The Incredible History of Coffee.

Kaldi and his dancing goats

The incredible history of coffee & the drinking of it dates back to the 15th Century in Yemen. Its popularity spread and reached Europe in the 17th century.

Since then coffee has been consumed by as many as one-third of the world’s population. All that incredible history of coffee for all to see.

Other sources believe coffee originated as much as a thousand years ago in Ethiopia. Here a legend was born from a Goat Herder by the name of Kaldi. This man was the first to discover the potential of coffee beans.

The story tells us that I observed that when his goats ate berries from a nearby Coffea Arabica tree, the fortune “Capra Aegagrus” became so energetic that they could not sleep and frolicked all night.

Naturally, Kaldi tried the fruit, and much to his enjoyment experienced the same reaction.

The legend further tells us that Kahdi took his discovery to the nearby monastery. Here the beans were brewed. The Monks were indeed impressed with the evening prayers and how they had remained incredibly alert throughout. Coffee as a beverage had arrived. The incredible history of coffee had begun.

Whichever is accurate, and I suspect there is truth in both theories allowed for the roots for the introduction of the phenomenon term of those times Coffee Houses.

Cafe culture dates back to Mecca, and the successful route from Yemen is spreading its magic through all of the Arab worlds towards the European capitals such as London, Rome, and Paris.

But Where did the name Coffee originate from?

Not an easy one to answer, with time many theories have evolved. The one that appears to be the most plausible theory is that the term was derived from the Italian word – Caffe in the late 15th Century.

The Italian word “Caffe” is believed to be originated from the Ethiopian word for a coffee bean, “Bunna.” Later the word changed under the Turkish Empire to “Kahve.” Then, the Italians came and changed it to “Caffe,” and finally, the British Empire changed it again to “Coffee.”

Imagine if the name had changed in our local Bunna House and asking for the next decaffeinated Bunna!

Head now to Europe in the 17th century; coffee has conquered Cairo, Constantinople and the Middle East. European history has taught us that the very same stimulating effect from the coffee bean was a welcome alternative for all levels of European societies. Intellectuals could stay alert and think much more clearly.

Previously they only had the option of frequenting Ale Houses and drinking traditional alcoholic beverages. We all know what happens to an intoxicated mind.

With coffee and the growing number of cafe establishments, our ancestors could now enjoy socialising and exchanging political views, with the bonus of remembering what they said a few hours before. Within a century being served coffee in a Cafe House became a natural part of their lives.

To this day we happily arrange meetings in Cafes to either pass the time of day, or to discuss and exchange ideas. They are an integral part of our everyday lives. The incredible history of coffee continues with us.

Even the art of making coffee has an incredible story.

When coffee beans initially arrived in Europe, the ground beans were boiled with water together very similar to the way of the Turkish style of brewing. A drawback for the Europeans was coffee brewed this way tended to leave a coarse texture and not conducive to the palates of many.

So the cleverness of the people from Vienna came to our rescue and decided to filter the beans. Bingo, now coffee truly had arrived. This filtering process became an overnight success. Add the inventions of Filtered Coffee Machines and Pressurized Coffee Machines that use steam to moisten our grounded coffee. Our world of coffee as we all know it had arrived.

Here follows a list of famous names who had a part to play in the incredible history of coffee with their passion for the humble coffee bean.

  • Pope Clement VIII (Papacy from 1592 to 1605) is reported to have commented: “Why this Satan’s drink is so delicious, it would be the pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.” We will fool Satan by baptising it and make it a truly Christian beverage.
  • Louis XV (French king from 1710 to 1774) grew his coffee beans in splendidly designed greenhouses on his palace grounds in Versailles. I have even handpicked, grounded, and roasted them himself. He was famous for serving his coffee to his numerous guests.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austrian Composer 1756 to 1791) lived in Vienna a hotbed of coffee shops. I have loved to socialise in many of the days. Soon coffee appeared in his works. “Cosi Fan Tutti” & “Don Giovanni” both leading characters were linked to either offering coffee in their imaginary homes.

A coffee drinker until the day he died.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte (Emperor of France 1769 to 1821) could not live without his coffee, nor his love for politics and beautiful women. He was known to have requested a small spoonful of coffee while lying on his deathbed. His parting words “I would rather suffer from coffee than be senseless.”
  • Johannes Sebastian Bach (German Composer 1685 to 1750) loved his coffee so much, in 1732 he wrote an opera to celebrate it. He called his creation “Coffee Cantata.” Its a story of a father whose coffee addicted daughter quarrels with him about her addiction. He commands she gives up her love for coffee. But she secretly hunts down another addicted coffee drinker to marry her. The ending song rejoices in the benefits of drinking coffee.

In Conclusion to the incredible history of coffee.

We have quickly discovered we could write forever on this remarkable history of coffee and the overall inspiration and creativity that has come from it. We suspect we could research hundreds of more cases of well known influential people who like loved coffee as much as we do.

Calibri thought it would be exciting to explore your stories of what coffee means to you. Have you an unknown quote from someone you have known that you would love to share.

Click on the link and tell us about your relationship with coffee. We promise to create a list of the best and soon will publish to you.


Throughout November and December, we will be publishing more Blogs/articles for you to explore. Why not sit with your favourite brew in one hand and your mobile device in the other hand.

Here is one that introduces the Englishman who loves coffee. But there was a time when he did not. Why not delve into the journey of this coffee drinker.

An Englishman’s Journey with the World of Coffee.

What is Coffee?

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16 thoughts on “The Incredible History of Coffee.”

  1. Pingback: What is Coffee?
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