Coffee: A Brief History

Coffee. Does the word itself make you think of exotic lands and royal intrigue? It should. Because the truth is, coffee has a deeply romantic past steeped in mystery and adventure.

It has had many names, in many places. Arab traders called it Gahwah. In the Spice Islands, it was called Java. Portuguese explorers called it café.

Today, there is no country in the world where coffee is not loved and enjoyed, usually with friends. In fact, "café" has even come to mean a gathering place. But it all started a long, long time ago, in a desert far away...

Botanists believe coffee originated in Ethiopia and that it began as food rather than beverage (crushed berries mixed with animal fat). The first coffee beverage was fermented like wine.

Arabs first boiled the raw seeds with water to make a hot drink, and Arab traders are believed to have brought coffee from Ethiopia across Gulf of Aden into Yemen through port of Mocha. In fact, so much coffee was shipped through Mocha, the name is now synonymous with coffee.

Learn even more... click here to view a pictoral coffee timeline.