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Delving into the history of Coffee

Posted on October 3, 2016

Coffee … our daily necessity. That rich, dark, creamy, delicious, powerful hit of caffeine that makes us go ‘Aaaaaah, that hit the spot!’ Whether it is your first cup in the morning as you sleep walk into the shower or perhaps your reviving mental boost espresso to get you through the last hours of the day – no one can deny it – we love our Coffee! However, believe it or not, coffee didn’t always come in our favourite readily available coffee capsule. The origin of coffee goes way back to the early 10th century with a few very interesting legendary tales, one being that a goat farmer in Ethiopia noticed how animated his goats became after eating the beans from a tree, and after eating them himself, he too became charged and full of vitality.

Another fable tells of a Sheik who was expelled to a cave to starve to death. He boiled the beans of a nearby tree to soften them and found that they created a delicious brown liquid that revitalised him. He later became a Saint once he had spread the word of this exciting and refreshing new drink. In the 11th Century the word of the Coffee bean had spread! The Galla tribe heard of this magic bean, they ground it, added it to a ghee mixture and created a protein bar of sorts giving them endless energy.

Later, a Physician and Philosopher wrote the first known literature describing the medicinal properties of coffee. The earliest credible parable shows that coffee making and drinking spans go back to the 15th Century, in Yemen’s Monasteries. Coffee was available in England as early as 1583. This was through the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company.

In the 1500’s the Turkish husbands claimed that coffee was an aphrodisiac and ensured that their wives were always well supplied. If the husband refused to keep the pantries well stocked, it was actually legitimate grounds for divorce. Whilst coffee has been around for many centuries, people weren’t able to purchase roasted coffee until the late 1800’s. There were a number of devices that people could use at home to roast their coffee beans however it wasn’t the most enticing activity as it was a hot and tiresome process that involved of holding a skillet over an open flame. This however normally fell on the children’s shoulders as a household chore.

The word “coffee” was recorded in the English language back in 1582 and is said to be derived from the Dutch word “koffie” which was taken from the Turkish “Kahve” and in turn used from the Arabic word “Qahwah” (also used for wine). I think we can all agree that no matter who the farmer or individual was that discovered the tree, deserves not only a ‘Bell’s but perhaps something even better, a delicious full roasted cup of coffee made with love. Who can resist the enticing allure of this dark, delicious and intoxicating substance? It keeps us going, makes us feel at home and reminds us that there’s always time for just one more cuppa. Coffee anyone?