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The history of coffee: a journey through the continents in search of the best aromas

via Aneta Wieczorek
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Coffee is definitely the most popular drink all over the world. It has been drunk for hundreds of years, not only in Europe, but also in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. However, as it turns out, many coffee lovers actually have no idea where this beverage originated and what its history is. So let's learn about the origins of coffee and how it gained popularity. I guarantee you will be surprised more than once at how far the drink has come to our cups. 

Ethiopia - home of coffee and the legends surrounding its discovery

At the outset, of course, it is necessary to find out where it actually comes from coffee. in what country did she first start drinking it and where did her great journey to the top as far as the most popular beverage is concerned? 

It is important to know that the place where coffee originated is Ethiopia. It is a country relatively unknown by Poles, who tend to associate it with poverty and heat. It should be borne in mind that to this day, Ethiopia is still the largest producer of coffee in the world. 

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How did one happen to start drinking coffee there? Ethiopians believe that the discoverer of coffee was Kaldim, a goat herder who lived in the ninth century. It was he who, intrigued by the behaviour of the animals in his care, began to follow their steps and what they were doing. Indeed, he noticed that the goats were agitated and full of energy. The animals led him to an unfamiliar bush and began to eat its fruit. Kaldim collected these fruits and went with them to a nearby monastery, where, after many experiments and various processing methods, a distinctive drink was finally created. 

Coffee shops in Europe - the birthplaces of coffee culture 

Now that we know who is behind the creation of coffee and where it all began, it is now worth answering the question of how coffee came to be drunk in the way it is. Where did the culture of drinking the beverage we are all familiar with come from? 

The place to have a coffee used to be, of course, the cafés. They are first mentioned as far back as 1475. Constantinople is mentioned in the legends. Quite soon, in 1529, the first coffee houses appeared in Europe, a result of the Turkish invasion. Relatively late, almost 200 years later, coffee houses began to appear in the British Isles. 

Coffee in Middle Eastern culture: traditions and rituals of consumption 

In today's Western culture, drinking coffee has a primarily practical dimension. It invigorates us, giving us more energy and strength to perform our tasks. However, it is important to know that this is not the case in Middle Eastern cultures. 

Coffee in the Middle East is an extremely important drink that symbolises hospitality. Refusing to drink coffee can even be interpreted as rudeness and be simply rude to the invitee. 

How is this coffee prepared? First of all, the beans are roasted in the presence of the guest and only then is the drink prepared in a special pot, which is designed to brew coffee in Arabic style. In the Arab world, everything is of great importance, even the way coffee is poured and drunk. It is accepted that it must be poured from the pot with the left hand and served to the guest with the right. 

Coffee expansion to the Americas: trade routes and impact on colonisation 

How did the coffee that started in Ethiopia make its way around the world? We already know how it spread to Europe. But what happened to bring it to, among others, South America, where about half of its production now comes from? 

No one reading this will probably be surprised to learn that European countries were responsible for this, particularly those that had many colonies. It was very common for coffee plants to even be stolen and transported to the Americas to be grown there for huge profits. The European climate was not conducive to coffee cultivation, but the subtropical conditions in the colonies were ideal. 

The arrival of coffee cultivation in the New World was enough to attract immigrant populations from Europe, who had hitherto been unfamiliar with the beverage, for example because their social status was too low. In the blink of an eye, its consumption spread. 

Coffee as a symbol of luxury and social status through the ages 

It has not been known for a long time that rare and new products are extremely expensive. And although today, with literally everyone reaching for coffee, it is hard for us to imagine that it was the drink of the rich, but that is exactly how it was. 

At the beginning of the presence coffee in culture In the West, it was a drink intended for the highest social strata. The first coffee shops were frequented only by well-born and wealthy customers. The aroma of coffee and its excellent taste and, of course, its stimulating qualities were recognised by the lower classes hundreds of years later, when coffee became much more widespread. This is mainly due to the significant increase in its production once cultivation began in the New World. 

Is coffee today an indicator of social status? The beverage itself is definitely not, although it is still possible to see coffee in this way if one considers how and where it is drunk. 

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