Coffee can no longer be seen from everyday life these days. For many people, the day starts with a hot cup of coffee. But who came up with the idea of drinking coffee? And how has this drink been introduced in Europe? About where coffee comes from, different stories go around.
The legend of Kaldi
The oldest legend about the creation of coffee is about a goat keeper named Kaldi from Kaffa, a province in present-day Ethiopia. Sometime around the year 850 Kaldi noticed that his goats were getting more energy after eating a certain bes. Curious about the effect of this ‘magical bes’, the goat keeper decided to chew on a few themselves. When he reported his discovery at the local monastery, the monks threw his beans disapprovingly into the fire. However, Kaldi noticed that this spread a delicious aroma. He pulled the roasted beans out of the ashes and dissolved them in water. The first cup of coffee was a fact with this.
Like most juicy historical anecdotes, this story is probably a myth. The story of Kaldi only emerges for the first time in 1671, more than eight centuries after that. What is certain is that the coffee plant originally originated from Ethiopia. Over the centuries, coffee berries began to experiment more and more. At first this happened by throwing boiling water over the berries. It wasn’t until centuries later, in the 15th century it was discovered that you could turn the beans into coffee.
However, it was not the Ethiopians, but the Arabs who came up with this discovery. From the 11th century, Somali traders began exporting coffee to the Arabian Peninsula. The inhabitants enjoyed the arrival of the drink. Islam prohibits drinking alcohol. Coffee was therefore a welcome alternative to beer or wine. It was named ‘qahwah’, which means ‘gives strength’ or ‘power’. The name coffee is derived from this Arabic name.
At the end of the 16th century, coffee also found its way to europe. The Arabs sold the beans to merchants from Venice, who in turn spread the drink all over the European continent. Coffee became very popular in Europe around this time. This was reflected in the number of coffee houses, which shot out of the ground like mushrooms in the European capitals. Until the end of the 17th century, the coffee shop was owned by the Arabs.
Nowadays, coffee is produced in Central America, Brazil and some parts of South America. The drink is currently the most important trading product in the world after oil. It is also the case that there are many different types of coffee nowadays. Nowadays there is a lot of demand for other types of coffee, such as espresso, cappuccino and latte macchiato. Also in the Netherlands we love coffee. From a recent industry report by Offerte we see that Dutch people drink an average of 8.4 kilos a year of coffee. Most of this we drink at work, where there is an increasing demand for professional coffee machines.