History of Coffee

Posted by Thomas Minieri on

We all know someone - or are that someone - that looooves coffee. For some, it’s a necessity to get them up and out in the morning, but for others it’s a lifestyle. Whether you’re a regular coffee drinker or fueling a full-blown coffee obsession, there’s no doubting that this caffeinated beverage is constantly on our minds, in our presence or filling our cups. How much do we even know about coffee though? For something that’s so omni-present in our society it can be shocking to realize that there’s a lot the average person doesn’t know about coffee.

Luckily for you, Highfalutin Coffee turned coffee into not only our drink of choice, but our chosen lifestyle! So, keep reading to find our how coffee came to be the beverage we drink and love today.

Before There was Coffee…

To start, what exactly is coffee anyway? The coffee that we’re familiar with is actually a cherry-like fruit. When this fruit becomes ripe it turns red and a coffee bean can be found at its center. Before any kind of beverage was created using the coffee bean, early humans actually utilized the coffee fruit. Humans would mix the coffee berries with animal fat to create a protein-rich and energizing snack bar.

Eventually, humans began using the coffee fruit to create a beverage - but it wasn’t exactly what we think of when we think ‘coffee’. This early beverage was actually made by fermenting the pulp from the coffee berries and created a beverage that was more similar to wine than coffee. Later, around the year 1000 A.D., humans began creating a unique drink that used all the parts of the coffee fruit - the berry, bean and hull.

The Rise of Coffee

What do ‘qahwah’, ‘kahveh’ and ‘koffie’ all have in common? They are all words that eventually evolved into the English word ‘coffee’. First, the Arabic word ‘qahwah’ was used to describe the wine-like drink that was made from the coffee fruit, once this word made its way to Turkey, however, it became ‘kahveh’. Eventually, the Dutch translated ‘kahveh’ into ‘koffie’ which is where the English word ‘coffee’ came from!

The 13th century is widely believed to be the first time that a beverage more similar to what we know as coffee was created. People began to roast their coffee beans which is the critical first step in making our beloved beverage. The modern version of what we know of as coffee originated in Arabia during the 13th century. The popularity of coffee spread throughout the Muslim community because they liked the stimulation it provided them, especially during long prayer sessions. In fact, there was a time during this period of history where Arabia actually had a monopoly over this stimulating beverage. People in Arabia would render coffee beans infertile by parching and boiling them, so that they could control the spread and growth of the plant. Prior to the 1600’s, it is believed that coffee plants did not even exist outside of Arabia or Africa. It was not until fertile beans were smuggled into other countries that the coffee trade spread to other parts of the world, creating a new competitive landscape.

The Spread of Coffee

During the 1600’s the Dutch started the first European-owned coffee estate located in Sri Lanka and eventually spread out to additional areas. Other European countries like France and Spain eventually followed and coffee operations began to pop up in places like Brazil, the Caribbean and Central America. The influx in the availability of coffee made it possible for its popularity to spread throughout Europe. By the 1700’s neighborhood coffee houses were popular in Italy, France and other European countries. Having a cup of coffee at a café became a part of the lifestyle in these European countries, especially in cities like Paris.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that coffee plants reached America, although the drink didn’t become very popular until after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. The Boston Tea Party introduced the idea that switching from tea to coffee was an important part of showing off your patriotism, which helped the drink become more widespread. Another important historical event that helped to boost the popularity and sales of coffee in America was the Civil War. During this time, soldiers came to rely on coffee for the much-needed caffeine boost it provided them.

Eventually, during the 19th century, coffee was a staple in American life. Coffee gained the level of popularity in America that the European countries had experienced for centuries. At this time, coffee was not only a favorite beverage among Americans, but it also earned a new level of competition as entrepreneurs flocked to profit off of this new commodity. Towards the end of the 19th century, entrepreneurs that would eventually become major household coffee names were in business, such as Folgers and Maxwell House.

For a long time, regular coffee remained the most popular coffee-beverage choice among Americans. By the 1900’s, coffee was a regular part of many American adult’s daily routines at home, the office and in public gathering places. Towards the 1960’s, American’s infatuation with specialty coffee drinks had reached a new level, inspiring the start of well-known specialty coffee chains and the introduction of more complex drinks.

Today, coffee remains an extremely popular beverage choice among people for a variety of reasons. Some people turn to coffee when they are seeking a boost of caffeine, some crave the unique flavor and others love coffee because of the coffee culture that surrounds it. Whether you’re sharing a cup of coffee surrounded by friends and good conversation, enjoying quiet time alone or finding solace in a cup while pounding our amazing content, there is something that indulging in coffee provides that other beverages simply don’t. Enjoy your favorite cup today with us at Highfalutin Coffee!

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