A Brief History of Coffee

This photograph is from a Brazilian coffee farm in the 1880s

This photograph is from a Brazilian coffee farm in the 1880s

Prior to 1000 AD: Members of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia notice that they got an energy boost when they eat a certain berry, ground up and mixed with animal fat. 


1000 AD: Arab traders bring coffee back to their homeland and cultivate the plant for the first time on plantations. They also began to boil the beans, creating a drink they call "qahwa" (literally, that which prevents sleep). 


1453: Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, open there in 1475. Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce their husband if he fails to provide her with her daily quota of coffee. 


1600: Coffee, introduced to the West by Italian traders, grabs attention in high places. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII is urged by his advisers to consider that favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire part of the infidel threat. However, he decides to "baptize" it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.

1607: Captain John Smith helps to found the colony of Virginia at Jamestown. It's believed that he introduced coffee to North America.

1645: First coffeehouse opens in Italy.

1652: First coffeehouse opens in England. Coffee houses multiply and become such popular forums for learned and not so learned - discussion that they are dubbed "penny universities" (a penny being the price of a cup of coffee).

1668: Coffee replaces beer as New York City's favorite breakfast drink. 


1672: First coffeehouse opens in Paris.

1713: The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV of France with a coffee bush whose descendants will produce entire Western coffee industry when in 1723 French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu do Clieu steals a seedling and transports it to Martinique. Within 50 years and official survey records 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the world's coffee spreads from this plant.

1721: First coffee house opens in Berlin.

1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America.

1903: German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius turns a batch of ruined coffee beans over to researchers, who perfect the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying the flavor. He markets it under the brand name "Sanka." Sanka is introduced to the United States in 1923.

1920: Prohibition goes into effect in United States. Coffee sales boom.

1940: The US imports 70 percent of the world coffee crop.

1946: In Italy, Achilles Gaggia perfects his espresso machine. Cappuccino is named for the resemblance of its color to the robes of the monks of the Capuchin order.

1995: Urban Bean is born.

2011: Urban Bean opens second location at 24th & Lyndale.

credits: source