History of Coffee Prior to 1000 A.D.
(By Mark Simpson)
Members of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia notice that they get an energy
boost when they eat a certain type of berry, ground up and mixed with
Arab traders bring coffee back to their homeland and cultivate the plant
for the first time on plantations. They also begin to boil the beans,
creating a drink called "qahwa" (literally, "that which
Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks. The world's
first coffee shop, Kiv Han, opens there in 1475. Turkish law makes it
legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he fails to provide her
with her daily quota of coffee.
Khair Beg, the corrupt governor of Mecca, tries to ban coffee for fear
that it's influence might foster opposition to his rule. The sultan
sends word that coffee is sacred and has the governor exectued.
Sheikh Abd-al-Kadir writes, "No one can understand the truth until
he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness."
Coffee, introduced to the West by Italian traders, grabs attention in
high places. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII is urged by his advisers to
consider the favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire part of the infidel
threat. One sip, however, and he decides to baptize it instead, making
it an acceptable Christian beverage.
Captian John Smith helps to found the colony of Virginia at Jamestown;
it is believed that he introduced coffee to North America.
First coffeehouse opens in Italy.
First coffeehouse opens in England. Coffeehouses multiply and become
such popular forums for learned--and not learned--discussions that they
are dubbed "penny universities" (a penny being the price of
a cup of coffee).
Coffee replaces beer as New York City's favorite breakfast drink.
Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse opens in England and is frequented by merchants
and maritime insurance agents. Eventually it becomes Lloyd's of London,
the best known insurance company in the world.
First coffeehouse opens in Paris.
England's King Charles II tires to surppress coffeehoues, supposedly
becaues men were neglecting their families to discuss business and politics
over coffee. His proclamation is revoked over public outcry.
The Turkish army surrounds Vienna. Franz Georg Kolschitzky, a Viannese
who lived in Turkey, slips through the enemy lines to lead relief forces
to the city. The fleeing Turks leave behind sacks of "dry black
fodder" that Kolschitzky recognizes as coffee. He claims it as
his reward and opens central Europe's first coffeehouse. He also establishes
the habit of refining the brew by filtering out its grounds, sweetening
it, and adding a dash of milk.
With a coffee plant smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha, the Dutch
become the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially, in
Ceylon--and in their East Indian colony Java, source of the brew's nickname.
The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV of France with a coffee bush
whose descendants will produce the entire Western coffee industry when
in 1723 French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Cheu steals a seedling
and transports it to Martinique. Within 50 years an offical survey records
19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the
worlds coffee spreads from this plant.
First coffeehouse opens in Berlin.
The Brazilian coffee industry get its start when Lieutenant Colonel
Francisco de Melo Palheta is sent by his government to arbitrate a border
dispute between French and Dutch colonies in Guiana. Not only does he
settle the dispute, he also strikes up a secret liason with the wife
of French Guiana's governor. Although France guarded its New World coffee
plantations to prevent cultivation from spreading, the lady said good-bye
to Palheta with a bouquet in which she hid cuttings and fertile seeds
Johann Sebastian Bach composed his "Kafee-Kantate". Partly
an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to prevent
women from drinking coffee (it was thought to make them sterile), the
cantana includes the aria "Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier
than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have
The Boston Tea Party makes driking coffee a patriotic duty in America.
Prussia's Frederick the Great tries to block imports of green coffee,
as Prussia's wealth is drained. Public outcry changes his mind.
Former wholesale grocer Joel Cheek names his popular coffee blend Maxwell
House, after the hotel in Nashville Tennessee, where it is served.
In Germany, afternoon coffee becomes a standard occasion. The derogatory
term "Kaffeeklatsch" is coined to describe women's gossip
at these affairs. It has since broadened to mean relaxed conversation
Hills Bros. begins packing roast coffee in vacuum tins, spelling the
end of the ubiquitous local roasting shops and coffee mills.
The first soluable "instant" coffee is invented by Japanese-American
chemist Satori Kato ofChicago.
German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius turns a batch of ruined coffee
beans over to researchers, who perfect the process of removing caffeine
from the beans without destroying the flavor. He markets it under the
brand named "Sanka" (a contraction of "sans caffeine").
Sanka is introduced to the United States in 1923.
George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala,
notices a powdery condensation forming on the spout of his silver coffee
carafe. After experimentation, he creates the first massproduced instant
coffee (his brand is called Red E Coffee), which is followed be dozens
of other brands.
Prohibition goes into effect in the United States. Coffee sales boom.
Having been asked by Brazil to help find a solution to their coffee
surplusses, the Nestle company invents freeze dried coffee. Nestle developes
Nescafe and introduces it in Switzerland.
The U.S. imports 70 percent of the world coffee crop.
During World War II, American soilders are issued instant Maxwell House
coffee in their ration kits. Back home, wide spread hoarding leads to
In Italy, Achille Gaggia perfects his espresso machine. Cappuccino is
named for the resemblance of its color to the robes of the monks of
the Capuchin order.
Consumer Reports tests instant coffee.
Carnation introduces Coffeemate nondairy creamer, a powered composed
of corn syrup solids, vegetable fat, sodium caseinate, and various additives.
One week before Woodstock, the Manson Family murders coffee heiress
Abigal Folger as she visits the friend Sharon Tate in the home of filmmaker
Roman Polanski. Folger is stabbed to death with a fork.
Starbucks opens its first store in Seattle's Pike Place public market,
creating a frenzy over fresh-roasted whole bean coffee.
Simpson, http://world.std.com/~damned/Coffee/history.html, (Accessed
May 2, 2004).