What is coffee?
Coffee is the second largest and most valuable commodity in the world, only after oil. It is estimated that people around the world drink 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day, and this quantity is to keep increasing. Coffee existed on earth for a very long time ago and gradually developed worldwide to become the most popular and favorable drink. It has been in a long and incredible journey. So, what is coffee history?
First discovery to answer ‘what is coffee?’.
The story of coffee was started by an Ethiopian legend. The legend told that in an Ethiopian highland, a shepherd named Kaldi found his goats jumping and dancing excitedly after eating red cherries from a strange tree. He was so surprise and decided to try them. After eating, he felt energetic and excited and he could not sleep for hours at night. He told this story to other local monks who then created a drink from these cherries. That’s how coffee was found by human. The story of energetic affect of coffee rapidly spread out to Arabian Peninsula where it began its journey to become a global beverage.
From the Arabian Peninsula…
The first coffee that Kaldi found is coffee Arabica. And it was named after Arabian Peninsula, where it was officially recognized as a commodity for purchasing in 15th century. At this time, coffee was called “wine of Araby” which was a very popular beverage. Also, since then, the term “coffee house” was come out. It is the origin of café or coffee shop today where people gathered to drink coffee, communicate to others and do some social activities such as listening to music, watching leisure performances, playing chess and updating daily news.
In 15th century, the first coffee tree was cultivated in Yemen, a district of Arabia. In 16th century, it was widely grown in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
The pilgrims those who came to the holy city of Mecca every year were so interested in coffee and they began to bring coffee out of Arabia boundaries.
… To immigrating to Europe
In 17th century, coffee entered Europe and became so popular across the continent. However, some people were afraid of its intense taste and called it “a bitter invention of Satan”. When coffee first came to Venice in 1615, it was condemned by clergy and was asked to forbid it. But when Pope Clement tried it, he found it very good drink and decided an approval.
The popularity of coffee is so massive that in 17th century there are over 300 coffee houses only in London and attracted a numerous customers every day. The coffee business rapidly grew up.
Coming to America
In the mid 1600s, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, which was later on so-called New York. At first, people did not get aware of coffee and even did not care ‘what is coffee?’. It was not such a popular drink among the upper class until 1773 when the colonists rose up to against the heavy tax on tea issued by the British. In the revolt, the locals destroyed the entire shipment of tea and threw thousand of tea chests into the sea. Having no tea to drink, they had to move to coffee and began to favor its taste over than tea.
Cultivating around the world
As the huge demand of coffee consumption, the Arab tried to take over their monopoly of planting coffee trees, while other countries also tried to change it. And in 17th century, the Dutch succeeded with the first coffee tree grown in Batavia in Java Island of Indonesia.
The coffee trees were then cultivated successfully in other lands, including Caribbean, Southern and Central America, South East Asia, etc. They were brought to these countries by their colonist such as France, Britain, Dutch, etc., because they found coffee tree is only developed in tropical areas or highlands with high rainfall all-year-round.
What is coffee’s position in the modern world today?
For centuries, coffee has become the most popular global drink and considered as a billion dollar industry. Today, Brazil is the world’s largest coffee production and exporter with 30% of total productivity of the whole world. It is also developed into diverse types of drink with different flavors and styles. Vietnam as a newcomer also accounts for roughly 12% of the world’s total coffee production. Vietnam has actually changed the way the world drinks coffee. However, coffee is not always a smooth story while global warming is changing climate and rainfall which severely affect the growth of coffee trees on global scale.