History of Coffee
Coffee was first consumed in the 9th century. According to legend, Ethiopian herders noticed their goats seemed to dance and have more energy after consuming the berries of the plant. People in the Galla tribe of Ethiopia began grinding coffee berries and mixing them with animal fat. They noticed an increase in their own energy.
Traders brought coffee plants to Arabia where, for the first time, they were grown on plantations and brewed into a beverage called qahwa. The plants had spread throughout the Middle East and into northern Africa, Persia and Turkey by the 15th century. The world’s first coffee shop was opened in Constantinople around 1475. Around that same time, it was legal in Turkey for a woman to divorce her husband if he did not provide her daily coffee.
Arab nations began exporting roasted coffee beans, which eventually made their way to Venice, Italy. Pope Clement VIII, in 1600, was urged to ban the drink that originated from the Muslim world. He instead endorsed coffee making it an acceptable beverage for Christians. The first European coffeehouse opened in Italy in 1645. The Dutch were the first to smuggle coffee plants out of Arabia; in the late 17th century, they grew coffee crops in Java and Ceylon. Coffee is captured from a fleeing Turkish army after the Battle of Vienna in 1863 – coffee is subsequently introduced to Austria and Poland.
It is believed that Captain John Smith, a founder of the Jamestown colony of Virginia, introduced coffee to North America. Even though coffee replaced beer as New York City’s favorite breakfast beverage in 1668, it was not as popular in colonial America as in Europe. However, after the Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War with England coffee’s popularity increased. It became even more popular during the War of 1812 when the British cut off tea supplies to the United States.