Not many consumers who drink coffee know about the history of their money drink and it connection to Africa. If you ask a person today about coffee the first thing that may come into their mind is Italian espresso or latte with a french croissant. Not many people know that the coffee bean has a history beyond Europe and the Americas.
The first question we must ask ourselves is were is coffee from? The first coffee imports into Europe came from East Africa. In the hills of the mountains of East Africa is where the coffee bush plant grows and where it was discovered that the fruit of this tree harvests a bean with magical powers. The story goes that in the 12th century goat or camel header in the area around Eyger Ethiopia. He noted that his animals were eating the raw coffee bean becoming frisky.
People then started eating the cherry bean of the bush, they took it to keep themselves awake. The Muslim holy men took it on their long pilgrimage. The believed it had medicinal properties. Roasting of the bean came later in history. From east Africa north the coffee bean as a substance spread to the Ottaman Empire. Coffee houses were common up to the red sea area these being places to relax it was a social. The area Moca began to be know for coffee in the 12th century. In the 16th century along the pray routes coffee houses became established and at the ports. Slaves attended the crops at this time. Ports Constantinople to continental Europe west and to Venice.
The Rise Of The Coffee Houses
Coffee arrived in London around 1652 coffee houses spread once the bean used as a drink began to be known as a good alternative non alcoholic way to stay alert as apposed to the alcoholic drinks. The drink become know widely as a cure for different ailment, selling it as a medical cure for gout, wind, stones. Claims to keep you awake. The wakeful substance. Work practice this is how they marketed coffee as a medicine.
A well know coffee house at the time was Jonathan and others were springing up on every corner for different types of business. Rapid growth occurred over ten years. The numbers went from 10 to 83. Stock brokers meet over the exclusive Llyods list which was value information. Coffee house for the Virginia company. There was the Baltic company coffee house for another example. Traders met. Coffee was made with powder. It was stale due to the long transport and the direct boiling method meant that the product was harsh in taste probably more burnt in taste then favourful. Milk has been used in coffee to take away the bitter taste of some of the final products taste. This has probably been the same for tea. Where as during a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, some fresh coffee is brewed while incense is lit nearby and is often served with snacks such as popcorns.
West Africa Cooks