History of Coffee. Caffeine in a Bean. Coffee is a great source of caffeine, but where did it originate? Who discovered the Coffee and how did it get from that place to us? Find out! One of the world’s most popular beverages originated in Ethiopia and is believed to have been cultivated for the first time in the Middle East in the year 850 AD.
The Origin of Coffee
The origin of coffee is lost in the timeless legends of the Middle East. One of these legends says that some monks, after observing the liveliness of their sheep which had eaten coffee cherries, began to eat the cherries to help keep themselves awake through long nights of prayer.
When Did People First Start Drinking Coffee?
Consumption of coffee probably began by the 6th century AD. Coffee appears in a medical manuscript dated 900 AD. It was at first used as a food, as a medicine and as an ingredient in wine. Coffee as a beverage similar to that of today appeared around the year 1300. In the middle 1600s the beverage was introduced into Europe and North America.
When it became known that roasting coffee beans brought out their flavor, roasted beans were crushed, boiled in water, and then consumed grounds and all. Spices were often added. In Egypt soon after 1600, sugar was added to cut the bitterness of coffee. The use of milk became common in the late 1600s.
Another story; 1 000 years ago, in the Ethiopian hills, a herd of goats kept a shepherd up at night after feasting on red coffee berries. The shepherd took his animals’ discovery to some monks. The monks brewed the beans into a hot drink, and discovered that the drink would keep them awake during long hours of prayer.
How Coffee Traveled
Until the 17th century all coffee came from Arabia. Dutch merchants spread cultivation to the East Indies. Coffee cultivation began in the Americas in the early 1700s.
Most of the coffee trees of the Western Hemisphere are said to be descended from a single plant. It was carried from a botanical garden in France to the island of Martinique in the West Indies by Capt. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, a young military officer. He kept the tree alive during a voyage by sharing with it his limited ration of drinking water.
Coffee cultivation spread through the West Indies in the next few years. Coffee was first grown in Brazil in 1729. Since the mid-1800s Brazil has been the world’s leading coffee-growing nation. Between 1850 and 1900 other Latin American nations developed coffee plantations. Coffee-growing began in central Africa about 1900.
Coffee is unusual because its cultivation, harvesting, and much of its processing remain largely untouched by machines. Some 20 growing and processing steps lie between the coffee tree and the steaming cup on the counter.
Since it was discovered, coffee has traveled all over the world. Not bad, for a bean.
Different Types of Coffee
Coffee is a wonderful substance, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand the precise differences between different varieties. Discover those distinctions here.
An instant classic, the Americano is straight, black coffee topped up with water. In many coffee outlets you can choose to have it with either hot or cold milk on the side. This is potentially one of the lowest-calorie coffee options. Depending on what you’re used to, what size you order and how much milk you have it can have a fairly strong taste. You can drink an Americano black, with hot or cold milk or with pouring cream.
Although it contains more calories than an Americano, luxurious Lattes are a popular choice the world over. A Latte is prepared by making an espresso shot in a large cup or mug and topping it up with aerated hot milk, generally arriving to your table an alluring hazelnut colour. Lattes are perfect for adding flavoured syrups to and can be made with semi-skimmed, skimmed (“skinny”) or soya milk.
The Cappuccino is perhaps the most famous and popular coffee. Made similarly to a Latte, the espresso shot is topped up by half with aerated hot milk, and half by a more solid, foamed milk. Many outlets also add chocolate powder or flakes to add an extra delicious twist. Flavoured syrups can be added to Cappuccinos and they can be made with whole, semi-skimmed, skimmed (“skinny”) or soya milk.
Espresso is the simplest and strongest form of coffee you can get. Served in small quantities of either one shot (“Single”) or two shots (“Double”), it is the perfect morning pick-me-up. Be warned, however, it is very strong. Espresso is also the perfect post-meal coffee; full flavour, minimal intake after a big meal.
A truly indulgent treat for lovers of coffee and chocolate alike, this sumptuous drink contains the two. Made similarly to a Latte, chocolate is mixed with espresso and topped up with aerated warm milk. Many outlets also add chocolate sprinkles to this one, to give it an extra naughty edge.