Coffee Facts

Some interesting coffee history and facts.

It is said that 850c is the date of the first discovery of coffee berries in history. This is according to the legend of a goat herder called Kaldi of Ethiopia who noticed his goats becoming energetic after eating the mysterious red berries of a shrub. Apparently Kaldi tried the berries for himself and noticed his own change of behaviour.

In 1100 first coffee trees were cultivated on the Arabian peninsula.

During this era, coffee was prepared by first roasting the beans and then boiling them with water. The method produced a beverage named “qahwa„ – Arabic for a beverage made from plants.

In 1475 the world’s first coffee shop opened in Constantinople, Turkey. The success of the café prompted two more coffee houses in the same area by 1554.

In 1600 coffee finally reached Europe via the port of Venice.

In 1607 coffee was launched in the New World (America as we know it today) by Captain John Smith, the founder of Virginia at Jamestown.

There are some Canadian historians who insist that coffee had already arrived in previously settled Canada.

In 1652 England experienced its first coffeehouse. Coffee shops were once known as ‘penny universities’ because a penny was charged for admission and included a cup of coffee. The now famous Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse began trading in 1688. It eventually became known as Lloyd’s of London, the world’s best known insurance company. That might also explain why England is known for its tea and not its coffee…somehow coffee machines and coffeehouses never quite replaced the ritual of leaf tea brewed in pots and teahouses.

The word “TIPS„ was coined in an English coffee shop. There was a sign which read: ‘To Insure Prompt Service’ (TIPS) placed alongside a cup. Those who wished for prompt service and better seating would throw a coin into the cup, and so it went.

In 1654 the first coffee house opened in Italy- today a country renowned for its coffee and coffee machines.

In 1672 the first café opened in Paris, beginning a tradition that would change the face of France.

In 1683 the first coffeehouse opened in Vienna. It is said that after the Turks were defeated in battle there they left sacks of coffee behind them.

In 1690 the Dutch established themselves as pioneers in transporting and cultivating coffee commercially. Coffee was apparently smuggled out of the Arabian port of Mocha and transported to Ceylon and East Indies for cultivation.

In 1713, King Louis XIV was presented with a coffee tree. Apparently he was the first to use sugar as an additive to the coffee beverage.

in 1721 Berlin celebrated its first coffeehouse. This was still way before the invention of the first coffee machine.

In 1723 coffee plants were farmed in the Americas. Gabriel de Clieu, a French naval officer, transported the crop as seedlings to Martinique. By 1777, 1920 million coffee plants were grown on the island.

In 1727 the Brazilian coffee industry commenced as a result of the farming of smuggled seeds from Paris.

In 1750 one of Europe’s first coffeehouses, Cafe Greco, opened in Rome. By 1763, Venice boasted over 2,000 coffee shops.

In 1822 the prototype of the first percolated coffee maker was created in France by Laurens, who introduced his idea in 1818. It was still a long way away from the first coffee machine.

In 1885 a process combining the use of natural gas and hot air was the most popular method of roasting coffee.

In 1900 Kaffeeklatsch – afternoon coffee – had been established as a popular, sophisticated pastime in Germany.

In 1905 the first commercial espresso machine was manufactured in Italy, as the result of a patent by Luigi Bezzer.

1908 saw the invention of the world’s first drip coffeemaker. Melitta Bentz, a German housewife and now a household name (Melitta), was responsible for discovering coffee filters using blotting paper.

In 1933 Dr. Ernest Illy developed the first automatic coffee machine. Illy Coffee is now found in coffee shops throughout the world.

In 1938 Nescafé instant coffee was invented by Nestlé as a solution to the problem of coffee surplus in Brazil…what a solution!

In 1946 Achilles Gaggia improved Pavoni’s development of the espresso machine with a piston that created a high pressure extraction to produce a thick layer of foam – crema.

By 1995 coffee had become the world’s most popular beverage.

More than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil.

The success of the coffee beverage and the growth of the coffee machine industry have many to thank, including the religion of Islam. As alcohol was outlawed, coffee became the accepted drink of choice. Coffee spread from the Muslim world to Europe.

Brazil remains the world’s largest coffee exporting nation, despite Nestlé’s efforts.

In 2005 the Dutch certification system called Max Havelaar gave rise to the concept of fair trade labeling, which guarantees coffee growers a negotiated pre-harvest price.

Black coffee –espresso – with no sugar added contains zero calories.

It takes 40 coffee beans for a coffee machine to make a single espresso.

Coffee makes the world go around.

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