Coffee, or java- as some people would call it, is a beverage that is treasured by many. Its discovery dates back to the 11th century. Legend has it that it was discovered in the south-western highlands of Ethiopia in a place called Kaffa, who are believed to be the first to use coffee as a stimulant. During this time, coffee berries would be ground and mixed with animal fat. Others would boil the berries and drink the brew.
The culture of coffee spread to the Arabian Peninsula in the 14th Century when Arab traders brought it home from Africa. Here, coffee brewing took a twist when roasting of green beans started. They were first roasted over open fire, ground and then brewed. The roasting process would later be improved to include the use of cooking pans. This new method enhanced the extraction of the magical coffee aroma resulting to increased popularity of the drink.
In Istanbul, coffee houses started to spring up and soon java became incorporated in the peoples’ culture where they would meet to read and play board games all day long. This is probably the first time coffee would be consumed throughout the day by a community. Europeans and travelers who visited Turkey got a taste of this magical drink and could not help but share the pleasure with fellow countrymen back home.
The 17th century was a very important time in the history of coffee. From the Arab countries, this enchanting beverage crisscrossed major European cities such as Vienna, London, Paris, and Hamburg. This saw the establishment of coffeehouses in Europe and North America. Wherever this drink was served, it became an instant hit and people loved it. In the 18th Century, coffee reached South America, which is home to the world’s leading producers.
Although coffee was at first considered a drink for the rich in the western world, it soon trickled down to the common man. By the 1800s, it became a major commodity in the world trade. The major break came with the 20th-century’s inventions of the coffee machines and the unique ways to roast fresh beans. These include the invention of the espresso and, 40 years later, the Cappuccino machines. Coffee could now be brewed commercially with convenience to the delight of clients and business owners.
Today, when people talk about coffee, the name Nescafe is ever close to their lips. This is a brand that was born out of the ingenious research by a team led by Max Morgenthaler, which discovered that coffee could be preserved by freezing it. The beans would then be processed to what is currently referred to as instant coffee. This was out of necessity as some of the world’s leading producers like Brazil produced excess coffee. This meant that coffee could be stored for longer periods and still maintain its aroma.
Another major discovery in coffee processing is how to decaffeinate it while retaining its aroma. This was discovered purely by accident when imported coffee beans were soaked with water while en route to German. The technology has been perfected over time and now those who have issues with taking caffeine can still enjoy caffeine-free java.
When the first automatic drip home coffee maker machine was finally released to the market, the consumption of this magical drink grew in leaps and bounds. People could now brew coffee at their home any time of the day with a lot of ease. On the other hand, coffeehouse owners also perfected the art of roasting fresh beans and grinding them into different textures to produce different tastes. This saw a significant growth in the number of coffee bars in cities across the world.
Many companies have emerged in the recent past and flooded the market with different varieties of coffee grinders. Today’s customer is spoilt for choice between automatic and manual appliances to grind java beans. Offices are also furnished with instant coffee machines which can brew a cup in seconds. Whether at home, workplaces or in town after a long day’s work, you are assured of a cup of java. This convenience has made coffee literary a ‘9 to 5’ drink, accessible to all.
The history of coffee continues to be written each passing day. Over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed annually across the globe. This is expected to grow as the world’s population continues to rise.
About The Author
Rudy Caretti has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK with a group of friends, who share the same passion.
Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many different distinctive flavors we all love.
As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role played by coffee in most people’s social life and he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.