Today, it is believed that the origins of coffee date back to the 9th century. According to legend, Ethiopian goatherds observed that their goats were particularly lively after eating the red fruit of a particular shrub. As a result, the goat herders soon tried the fruit themselves. Since they did not like the bitter taste, they threw the fruit into the fire, accidentally discovering its wonderful fragrance. The shepherds then began to roast the coffee beans, brewing a delicious drink from them. This is how coffee was born!
A Drink Enjoyed Around the World
Coffee spread first from Ethiopia and was immediately taken up in the Middle East. On the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East, coffee quickly became very popular.
In the 16th century, coffee arrived in Europe. Contrary to popular belief, it was not the siege of Vienna that was decisive for the spread of coffee in Europe. Rather, European scholars brought the drink back from their travels in the Middle East.
At that time, coffee was enjoyed primarily by the aristocracy and the upper bourgeoisie. In the middle of the 17th century, the first coffee houses had arrived in France, Italy and England. Poorer citizens often resorted to coffee alternatives such as chicory or malt coffees, which today enjoy steadily increasing popularity. Real coffee was often drunk on Sundays and on special occasions.
How Coffee Grows
Originally the coffee plant grew exclusively in the Middle East and Africa. For economic reasons, the French and Dutch started to cultivate coffee plants in their overseas colonies. The Portuguese then brought the plant to Brazil. In South America, coffee plants spread simultaneously within the European colonies. This is a particularly dark chapter in the history of coffee, as African slaves toiled on the Caribbean and Latin American plantations under terrible conditions.
There are several types of coffee. The most important types are Arabica and Robusta beans, which have several distinguishing characteristics:
Arabica : This variety is considered the highest quality. It dominates around 60 percent of trade around the world. As it grows mainly in the highlands of Brazil, Colombia and Kenya, it is also called highland coffee. This type of coffee is noted for its acidity and slight bitterness. It has light, fruity notes.
Robusta : This coffee variety grows in regions up to 600 meters high and is more resistant and productive than the Arabica plant. The taste is characterized by less acidity and stronger bitterness. Robusta beans give coffee its full body.
Coffee is one of the most important products for developing countries today. About 25 million people around the world work in coffee cultivation, processing and sales. Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer, followed by Vietnam and Colombia. Fair trade coffee is also becoming more popular. The designation "fair trade" means that a much larger percentage of the coffee sales remain with the coffee farmers and plantation workers.
Facts About Coffee:
Did you know that ...
... the famous French writer Honoré de Balzac allegedly drank 50 cups of coffee a day?
... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe initiated the discovery of caffeine in coffee?
... the Swedish king Gustav III. had an experiment done to prove that coffee was deadly? Don't worry, everyone survived ;)
... Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a coffee cantante?
... the word mocha comes from the name of the Yemeni port city al-Mukha?
... coffee grounds are an excellent garden fertilizer due to their high content of organically bound nitrogen?