Origins in Africa

The first known cultivation of the coffee plant took place in southern Arabia. Evidences have been found of coffee-drinking, which seems to be convincing and appears to be from the middle of 15th century in a Sufi shrines of Yemen. In Yemen, and East Africa, coffee was considered to be holy and was used in native religious ceremonies.

These ceremonies however conflicted vividly with the beliefs of the Christian Church of that time, so the Ethiopian Church banned completely the secular utilization of coffee. It was banned until the reign of the Emperor Menelik II. During the time of Ottoman Empire in turkey, in 17th century, coffee was also banned due to some political reasons.

In Europe as well, it was connected with different mutinous political conducts.


Spreading around the world

Coffee became very famous in England in the 16th century, and the credit goes to British East India Company. In 1654, Queen’s Lane Coffee House was established in Oxford which is still in existence today.

In France, coffee was introduced in 1657, and after the battle of Vienna, it was introduced in Austria and Poland. It was because when the Turk empire collapsed and the coffee was captured upon their defeat.

By the time, when coffee reached North America, it was a Colonial period and it wasn’t successful like it was in Europe. In North America, alcoholic beverages were still preferred.

During the time of Revolutionary War, the availability of the tea was reduced from the British merchants, therefore the demand of the coffee increased, and it did to some extent that the dealers had to store their limited supplies resulting the rise in prices.

In 1812, when the war finished, the Americans’ desire of coffee grew dramatically because of the temporary cut off to all tea imports from the Britain. Tea consumption grew as coffee consumption declined in England during the 18th century.

It is because the tea was easy and simple to make and was a lot cheaper than the coffee after British conquered India and their tea industry. During the era of Sail, coffee substitute was made by dissolving burnt bread in the hot water by the seamen aboard ships.

Gabriel de Clieu, a Frenchman went to the French territory of Martinique, which was in the Caribbean. He took a coffee plant along with him from which major part of the world’s cultivated Arabica coffee is descended.

Coffee blossomed in that climate and then was spread all across the America. In Brazil, coffee was first introduced in 1727, but the cultivation failed drastically until the independence in 1822. Only after that, big part of the rainforest was scarified from the vicinity of Rio and then from São Paulo.

It was because of the plantation of coffee in that area. The cultivation of the coffee spread vividly across Central America in the latter part of the 19th century. There were many bloody suppressions of peasants, and many uprisings because of some harsh conditions.

Coffee has now become a cash crop industry for various developing countries with over 100 million people depending upon the coffee as their main source of income.

It has become one of the major export item for many African countries like Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda. Many of the Central American countries are also in the list of exporters of coffee.