Welcome to the world’s most comprehensive Coffee History!
Included are details about all aspects of coffee history from the origins of the coffee plant and first human consumption of coffee to the present day with coffee being the second most traded commodity in the world and the continued rise of the specialty coffee market.
Also included are historic coffee quotes and information about early coffee houses, and some of these historic coffee houses are still in existence today.
To begin see Coffee History / How Coffee was discovered
History of Coffee Timeline
This Coffee Timeline takes you through all of the milestones along the way in all the different aspects of coffee history including the evolution of coffee makers and espresso machines like the moka pot, and the inventions and innovations in decaffeinated coffee, instant coffee, coffee grinders, coffee roasters, home roasting, coffee brewing, espresso brewing, and coffee companies as well as important coffee legislation.
- Coffee History / The Discovery of Coffee
- Coffee History / Pre-1600
- Coffee History / 1600-1650
- Coffee History / 1650-1700
- Coffee History / 1700-1750
- Coffee History / 1750-1800
- Coffee History / 1800-1850
- Coffee History / 1850-1900
- Coffee History / 1900-1950
- Coffee History / 1950-Present
The legend of the discovery of coffee relates to Kaldi and his dancing goats.
The early history of coffee included a 1674 pamphlet from England titled “The Women’s Petition Against Coffee.”
In the 18th century, English coffeehouses were referred to as “penny universities”
Stories of Intrigue, Romance, and Religion
The story of how coffee was first discovered and then spread to all of the major countries on Earth is a fascinating tale that includes romance, politics, religion, intrigue, heroics, deceit, greed, and innovation.
The story of coffee includes many twists and turns – green coffee was smuggled across the ocean, presented to kings, carried along the ancient spice routes on the land and sea, banned by governments and clergies.
Dangerous Liaisons in the Name of Coffee
The plant that started Brazil’s coffee empire was hidden a bouquet of flowers that was a parting gift from the Guiana governor’s wife after her illicit liaison with a Brazilian lieutenant on a mission to resolve a border dispute… and acquire coffee!
Today only oil is a more valuable commodity overall on the world markets as a foreign exchange product between countries, and traded as a commodity on major futures and commodity exchanges including in New York and London.
Coffee is also responsible for hundreds of millions of jobs from the coffee farming and coffee processing to the coffee trading, transportation and coffee marketing.
Many country’s economies are dependent primarily upon coffee, and about seventy countries – all between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer – now grow coffee commercially. The coffee industry overall generates about $60 billion annually.
Coffee – The Humble Beverage
Yet coffee remains just a humble beverage brewed from a simple bean, a seed really, found at the center of a small berry that grows on a medium-sized bush/tree and blooms once each year producing an annual crop. After harvesting the berries they are processed, dried, roasted, ground and then brewed into coffee or espresso.
Cared for properly from soil to sip the bean reveals a wonderful array of tastes and aromas, each region producing different nuances and origin flavors, and just the right roast enhancing and bringing out the finest qualities of the coffee beans.
History of Maxwell Coffee
1886 – Joel Cheek, a former grocer, names the coffee blend called “Maxwell House” after the Nashville, Tennessee hotel where it the popular blend.
1926 – A trademark registration is issued for “Maxwell House Good to the Last Drop,” a slogan that has persisted until the present day.
1942 – U.S. soldiers in World War II are given Maxwell House coffee as part of their ration kits. A strong demand for coffee in the U.S. leads to a shortage in the United States results in the rationing of coffee to the general public. After the war, coffee prices will continue to increase.
History of Coffee in Colombia
1840s – World coffee prices finally bottom out after a period of rapid coffee production growth in Java and Brazil. After this coffee prices rise strongly until the 1890s. During this time the increase in value of coffee as a commodity encouraged many other nations to begin significant coffee production, including Colombia.
1903 – After the Thousand Days War, Colombians enjoy a time of peace and coffee becomes a major economic product. The Tolima and Cundinamarca areas are the sites of large haciendas (coffee plantations), and peasants begin growing coffee in the western mountain regions of Caldas and Antioquia. New railroads are built increasing the country’s ability to export coffee.
1905 – Colombia exports 500,000 bags of coffee. This number will double by 1915.
1914 – The Panama Canal opens to the benefit of Colombia coffee exports. The port of Buenaventura becomes very important.
1914 – Colombia’s share of U.S. coffee imports increased from 687,000 bags to 915,000 bags.
1960 – The fictional advertising character Juan Valdez is introduced by the Colombian Coffee Federation, an association representing more than one half million Colombian coffee farmers. Juan Valdez is portrayed as a humble coffee farmer picking the coffee beans one at a time while accompanied by his loaded pack mule.
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