Origins of Coffee

The principal coffee variety Coffee Arabica that is consumed by more than 75% of worldwide coffee enthusiasts has its origins in what is now Yemen. Yemenis graduated to trading in coffee and countries like Turkey, Persia (present day Iran), Syria, and Egypt gradually adopted it by the turn of the 16th century.

Its popularity in the Arabian Gulf countries reached dizzy heights probably because Muslims found coffee to be a stimulating substitute of alcohol that was prohibited by the Koran.

Although Ghana, Brazil and Colombia might be the leading coffee producers, the lineage of all the coffee plants can be sourced back to the forests of the Ethiopian highlands.


European travellers and conquistadors not only brought home the yarns of the black beverage but bagfuls of coffee beans as well.

The beverage was catching the imagination of the public in Europe faster than it had in the Arabian Peninsula and the Pope Clement VIII was forced to intervene when the clergy in Venice were demanding a ban on it. He ended up giving his Papal consent as he found the beverage thoroughly invigorating.

Centres of trade and commerce and social circles soon developed around coffee in England, France, Holland, and Germany and many businesses some of which exists still to this day originated from such centres.

The Dutch are credited with shattering the Arabian cartel and they were the first to bring coffee to New Amsterdam in America that was rechristened as New York by the English in the 17th cent. Again, it was Dutch who took the beans to Far East and can take the credit for spreading it to the Caribbeans, Central, Latin, and South America.

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