Coffee History 101

A piping hot cup of joe is more than just an early morning pick-me-up - it's practically a national pastime! Every day, 150 million Americans take part in the same delicious ritual; sipping on their favourite brew while they get ready for the new day. But have you ever stopped to wonder where these warming cups come from? Recently I was enjoying some delectably smooth Bourbon Truffle coffee and thought "Thank goodness someone came up with this stuff!" So here’s a salute to the brave creators who gave us “the elixir of life". Pour yourself another cuppa, sit back, relax and join me as we explore the history that brought us our beloved beverage!

Etymology of the word “Coffee”

Coffee's journey to the English language has a pretty fascinating backstory. It all began in 1582 with its Dutch "koffie", which was derived from the Ottoman Turkish “kahve" and Arabic word “qahwah”, once used to refer to wine! Arabs apparently viewed coffee back then as an appetite suppressant - no wonder it did so well during Muslim fasts or Ramadan celebration when they needed something extra-stimulating at night!  Legend has it that coffee was heaven-sent! Mohammed's archangel Gabriel brought this energizing elixir to humanity as an alternative to wine - a great trade, if you ask us. This heavenly drink is believed the have been coined from the Arabic “quwwa” (power or energy) OR possibly named after Kaffa in Ethiopia where beans were first exported and brewed abroad... who knew?

Have Bean Will Travel

Coffee history is full of interesting tales! From the 15th century and possibly earlier, coffee has made its way from Africa to Europe. This flavorful adventure began in Somalia and Yemen with Sufi monasteries, before heading eastward through Mecca & Medina then into South India, Persia & Turkey—all thanks to Venice's vibrant trading partnership with North African ports like Egypt. Next stop? Southeast Asia…then finally every nook-and-cranny in between! A feat worthy of a celebratory espresso  ☕️.

Forget tea, that's sooo last century. Back in the 1600s coffee was all the rage for Europe's upper class - and it had to travel quite a way to get there! Thanks (maybe) to some enterprising Turkish Muslims, Venetian merchants were able bring this delectable beverage across borders via Malta. Even German traveller Gustav Sommerfeldt wrote about these clever entrepreneurs who made money by brewing up their "powder resembling snuff tobacco" with water and sugar. Who knew? Coffee eventually reached England where it quickly caught on as one of society’s must-have drinks – just ask Levant Company if you don't believe me!

Coffee has always been more than a hot beverage- it's an invitation to the world. Since England embraced coffee in 1675 with over 3,000 cafes popping up across the country, this cup o' joe was given quite the royal reception! Centuries later and not much has changed; keen minds continue gathering at exactly these same spots - usually debating everything from politics to religion before they can even get their hands on that first sip of what we now simply call 'coffee'. So next time you grab your mug... take pride knowing history runs through its veins like no other drink around.


The Very First Cup

A centuries-old tale tells of Kaldi, the Ethiopian goat herder who discovered coffee when he noticed his flock getting an extra energy boost after eating bright red berries. Refusing to accept defeat and with curiosity on overdrive, Kaldi tried them himself - only to be scolded by a monk in a nearby monastery for doing so! But what happened next surely secured his place in history: bravely battling disapproving stares from fellow monks,Kaldi threw those mysterious beans into the fire where they released sweet aroma that made everyone around him come alive. And voila – humanity's first cup of magical elixir was born!

Legend has it that the secret to coffee was discovered by Moroccan Sufi mystic who stumbled across some unusually energetic birds while on a trip in Ethiopia. After trying their mysterious berry source, he too experienced an unparalleled sense of vitality! But another account ascribes this miraculous discovery not to mere chance--this time starring religious man Omar and his prayerful powers of healing. doomed for exile in a barren cave, Omar resorted (in desperation) to chewing on bitter mountain shrubs - only discover upon roasting & boiling them down into liquid form they revived him with so much vigour he went days without food!! News quickly spread throughout Mecca about these energizing elixirs; soon enough everyone wanted une tasse à café ("a cup of coffee") just like Omar's miracle brew ;) Omar was able to return to Mecca and was made a saint.

El Wrap-Up

It doesn’t matter which story of the coffee you choose to believe in, they are all great stories. What matters is that we have coffee because of them and we should be grateful. If you want to try a delicious cup of coffee made with beans from the Ethiopian Highlands, try Monte Rosa Gourmet Coffee. With 450 different types of coffee, there is sure to be one (or many) that will satisfy you. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your cup of joe!

Written by Maximilian Lucena
Find similar articles
Coffee history

Leave a comment