We all enjoy a good cup of coffee, but have you ever thought about where your coffee comes from? It’s easy for us to recognize a coffee bean, but most of us wouldn’t be able to identify the actual coffee bean tree. Today we will take you through the origins of coffee and where it comes from. This will help you know more about what you drink every day!
The Coffee Plant
The coffee plant can grow up to 30 feet high. The coffee plant is famous for its dark green, waxy leaves and bright, red coffee cherries. The trees can live up to a century, but their most productive years are from 7 to 20. The bulk of these plants grow in a region known as the coffee belt. The coffee belt lies between the 23rd north and 25th south parallel. It covers most of Africa, south and central America, and South Asia. This strip of the earth is perfect for the coffee plant due to the ideal rainfall and temperature.
History of Coffee
The exact origins of coffee are very mysterious. The earliest tale about coffee comes from Ethiopia in the year 850. A herdsman by the name of Kaldi noticed a goat of his acting very energetic after eating from a particular berry bush. Kaldi tried the magical berries himself and experienced similar sensations as his goat. He decided to share his discovery with religious leaders of his tribe. Unfortunately, they shunned the coffee berries as the work of the devil.
What do monks and warriors have in common?
However, as the years progressed, the supposed berries began to be revered as instant energy infusers for monks and warriors alike. Many consider Kaldi to be one of the ancestors of people from today’s Kaffa province in Ethiopia. Ethiopian monks brewed coffee with hot water to help them stay up longer. From there, people mixed it with butter to make a protein bar of sorts for their warriors.
Staying Awake Through the Years
From there, coffee picked up steam in the Muslim world as it helped people stay alert during the month of fasting. In 1000, Avicenna Bukhari, a renowned Muslim scholar, was the first to write about the health benefits of coffee.
The late fifteenth century saw coffee exported from Ethiopia to Yemen and Somalia. Sufi Muslims used coffee for religious purposes, and it soon became a drink for the spiritually aware and dedicated people. However, in 1511, a group of conservative Muslim leaders banned coffee. These leaders considered its effects to be intoxicating and against Islam. However, we all know that the ban wasn’t successful because by the 16th-century coffee had spread far and wide. It subsequently traveled to the Middle East, Italy, the rest of Europe, and then the Americas.
Coffee and Slavery
In many ways, the spread of coffee is related to slavery. Slaves from Turkey and Ethiopia took their knowledge about coffee brewing to Europe.
Coffee was first brought to the Americas by Gabriel De Clieu in 1720. He established coffee plantations that enabled the spread of coffee to Mexico and the Caribbean islands.
Where does coffee come from today?
The top ten coffee producing countries today are:
- Brazil – Brazil has consistently topped coffee-producing charts for the past 150 years due. This is due to its ideal climate for the coffee plant.
- Vietnam – Coffee is Vietnam’s second-largest export after rice.
- Colombia – Colombian coffee is famous worldwide. Historically, they have almost always been right behind Brazil in coffee production. Unfortunately, climate change has started to affect their coffee bean production.
- Indonesia – Coffee was introduced by the Dutch in Indonesia, and since then, the country has focused on producing as much coffee as possible, despite the quality not being the best.
- Ethiopia – As the pioneer of Arabica coffee, Ethiopia is one of its largest producers and coffee accounts for almost 30% of the Ethiopian economy.
- Honduras – As Central America’s largest coffee producer, the Honduran economy relies heavily on coffee production; however, they have been unable to brand their coffee, as well as countries like Colombia, have.
- India – Indian coffee is mostly grown alongside cardamom and cinnamon, and so has a distinct spicy flavor that is highly demanded throughout Europe and Russia.
- Uganda – Coffee is Uganda’s top export, and the privatization of the coffee industry has led to a 5100% growth factor since 1989.
- Mexico – Steady demand from the U.S makes the Mexican coffee market one of the most stable and lucrative ones in the world.
- Guatemala – Until 2011, Guatemala was Central America’s top coffee producer. It has now fallen behind Honduras, but the quality of their coffee is still highly regarded across the world.