Botanical evidence indicates that coffeea arabica originated on the plateaus of central Ethiopia, several thousand feet about sea level where it still grows wild.
Some time around 500AD it is thought the plant was sent to Yemen, where, by the sixth century it was being cultivated.
Coffee was primarily consumed in the Islamic world, where it originated, and was directly related to religious practices – originally in Yemen’s Sufi monastaries.
Coffee was introduced to Constantinople in 1453, where the Turks added clove, cardamom, cinnamon and anise. The world’s first coffee shop “Kiva Han” opened in 1475. Turkish law made it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he failed to provide her with sufficient coffee.
However, Arabia and Muslim Africa kept a monopoly on coffee production. Laws forbade the export of fertile beans.
The word “TIPS” was coined in a London coffee house. A sign reading “To Insure Prompt Service” (TIPS) was placed by a coffee cup. Those wanting prompt service and better seating threw a coin into the cup.
A Muslim pilgrim from India named Baba Budan, smuggled seven coffee beans out of Arabia. He planted them in Southern India where they flourished. This is where “Seven Seeds” references come from in coffee.In 1616, Pieter van den Broecke, a Dutch merchant, obtained some closely guard coffee bushes from Yemen and grew in the in the Amsterdam Botanical gardens. In 1658, the Dutch used these bushes to establish coffee cultivation in Sri Lanka.
Ethiopian attitudes softened toward coffee drinking (likely due to Emperor Menilek who drank it himself)
In 1818, the coffee percolater was invested by Laurens, a Parisian metal-smith.
In 1864, Jabez Burns of New York invented the first coffee roaster that did not have to be moved away from the fire for discharging roasted coffee.
1865, John Arbuckle marketed the first commercially available packages of
ground, roasted coffee – branded “Ariosa”.
In order to try and prolong the freshness of roasted coffee, John Arbuckle invented a glaze to pour over the ground coffee (1 quart of water, one ounce of Irish moss, half an ounce of isinglass, half an ounce of gelatin, one ounce of white sugar and 24 eggs per 100 pounds of coffee).
In 1884, Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy was granted a patent for “new steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage” – the first official espresso machine.
in the USA, the first commercially produced instant coffee – call “Red E Coffee”
was invented by George Constant Washington – marketed in 1909.
Nestle was approached by the Instituto do Café (Brazilian Coffee Institute) to help find a solution to their coffee surpluses in 1930. Nescafe (instant coffee) was launched on 1st April 1938 in Switzerland then later in Britain.
The mid 1990s is seen as the dark age of coffee. While good coffee was still available if you knew where to look (or how to produce it), most consumption in the USA was of robusta based instant coffee – where consumers were looking for the “hit” rather than the flavour and experience.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea store, opened in 1966 by Alfred Peet (later dubbed the “grandfather of specialty coffee”), inspired a number of customers who became key players in the specialty sector by developing a distinctive style of artisan coffee roasting.
In 1971, two of Peet’s customers – Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, opened their own coffee shop in Seattle, called Starbucks, later bought and franchised by Howard Schultz in the 1980s.
In 1972, the first automatic drip home coffee maker “Mr. Coffee” was introduced by Vincent Marotta.