Botanical evidence indicates that Coffea Arabica originated on the plateaus of central Ethiopia, several thousand feet about sea level where it still grows wild.
Yemen (just across the ocean) started cultivating the plant in the sixth century.
Coffee cultivation was restricted to Arabia until around 1650 when a Muslim pilgrim from India named Baba Budan, smuggled some seed out of Arabia, planting them in Southern India where they flourished.
Europeans then tried and failed to cultivate seeds in Europe. The Dutch eventually carried coffee to Sri Lanka, then to Java where coffee growing was established on a commercial basis at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Coffee was then became primarily shipped from either from Mocha, the main port of Yemen – or from Java. Hence the famous, and first known, blend of Mocha Java.
Louis XIV of France managed to procure a tree from the Dutch (where it had come across the sea from Java to Holland then overland to France). In 1715 the first greenhouse in Europe was constructed to grow coffee.
The first sprouts of the arabica tree reached Martinique in the Caribbean in about 1720. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu stole some trees from Paris, with only one of them surviving the arduous journey across the sea. It is said that the ship was attacked by pirates then damaged by a severe storm – leaving water rations very low for the remainder of the journey. Gabriel risked his own life sharing his water ration with his remaining plant.
Fifty years later coffee cultivation was well established in the Caribbean, Haiti and Mexico, where it continued to spread through South America.
Finally in 1893, a coffee seed from Brazil was introduced in Tanzania – bringing it all the way back to Africa.