Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia a long time ago, and from Ethiopia, it spread all around the world, particularly after people found out what a great beverage roasted beans made. The more popular coffee became, the more businessmen realized its potential for commerce, and the more coffee started to have a greater impact on the lives of people, up to the point that it influenced the course of history and changed it entirely.
Yes, the world was never going to be the same again after the discovery of coffee. Here are some of the most interesting things about coffee that have shaped the working world and the lives of people throughout time. This is part I.
- Popular legend has it that when coffee cherries were first discovered, they were condemned as the devil’s work because of the exuberant feeling they induced.
- Initially, the coffee beverage was made by boiling the leaves of the coffee plant, and people consumed this concoction for hundreds of years until roasted beans were discovered.
- The Galla tribe, known as one of the most ancient existing races, used the red coffee cherries to make power bars by mixing them with ghee butter. In some parts of Ethiopia, similar snack bars are still consumed today.
- In 1100 Arab traders returning from Ethiopia with coffee started cultivating the plant and made a drink they called “qahwa,” also a term they used for wine. Qahwa was made by boiling the coffee beans in water, while a wine-like beverage was made by fermenting the pulp.
- In 1453 the Turks of Constantinople introduced other Turks to a new way of enjoying coffee, which was with spices such as cardamom, anise, cinnamon, and clove.
- Not a year later, coffee houses were established in Mecca where coffee played an important role during religious meetings.
- In Constantinople, starting 1475 women became legally allowed to divorce their husband if he proved unable to provide coffee for his wife.
- Coffee was banned for the first time in 1511 by Khayr Bey, the governor of Mecca because he feared that coffee could make people turn against his rule. Sultan of Cairo had him executed in response and coffee gained further influence.
- Around 1555 chief coffee makers became popular at the courts and were assigned to brew coffee for sultans and patrons and keeping their secrets. Some would become Grand Viziers, which was another title for prime minister of the sultan.
- Through Istanbul and all the merchants and travelers passing through the city, coffee made its way to Europe and other parts of the world.
Venice was introduced to coffee in 1570, although at first, it was only available to the wealthy because they were the only ones who afforded it. Venetian merchants who had travelled through Istanbul brought this popular find home, where it was sold initially on the street by premier lemonade vendors.
After the first coffeehouse opened in 1645, Italy experienced an increasing popularity of coffee, so much so that Pope Clement VIII himself tried the “devil’s concoction” and liked it so much he decided to make it a Christian beverage and baptized it. Christians have been able to enjoy coffee guilt-free ever since.
To be continued…