The Caffeinated History of Coffee
The history of coffee is intriguing, and the bean has completely transformed the economies and cultures of many nations around the world. Coffee grown worldwide today can be traced back to the Ethiopian plateaus of East Africa. Coffee was cultivated locally in Africa before being dispersed worldwide to the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and America.
Today, many varieties of coffee are sold, including Arabica, Bourbon, Typica, and Catuai. These coffee types, plus many others, are sold by Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea. They have developed strong relationships with coffee producers worldwide and are committed to providing high-quality, delicious products that have been ethically sourced.
The Origins of Coffee
Coffee can trace its roots back centuries to the Ethiopian and Yemen regions. Legends indicate that a local goat herder named Kaldi discovered the beans when he noticed his herd of goat’s behavior become a little more rambunctious than they usually would be after consuming mysterious cherries from a low hanging tree. Kaldi collected the coffee cherries and took them to a local monk who was knowledgeable in the ways of plants and herbs to learn more. A short time later, the monk and Kaldi shared the first cup of what the world would come to know as coffee.
With thousands of Pilgrims visiting Mecca, word of coffee quickly began to spread to other parts of the world. Coffee beans then made their way to the Arabian Peninsula, where coffee was first cultivated for commercial consumption in the 15th century. By the 16th century, coffee was consumed in private homes and sold in public coffee houses. These coffee houses were famous and became a hub of social activity. Coffee houses became important centers for information exchange and learning throughout the Near East and the Middle East.
History of Coffee in Europe
European travelers brought back coffee to Europe from the Near East in the 17th century. People were initially suspicious of coffee, with some clergy members condemning the beans when it first came to Italy in 1615. The beverage grew in popularity despite the initial controversy, and coffee houses quickly sprung up in Germany, France, Austria, England, and other countries.
Alcoholic drinks that were commonly consumed during breakfast were quickly replaced by coffee. People consumed coffee because it kept them alert and energized throughout the day, the same reasons it is still popular today. By the mid-17th century, it is estimated that there were over 300 coffee shops in London, many of which became a central meeting point for merchants, brokers, shippers, and artists.
Today, coffee houses are still prevalent throughout Europe. While many other countries have adopted a “coffee-to-go” culture, many Europeans still prefer to consume the beverage with friends at a local shop. The most popular coffee types in Europe today include espresso, cortado, flat white, and latte.
History of Coffee in America
In 1723, a naval officer managed to transport coffee beans to America for the first time when he reached the island of Martinique. Once planted, the coffee beans thrived, and over 18 million coffee trees sprung up on the island in the next 50 years. These first coffee plants in Martinique are considered the predecessors of all coffee grown throughout America today.
Missionaries, traders, and sailors continued to travel widely, and coffee seeds were quickly introduced to new lands. Large plantations were established in many tropical locations in the Americas. Some plants thrived, while others never managed to grow for more than a few seasons. By the end of the 18th century, coffee was widely traded, and the plant became one of the most profitable export crops worldwide. After crude oil, coffee is currently the most traded commodity in the world.
Coffee Houses and Café Culture
Coffee culture is defined as a set of rituals and social activities associated with the consumption of coffee. Coffee houses have become a symbol of social activity throughout much of the world, and the adoption of coffee throughout the globe is unparalleled by any other beverage.
Many coffee trends permeate throughout the world, and coffee culture dates back centuries. Coffee culture can be traced back to the 16th century in Turkey. Coffeehouses were also found in Europe starting in the 17th century. These establishments were considered social hubs of artistic and intellectual life. By the 18th century, coffee culture became well established in several cities in Europe, particularly in London. These establishments sold specialty coffees and were the precursor of modern-day coffee houses. For example, Lloyds of London is a current-day insurance provider started as a coffee shop in London in 1686.
Today, independent coffee houses and massive, international coffee houses such as Starbucks are found in every country in the world. Coffee consumption is widespread in the U.S. and Europe and is often associated with modern coffeehouses, espresso stands, and alternative brewing companies. Billions of people around the globe start each day by visiting a local shop to purchase a cup of coffee. Coffee consumption is ritualistic for many people and has come to symbolize productivity and alertness in many countries.
Purchase Coffee from a Respected Coffee Distributor
Are you looking for a coffee distributor that respects the history of coffee and incorporates ancient techniques into their modern-day practices? Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea believes in growing coffee with sustainable farming practices with minimal interventions. Visit our online store today to purchase a variety of types of coffee that are ethically sourced and produced in conjunction with sustainable farming practices.
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