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History Of Coffee: The Rise To The Coffee Café

The history of coffee takes us back in time to when the coffee bean had little or no significance to the human society. But over the centuries, coffee has become one of the most important drink in the world. For most people, coffee it is the first sip that helps to set their day in motion, there are others who cuddle themselves with a cup of coffee under the cold while they watch TV, there are also some who just like to drink coffee for the taste of it. And if you’re like me, then you should grab a cup of coffee and take a hot sip as you scale through the paragraphs of this article to find out the history of coffee. history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

The Ethiopian Legend behind the story

Although, there are different speculations about the origin of coffee, but the most common and widely accepted is Ethiopian legend. Interestingly, it had begun on a hilly region of the Ethiopian landscape as the sun shone on the terrain and green vegetation. Kaldi a goat herder led his goats for grazing as usual, but to a part of the vegetation they hadn’t been before. This was where he and his goats encountered the coffee bean. But his goats discovered it first.

He later found out that after his goats chewed some of the coffee beans, they began to behave strangely and very energetic, jumping around and bleating throughout the whole day even till the night. Kaldi marveled at this strange behavior and decided to try it for himself to quell his curiosity. He got the same results.

Overcome by excitement of this new found bean, he hurried home to his wife to express his excitement. She told him to forward his discovery to the monks at the monastery. With some coffee berries dangling in his bag,

Coffee bean is “the devil’s work”

After Kaldi hurried to the monastery to share the news. He was soon disappointed when some of the monks rejected his findings and through the beans into the burning flame, calling it, “the devil’s work.”

But while the beans burnt in the flame, it gave a very soothing aroma that spurred the interest of the monks and tempted them to rethink again on Kaldi’s discovery. And so they did, After making a drink with the bean, they found out it helped them to stay awake and focused throughout their long hours of evening prayer. And so gradually the knowledge of the energizing coffee bean began to spread far and wide to distant regions of the world beginning from the Arabian Cape and so the history of coffee was born.

“Coffee: Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love” – Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Origin of the word “Coffee.”

The word “coffee” found its way into the English language in 1582 via the Dutch “koffie”, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, which in turn was derived from the Arabic “qahwah” The Arabic word qahwah had its origin referred to a type of wine. The word qahwah is sometimes alternatively traced to the Arabic “quwwa” which means “power and energy”, or to Kaffa, an old kingdom in Ethiopia where the plant was exported to Arabia.

History of Coffee: From Arabia To Europe

By the 15th century, Arabians had already begun to cultivate and trade coffee. It was mainly grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia. And then by the 16th century, others in Persia, Syria, Turkey and Egypt had joined the coffee had known enough about it and were doing the same.

During this period, the popularity and importance of coffee grew that it was not only enjoyed in homes, but also in the many public coffee houses, which was called “qahveh khaneh”. This began to appear in cities all over the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unravelled and people kept on visiting them for all kinds of social activity, business and interaction.

Coffee wasn’t drunk only when they engaged in conversation, but they also enjoyed it while listening to music, watching performers, playing games and sharing of important information.  Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for great conversation that people started referring to them as “Schools of the Wise.” Although several attempts were made to ban the use of coffee, but none could withstand the growing affiliation people had with the drink.

With thousands of pilgrims flocking into the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the cardinals of the world, knowledge of this “wine of Arabia” began to spread. 

From the lands in the Middle East, coffee drinking to other places like Italy, then to the rest of Europe. Coffee plants were also transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and then to the Americas.

Coffee officially first came into Europe on the island of Malta in the 16th century. It was introduced there through slavery. The beverage was made by the Turkish Muslim slaves who had been imprisoned by the Knights of St John in 1565, which was also the year of the Great Siege of Malta, and they used it to make their traditional beverage. This skill earned the Turkish slaves who made the beverage a good deal of money and helped them survive despite the siege.

Exports from the East, North Africa and Egypt brought a lot of goods into Europe including coffee, which became a popular beverage in Maltese high society. This led to the opening of many coffee shops. From here, it spread to all of Europe. history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

Coffee to the Americas and the world.

As trade and exportation circulated all around the globe, coffee soon arrived at the shores of the Americans, and they embraced it gladly like they had been waiting for it to arrive. In 1852, Brazil became the country with the highest coffee production. It beat world production, exporting more coffee than the rest of the whole world combined, from 1850 to 1950 till date.


The history of coffee is an interesting tale that makes one to wonder at how beginnings could be so different to what we have now. The discovery of Kaldi and his goats has led us very far from that time till now and how we cultivate, process and drink coffee. This is why history is what it is: making us discover what we already know.

history of coffee the rise to the coffee cafe

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