Ahhhhh, coffee... a fantastic dark beverage that wakes us up
in the morning. For some of us, it keeps us up during the day,
or for late night study sessions. We drink it out of habit,
we drink it from addiction, we drink it for flavor; whatever
the reason, it is surely a popular beverage. So where did
this famed drink come from?
Coffee, for Americans, is three hundred years old. In the
East it was widespread at every level of society, since the
earlier era. The most notable dates point to around
800b.c. However, Homer, and according to Arabian tales
of a mysterious bitter black beverage with powers of
stimulation that could have been this drink.
About the year 1000, coffee was being used for medicinal
purposes. In 1400 a Yemeni goat herder observed his flock
eating reddish berries, then becoming excited and restless.
After relating his observations to a monk, they boiled
the berries and made a beverage that could disperse
sleep and weariness. No matter how it actually was
created, the fact remains that the coffee plant
started in Africa, in an Ethiopian region known as Kaffa.
From there it spread to Egypt, Yemen, and Arabia, where it
became a part of daily life.
In the late 1500s coffee was a commodity, being sold in
Europe. However, due to an increasing demand for the new
beverage, and high taxes on shipping, there was
experimentation with growing the crops in various other
countries. Much later, around 1727 coffee growing started in
Northern Brazil. By the 20th century, various forms of
coffee were developed for the public.
Decaffeinated coffee was first founded in 1903 when
Ludwig Roselius, a German coffee importer, gave a batch of
damaged coffee beans to researchers. They developed the
process of taking the caffeine out of the beans without
losing any flavor. This was marketed in the 1920s.
Instant coffee was first mass produced from the invention of
George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in
Guatemala. While waiting for his wife one day to join him
outside for coffee, he observed on the spout of the silver
coffee urn, a fine powder, which looked to be the
condensation of the coffee vapors. This excited him and
led to his founding of soluble coffee.
In 1906 he started experiments and put his invention, Red E
Coffee, in the markets in 1909. Nestle', in 1938, trying to
aid Brazil with their coffee surpluses created freeze-dried
coffee. Nescafe was started and first introduced into
Switzerland. Instant coffee became a fad after 1956 when
commercial television was the new craze.
And now in the US alone, 400 billion cups of coffee a year
are consumed. Coffee is one of the world's largest
commodities, second only to oil. From a remote area in
Africa, to millions of shelves and homes worldwide, coffee
has became a fixture everywhere.
The author has been a passionate coffee drinker for many
years. She has tasted coffees from all over the world, and
believes in serving and entertaining her guests with only the
She has catered hundreds of events and affairs and is
known for her attention to details, especially regarding
picking the perfect coffee.
Irene D. Hope is founder of All Special Coffee an
excellent resource site dedicated to information about