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History of Coffee

History of Coffee

1000 AD

Pre-1000 A.D.: The Galla tribe in Ethiopia noticed that they got an energy boost when they ate coffee berries which were ground up and mixed with animal fat 

1000 A.D.: Arab traders brought coffee back to their homeland and cultivated the plant for the first time on plantations. They also began to boil the beans, creating a drink which they called "qahwa" - the literal translation being 'that which prevents sleep'

15th Century

1453: Coffee was introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks

1475: The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opened. Turkish law was established to allow a woman to divorce her husband if he fails to provide her with her daily quota of coffee!

16th Century

1511: The Governor of Mecca, Khair Beg, tried to ban coffee as he feared that its influence might promote opposition to his rule. The Sultan sent word that coffee was sacred and had the Governor executed 

17th Century

1600: Coffee was introduced to the West by Italian traders. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII was directed by his advisers to consider coffee as part of the infidel threat. The Pope decided to "baptise" it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage

1607: Captain John Smith helped to found the colony of Virginia at Jamestown. It is generally believed that he also introduced coffee to North America 

1645: The first coffee house was opened in Italy

1651: The first coffee house opened in England. Coffee houses multiplied and become such popular forums for discussion that they were dubbed "penny universities" (one penny was the price of a cup of coffee)

1668: Coffee replaced beer as New York City's favourite breakfast drink

1668: Edward Lloyd's coffee house opened in England and was frequented by merchants and maritime insurance agents. Eventually it became the world's renowned insurance company, Lloyd's of London

1672: The first coffee house opened in Paris

1675: The Turkish Army surrounded Vienna. One Viennese man, Franz Georg Kolczcki, slipped through the enemy lines to lead relief forces to the city. The fleeing Turks left behind sacks of "dry black fodder" that Kolczcki (who had once lived in Turkey) recognised as coffee. He claimed it as his reward and went on to open Central Europe's first coffee house. He also established the practice of refining the brew by filtering the grounds, sweetening it and adding a small amount of milk

1683: In Austria Franz Kolczcki opened the first Viennese coffee house

1690: Having smuggled a coffee plant out of the Arab port of Mocha, the Dutch became the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially to Ceylon and their East Indian colony - Java, which was the source of the brew's nickname

18th Century

1713: The Dutch unwittingly provided Louis XIV of France with a coffee bush. The descendants of this bush produced the entire Western coffee industry when in 1723 French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu stole a seedling and transported it to Martinique. Within 50 years (and according to official survey records) 19 million coffee trees were grown on Martinique. Ultimately, 90% of the world's coffee proliferated from this plant

1715: The Jesuits started coffee cultivation in Haiti

1721: The first coffee house opened in Berlin

1727: The Brazilian coffee industry got started when Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta was sent by government to arbitrate a border dispute between the French and the Dutch colonies in Guiana. Not only did he settle the dispute, but he also struck up a secret liaison 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 had hidden cuttings and fertile seeds of coffee

1732: Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Kaffee-Kantate. This piece of music was partly an ode to coffee and partly a challenge to the movement in Germany to prevent women from drinking coffee (as it was thought to make women sterile). The cantata includes the aria, "Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee."

1773: The Boston Tea Party made drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America

1775: Prussia's Frederick the Great tried to block imports of green coffee, as Prussia's wealth was drained, but public outcry changed his mind

19th Century

1825: Coffee was taken to Hawaii

1841: Elizabeth Dakin invents the first coffee plunger or cafetiere 

1886: Former wholesale grocer, Joel Cheek, named his popular coffee blend 'Maxwell House' after a hotel in Nashville where it was served

1887: Coffee had made its way to Tonkin, Indo-China

1896: Coffee was taken to Queensland, Australia

20th Century

Early 1900s: In Germany, afternoon coffee became a standard occasion. The derogatory term "KaffeeKlatsch" was coined to describe women's gossip at those coffee afternoons, but has since come to mean relaxed conversation in general

1900: Hills Bros. began packing roast coffee in vacuum tins, marking the end of local roasting shops and coffee mills

1901: The first soluble "instant" coffee was invented by a Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago

1903: German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius gave a batch of ruined coffee beans to researchers, who went on to perfect the process of removing caffeine from coffee beans without destroying the flavour. He marketed the new coffee under the brand name 'Sanka'

1906: George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala, noticed a powdery condensation forming on the spout of his silver coffee carafe. After experimentation, he created the first mass-produced instant coffee which he called Red E Coffee

1920: As a result of Prohibition in the United States, coffee sales boom

1927: The first espresso machine in the US was installed in Regio's, New York. The 'La Pavoni' machine is still there on display today

1938: Nestle company invented freeze-dried coffee after Brazil asked for help to find a solution to their coffee surpluses. Nestle developed Nescafe?and introduced it to Switzerland

1938: M. Cremonesi developed a piston pump that forced hot, not boiling water through the coffee. The piston pump improvement eliminated the burnt taste of coffee which occurred in the Pavoni machine

1942: During World War II, American soldiers were issued instant Maxwell House coffee in their ration kits. Widespread hoarding led to coffee rationing

1946: In Italy, Achilles Gaggia perfected his commercial piston espresso machine and installed it in Gaggia's Coffee Bar. The resulting coffee had a layer of foam or 'crema'. The Cappuccino is named for the resemblance of its colour to the robes of the monks of the Capuchin order

1950: New Guinea began cultivating coffee

1961: M. Faema launched a pump-based machine. The water was forced through the coffee by an electric pump rather than a manually operated piston

1962: Establishing coffee export quotas on a worldwide basis was adopted. An International Coffee Agreement was negotiated by the United Nations

1971: Starbucks opened its first store in Seattle's Pike Place public market, which created a frenzy over fresh-roasted whole bean coffee

1989: World coffee prices plunged when participating nations failed to sign a new International Coffee Agreement in 1989

1995: Vietnam begins large scale production of Robusta Coffee

21st Century

2000: First ever World Barista Championships was won by Robert Thoressen from Norway

2001: Brazil issued the first coffee scented postage stamp 

2002: Scientists found that sprinkling coffee grounds in the garden helps to deter snails and slugs 

2003: With more than 500 billion cups served worldwide annually, coffee is the most popular drink on the planet

2004: Coffee tops agricultural exports for 12 countries

2005: Coffee was the 7th largest legal agricultural export by value

2009: While the economic downturn leads to many coffee shops closing, overall coffee consumption does not decrease 

2010: The launch of UK coffee week, which celebrates coffee and raises funds to deliver safe water projects to coffee-growing countries

2010: A car fuelled by coffee travelled 250 miles from London to Manchester – known as the ‘Car-puccino’ – it was fuelled by the equivalent of 11,000 espressos 

2011: The Guinness World Record of the most coffee beans moved with chopsticks in 1 minute was won by Cynthia Nojicic, who moved 38 beans 

2012: The largest cup of coffee containing 13,200 litres wins the  Guinness World Record in London

2014: Coffee rust in Central America and a severe drought in Brazil leads to an increase in coffee futures on commodity markets

2014: Astronauts in the International Space Station finally get a decent cup of coffee with the first espresso machine in space