an untouched territory of potential growth. What was previously known as New Amsterdam, the state of New York was the first to experience the magical fruit that had already touched most of the world. After the Boston Tea Party in 1773, coffee became the primary drink of choice throughout America, changing the course of history forever. Coffee quickly manifested big business in most areas across the globe. What we now know as a prominent drink that’s conveniently accessible at our fingertips, was first fought against, revived and spread like wildfire to the rest of the world.