The shepherd and his sheep

The legend says that coffee was discovered in the 11th century, in the Ethiopean highlands. The story tells how a shepherd named Kaldi noticed that his sheep were more active when they ate the berries of a certain plant. And when he decided to try the berries, he also felt his energy renewed. The shepherd took some of the berries to a monk, who started to use them as an infusion when he discovered that the drink helped him to fight off sleep during periods of prayer and meditation. The discovery quickly spread to several monasteries, creating a demand for coffee. (1)

 

 

1) Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K. Bealer (2001) The world of caffeine. Routledge.

The shepherd and his sheep
Cultivated in the Yemen

Cultivated in the Yemen

Even if this legend is no more than a myth, proof exists that coffee was first cultivated in Muslim monasteries in the Yemen. (2)

 


(2) Grigg David (2002) The worlds of tea and coffee: Patterns of consumption. GeoJournal, Vol. 57, No. 4.

The world's first cafe

Coffee was introduced into Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire, and the world's first cafe was opened in the city. (3)

 

 

(3) Boyar, Ebru (2010) A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

The world's first cafe
 Coffee arrives in Europe

Coffee arrives in Europe

In the 14th century, before it reached Europe, coffee was known as “Arabian wine”, because the Arabs called it “qahwa” meaning “wine”.* (1) (4)

 


(4) The oldest reference to this story goes back to 1671, in the writings of Antoine Faustus Nairon, professor of Oriental languages in Rome.

The fertility of Java

Roast coffee, as we know it today, developed in the 16th century. By then, Dutch merchants had understood its commercial potential and convinced their government to plant it in Java, which was then under Dutch rule. The fertility of the soil and the excellent climate produced abundant harvests to meet the rising demand. (5)


(5) Pendergrast Mark (1999) Uncommon Grounds, the history of coffee and how it transformed our world. Basic Books.

The fertility of Java
In the Americas

In the Americas

Coffee was quickly introduced into the West Indies, and then South America where it was grown extensively. (5)

 


(5) Pendergrast Mark (1999) Uncommon Grounds, the history of coffee and how it transformed our world. Basic Books.

 

Nowadays...

 

Today, much of the coffee we consume comes from South America, Africa and Asia. Average world coffee consumption is estimated at 2 billion kilos per year.

 

Nowadays...