Be it a stressful meeting at work or an active evening out with friends, the one thing that truly mellows down a person is coffee. Regarded as the most popular beverage in the world, coffee definitely helps a person to take a break and relax. For some, it even takes the form of a compulsion and they can’t go on without their morning cuppa. However, while sipping your precious cup of coffee, how many of you have actually pondered over the history and origin of coffee? Like all other things in the world, coffee has an interesting background too! Check out information on the origin & history of coffee in the following lines.
Interesting Information on Background of Coffee
In ancient times, the coffee earned a very massive reputation because of its stimulating properties. It was said to provide religious ecstasy. According to popular legends, coffee beans were discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia some 1000 years back. He noticed that his goats became hyperactive when they consumed berries from a particular shrub when he changed pastures. On consuming the berries himself, he found that it gave him a boost and allowed his to remain active. Monks from nearby religious shrines first condemned him when they saw him dance in ecstasy, but later when they ate the berries themselves, they claimed that it helped them stay awake during prayers.
Yet another story goes that in Arabia, a person was banished by his enemies and was driven off to the desert to die of starvation. However, even in a state of delirium, he happened to notice the berries on shrub and tried to soften it with some water. When he didn’t find any success in that, he simply drank that water. This gave him some energy and his survival was treated as a miracle in the nearby village of Mocha. That is how coffee earned the name of ‘Mocha’ as an honor to its energy providing properties. It was around the 15th century that coffee was cultivated in the Yemen province located in Arabia. At that time, Arabia was the primary source of coffee.
Coffee beans were traded from Arabia to Alexandria and Constantinople under high security. Fertile plants were not allowed to leave the country and it was kept under strict vigilance. However, Muslim pilgrims managed to quietly smuggle a few plants to their homelands while going on a pilgrimage to Mecca. This is how coffee came to India. The first coffee shop in the world was opened up in Constantinople in 1475. It was more or less during the early 17th century that coffee entered Europe through Venice. The first coffee house in Europe opened up in Italy in 1654. The Dutch gained monopoly over merchant shipping industry in the middle of the 17th century and also introduced large scale coffee cultivation in their colonies in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Bali in Indonesia.
Several decades later, coffee was introduced in Latin America by a French naval officer. However, in early 18th century, the coffee plantations in South East Asia were destroyed by a rare plant disease and from then, Brazil emerged as the major coffee producer in the world; something it holds true to this date. In early 19th century, a prototype of the first espresso machine was prepared in France. Coffee then began to be roasted by a process that involved the use of natural gas and hot air. It slowly became the most preferred drink for breakfast and has been maintaining a steady position in the department till date.