Brief History of Coffee Cultivation

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world today and one of the world’s most important commodities traded in the market. But did it ever occur to you how all the hype for coffee cultivation started?

The first coffee houses were opened in Mecca around 1100 AD, it has been said that trade ships brought the coffee beans to them. They created beverages s by roasting and boiling the beans which they called ‘gahwa’ meaning to prevent sleep. They initially made wines and medicines out of it, but later came up with the idea to make it a drink. Coffee became very famous in Arabia afterwards.

Coffee cultivation were Arabs’ pride since it was originally almost exclusive to them, but later on it reached the Dutch colonies in India and Java around 1615. Britain was the first country in Europe to open a CafĂ© in 1651. Around 1700, there were over 3000 coffee houses which had upper middle classes as customers.

Everywhere they went, they brought coffee along with them. It ultimately made its way into India, North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and then reached Yemen around 1400 AD.

Other countries wanted to cultivate these beans but the Arabs held control of it and were very uptight in guarding it. They even killed the seed-germ so nobody else would be able to grow the coffee if taken elsewhere. Thus, Yemen is where the main source of coffee stayed for several hundred years, but the beans were finally smuggled out by pilgrims and travelers in spite of all their efforts to keep the beans to themselves.

The Dutch were able to send some beans to Java (Indonesia) in the late 1600’s which made way for the worldwide spread of coffee cultivation. In the late 1700’s, coffee became popular across Europe and coffee houses opened in Italy, Austria and England. Coffee cultivation was brought by the French to Martinique around 18th Century, and just by the end of the century, there were already millions of coffee producers in Central America and South America .

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Brazil has become the biggest producer of coffee worldwide. It was so commercial that many countries, such as Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India, then started to plant coffee beans. Since early 20th century, US became the largest coffee importing country. Today, coffee is so popular that coffee shops can be seen almost everywhere.

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