Coffee In Europe
Coffee first came to Europe through the port of Venice. Because of their vibrant trade with North Africa, it was through these Venetian merchants that coffee was introduced to the rest of Europe. In 1600, Pope Clement VIII, baptized the drink – making it more acceptable to European markets.
The first European coffee houses started opening, circa 1645, in Italy. In 1652, Pasqua Rosee (the proprietor) and Daniel Edwards (a trader in Turkish goods) opened the first reported coffee shop at St Michael’s Alley in Cornhill, England. Coffee became so popular, that within 100 years, at least 3,000 coffee houses were operating in England. In France, coffee became a popular drink for the Parisians by 1670, after being introduced by an ambassador of Mehmed IV. Vienna had its first coffee shop open in 1683. In a short time coffee and coffee houses spread throughout Europe. Coffee had arrived as a popular drink, and a traded commodity.
Coffee Around The World
Coffee’s popularity coincided with the age of exploration. Hence, the rapid spread of the coffee plant throughout the world. The Dutch played a major role in bringing the plant to its trading partners, especially in India and Asia. The French are given credit for first introducing the plant to the Americas, but all of the colonial powers were influential in the spread of the coffee plant.
Today, coffee is grown throughout the world in mountainous regions between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The largest producer is Brazil, though there are many other medium to small regional growers around the world.
Coffee has had a long journey since Kaldi the goat herder first experienced coffee’s wonderful and magical nuances.
There are several legends concerning the origins of coffee, but they all seem to include Kaffa, an Ethiopian goat herder who was seen in a meadow dancing with his goats by an imam from a nearby monastery. Finding that both Kaffa and the goats had eaten red berries from a small tree, he gathered some of the berries and took them back to the monastery. After some experimentation, parching, and boiling, the imams came up with a palatable drink.
The Early Spread of Coffee
The first recorded mention of coffee comes in the tenth century, from a Persian physician, Razi. Very little more was recorded until the 14th Century when a Kurdish poet, Malaye Jaziri, wrote a book on the history and legal controversies of coffee.
By the fifteen hundreds coffee had spread across the Muslim world. Yemen merchants brought coffee from Ethiopia, grew it themselves, and began exporting their new product northward through the Saudi Peninsula. The first coffee house on record is Istanbul’s Keva Han, in 1471. The spread of this product, however, was not without problems: while it seems the Sufis of earlier times took to this new drink because of its ability to ward off sleep and help in meditation, many imams were concerned about its stimulating effects. Though its acceptance was slow in the Middle East, coffee was to become an important social and economic factor.
Coffee is still widely used in the Middle East, and today there are many different ways to roast and prepare it. Some of the fun of being a roaster is knowing that the coffees we roast come with such a rich and fascinating history, spanning many centuries, and many of the world’s great cultures.
In Part II we will cover the introduction of coffee to Western Europe.