Coffee Class Fridays- A Weekly Feature

>> Friday, January 16, 2009

 A Brief History of Coffee:

The popular theory is that coffee was really discovered by a sheep herder from Caffa, Ethiopia. The herder was known as Kaldi, and he noticed that his sheep would get hyperactive after eating red "cherries" from the plant we now know to be coffee. Kaldi tried a couple himself, and was soon in a caffeine "buzz". 

Originally the coffee plant grew naturally in Ethopia, where coffee bean would be wrapped in animal fat by the locals and used as sustenance on long hunting and raiding trips over a thousand years ago. It was the Arabians that took the plant away, farmed it heavily, and began the first coffee business. In 1453, the Turks were the first people to actually make a drink out of the coffee beans, and the world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opened there 22 years later.

The first reference to coffee being drunk in North America is in 1688 and soon after that coffee houses were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and many other towns. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was  planned in a coffee house, the Green Dragon. Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffeehouses, in what is today the financial district known as Wall Street.

Coffee Today

Americans are the world's largest consumers of coffee today. The wettest major city , Seattle, gave birth in the 1970's to a cafe or Latte culture which swept America and has dramatically improved the general quality of the coffee America drinks today. Many public places in the USA will have one or more coffee carts, serving a variety of coffees, drinks and snacks.

This new found coffee culture has started to spread to the rest of the world. To those countries with great coffee traditions of their own. Such as Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia. Today it is possible to find good coffee in every major city around the world. 

Next weeks lesson will cover the beans themselves. Until then Salute ! 

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