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The Origins of Coffee: Where did coffee originate?



           Throughout time, coffee has spread all over the world. Each country specializes in their own crop with Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia being the most popular producers of this amazing drink. However, just like anything else, coffee originated from one place only.

           The history of coffee dates back to 850 AD but no one really knows how or when coffee was discovered. There are many legends about its origin and one that stands out the most is the Ethiopian legend that said Kaldi, a goat-herder was the first person to discover coffee. The story says that he discovered the potential of the bright red berries when he saw his goat being energetic after eating it from a certain tree. After that, he tried the fruit himself. Kaldi then went to the Abbot of the local monastery and reported what he learned. The abbot made a drink with the berries and noticed that he was kept alert through the long hours of the evening prayer. The exhilarating experience brought the abbot to share the discovery of the energizing berries with the other monks from the monastery. Word spread out about it and reached the Arabian Peninsula.

            In the 15th century, the Yemeni republic of ancient south Arabia started growing coffee and trading it, which resulted in coffee becoming known to its neighbors by 16th century.

            Coffee became a crowd pleaser. Becoming a favorite to many, enjoyed in homes and in public places like qahveh khaneh which is a coffee house that began to appear in the Near East cities. Coffee houses gained incomparable popularity as people frequently visited them for any social activity. And because the holy city of Mecca yearly gets thousands of visitors from foreign countries, words about coffee traveled with the foreign people, back to their countries.

            In the 17th century, the returning European travelers from Near East brought stories back with them about coffee. This made people curious about the beverage and soon enough, coffee, once again became popular with the masses.  When the beverage reached Venice in 1615, it was condemned by the local clergy but Pope Clement VIII intervened and approved it after finding delight and satisfaction from the drink. Major cities then of Austria, England, France, Germany, and Holland started having coffee houses in almost every corner and said place becoming centers of social activity, just like what happened with qahveh khane.

            With the introduction and popularity of coffee to European countries, people replaced their common breakfast drink with coffee. Seeking to start their day energized and alert.

            In the mid-17th century, coffee was introduced to America when it came to New Amsterdam, later on renamed as New York by the British. Unlike in Yemen and European countries, coffee did not initially click in New York as tea was still patronized despite the rapid appearance of coffee houses. King George III then imposed a heavy tax on tea with the Tea Act, known as Boston Tea Party of 1773, which resulted to Americans changing their drinking preference to coffee up until now.

            Later on, competition to cultivate coffee outside of Arabia became tight as demand for the drink became higher. Rooting from a gift for the King Louis XIV of France by the Mayor of Amsterdam in 1714, plantation of coffee spread out all over the world as travelers carried coffee seeds to new lands.

           For the last 156 years, Brazil’s single-origin became the most recommended by coffee lovers, as it holds the title of being number 1 in both quality and quantity in the coffee industry. But as Brazil emerged at the top of the industry, many farmers have been left out of the narratives of coffee drinking amongst their globally northern neighbors, erasing the rich traditions of coffee that have been cultivated locally for years. Help Royal Diaspora Coffee in recognizing, honoring, and supporting the scattered diaspora of coffee growers.