Sunday, November 13, 2011

History of Coffee

The history of coffee can be traced back to at least the 13th century, but if may have been used for years before that. After the 16th century, Dutch traders brought coffee plants to Italy, and from there coffee’s popularity spread through Europe and to the New World, aided by frequent trade between Venice and Muslim countries.

The English word coffee may have come, in various forms, from Kaffa in Ethiopia, where the plant originated.

Legend has it that a mystic saw some birds acting particularly lively, and experimented with the berries himself, but the first credible evidence of the coffee bean’s use was in monasteries in Yemen, where the monks used it to keep them awake during evening devotions.

In 1720 traders brought coffee plants to islands in the Caribbean, where plantation owners quickly realized the plant’s value, setting in motion the massive transport of slaves from Africa to Cuba to work the fields.

At various times, coffee has been forbidden, in Turkey and other places, but because of its popularity, the bans were always quickly overturned.

For myself, I’m just grateful to whomever the first man was who got past the bitter taste of the raw bean and experimented with making a tasty brew.