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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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It is highly likely that the first coffee tree grew in Ethiopia.

The word “coffee” comes from the Arabic “qahwah”, which refers to drinks derived from plants, such as coffee or wine. When it was introduced to Europe at the start of the 17th century, coffee was known as “Arabian wine”.

According to one legend, coffee was discovered by an
Ethiopian herdsman sometime around the 9th century:

The deliberate cultivation of coffee plants probably did not begin until the early 11th century in Yemen, whence it spread throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula. After conquering the peninsula in 1517, the Turks brought coffee culture to the Ottoman court. Since it was forbidden to drink alcohol in the Islamic world, coffee spread quickly through the whole Ottoman Empire. It is thought that Venetian merchants started to export coffee beans to Italy from the Yemeni port of Mocha from 1615 onwards, thus ensuring its distribution throughout Europe. During the course of the 17th century, coffee houses sprang up in Italy, England, France and Holland in no time at all; and in 1673 they arrived in Germany. Coffee houses were extremely popular, with Venice already boasting around 200 of them by 1760.

But until the middle of the 18th century, coffee remained a luxury enjoyed only by the aristocracy. Industrialisation did see the development of more effective methods of coffee production, making it affordable for the middle classes too. Still, it wasn’t until the 1950s that coffee became a reasonably priced drink that could be enjoyed by everyone.


You will find more information about coffee here:
Coffee – Any time is coffee time | Cultivation & harvesting | Arabica & robusta:
A comparison
| Preparation | Fair trade | Storage