History Of Coffee
Coffee was first discovered in Eastern Africa in what is today Ethiopia. A legend refers to a goat herder who observed his goats acting unusually frisky after eating berries from a bush. Curious about this phenomena, the herder tried the berries himself. He found that these berries gave him a renewed energy. The news of this energy laden fruit quickly spread.
Monks heard about this fruit and dried the berries so that they could be transported to distant monasteries. They reconstituted these berries in water, ate the fruit, and drank the liquid to provide stimulation for a more awakened time for prayer.
Coffee berries were transported from Ethiopia to the Arabian peninsula, and were first cultivated in what today is the country of Yemen.
Coffee later arrived in Turkey where coffee beans were roasted for the first time over open fires. The roasted beans were crushed, and then boiled in water, creating a crude version of the beverage we enjoy today.
Coffee first arrived on the European continent by means of Venetian trade merchants. Once in Europe this new beverage fell under harsh criticism from the Catholic church. Many felt the Pope should ban coffee, calling it the drink of the devil. However, the Pope was already a coffee drinker and blessed coffee declaring it a truly Christian beverage.
Coffee houses spread quickly across Europe becoming centers for intellectual exchange. Many great minds of Europe used this beverage, and forum, as a springboard to heightened thought and creativity.
In the 1700's, coffee found its way to the Americas by means of a French infantry captain who nurtured one small plant on its long journey across the Atlantic. This one plant, transplanted to the Caribbean Island of Martinique, became the predecessor of over 19 million trees on the island within 50 years. It was from this humble beginning that the coffee plant found its way to the rest of the tropical regions of South and Central America.
Coffee was declared the national drink of the then colonized United States by the Continental Congress, in protest of the excessive tax on tea levied by the British crown.
Espresso, a recent innovation in the way to prepare coffee, obtained its origin in 1822, with the innovation of the first crude espresso machine in France. The Italians perfected the machine and were the first to manufacture it.
Today, coffee is a giant global industry employing more than 20 million people. This commodity ranks second only to petroleum in terms of dollars traded worldwide. With over 400 billion cups consumed every year, coffee is the world's most popular beverage. If you can imagine, in Brazil alone, over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of coffee.