1600 – Italian traders bring coffee to Europe through the port of Venice, and also to Italy, from the Ottoman Empire, thus introducing coffee to the West.
At the time a variety of African goods were being traded between Venice and Muslims in North Africa as well as Egypt and the Orient.
Among the many African products was coffee, and when it arrived at the leading European port of Venice the Venetian merchants soon began charging high prices for it and providing it to those who were very wealthy and could afford such a luxury. These were the first Europeans to enjoy the coffee beverage.
1600 – In Italy, Pope Clement VIII was asked by his advisers to ban coffee as it was a favorite beverage of the Ottoman Empire, part of that infidel threat, and the “drink of the devil” condemned by the Roman clergy. Their request came in response to the selling of coffee by an Italian merchant.
The pope tasted the coffee beverage and found it to be delicious. Instead of banning coffee the Pope gave it Papal approval and declared that not only those who misbelieve should be allowed to enjoy coffee.
The Pope was considered to have “baptized” coffee, thus officially approving it as a beverage for Christians. After this event Catholics widely accepted the beverage and coffee consumption increased rather quickly.
1600 – Mortars and pestles are used to grind coffee. These items are made of either iron, brass, bronze, or wood. Roasting is done on iron spiders on legs that will stand over an open fire. Pewter coffee serving pots are also used.
1601 – G.W. Parry writes, “A certain Liquor which they call Coffee, …which will soon intoxicate the brain.”
1607 – Captain John Smith brings coffee to the New World. Smith was one of the founders of the English settlement colony of Virginia at Jamestown.
Some historians say that coffee had already been brought to Canada by this time, and thus Smith was not the first to bring coffee to North America. In Smith’s 1603 travel book Travels and Adventure he referred to the Turkish beverage as coffa and brings a new awareness of coffee in the Americas.
1615 – A coffee shipment arrives in Venice from the port of Mocha in Yemen. The popularity of the beverage in Europe began, and coffee was referred to as the wine of Arabia. Venice becomes Europe’s primary coffee source. Venetians roast and brew the beverage also use it for various medicinal purposes.
1616 – The Dutch smuggle coffee plants into Europe but attempts to cultivate the plant fail.
1616 – Pieter Van Dan Broeck, a cloth trader and merchant working for the Dutch East India Company, tastes something “hot and black” while visiting Mocha in Yemen. Van Dan Broeck is said to be one of the first of the Dutch to drink coffee.
1637 – A Jewish immigrant named Jacob from Turkey opens a coffee house in Oxford. This is the first coffee house in England.
1645 – A coffee shop opens in Venice, becoming the first European coffee house aside from those in the Ottoman Empire.
This begins a marked increase of coffee’s popularity throughout the region, and before long there are coffee houses in many Italian towns including Naples, Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, and Genoa.
Next see Coffee History / 1650-1700
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