The History of Coffee

Coffee is a familiar drink, and about two billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day. The raw material for coffee is the fruit of a plant called the coffee plant, and the seeds in this are roasted and turned into powder which is the ingredient for the beverage. The coffee culture fascinated people and spread all over the world. The place of origin of the coffee plant is Ethiopia, it is thought to have grown naturally before human beings were born. Once the Ethiopians found that coffee had an uplifting effect, the coffee culture spread to the world. Ethiopia invaded Yemen in the 6th century and it is thought that coffee was introduced to the Arabs at the time. In the Arabs believers of Muslim Sufism used coffee to reduce sleepiness and focus on prayer. By the end of the 15th century and it spread throughout the Islamic world.

Coffee production in Ethiopia

In the 17th century coffee culture was introduced to Europe through trade, in 1640 coffee beans were first imported into Europe by Dutch merchants and when they started selling in Amsterdam cafes were opened in various places. Although the coffee beans were strictly controlled in the Arabs one Muslim Saint who made the pilgrimage to Mecca brought beans from Yemen to Mysore in India, the coffee grown in India were transplanted to Java by a Dutch and coffee plantations spread to the East Indies such as Sumatra and celebs, then coffee had made its way to Europe transplanted to the French colony Martinique in 1723 and coffee beans grown in Haiti helped boost consumption of Europe.

Those places suitable for cultivation are called the bean belt. By 1727 the coffee plant was introduced to Brazil, the world’s largest producer. There is an anecdote that the wife of the French governor fell in love with the Brazilian diplomat and she handed him the coffee beans for the plantation. However, it’s not all romantic in Brazil many slaves were brought and they were treated in inhumane ways. Although European immigrants later became the labor force behind the fact that Brazil was the last place in the world to abolish slavery, it was not ended until 1888 there was a coffee plantation. Brazil has fertile ground and coffee beans produced in Brazil are exported to one of the world’s leading consumers that is the United States. During this time events that encouraged consumption of coffee occurred in the United States first it is the relationship with Britain. Just as tea brought from Britain was dumped at the Boston Tea Party in 1773, drinking coffee instead of tea was a patriotic attitude in the United States which was seeking independence from Britain.

Soldiers drinks coffee (American Civil War)

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 the custom of drinking coffee spread especially among the Union soldiers, in the in industrealization from the 1860’s coffee spread among workers. Coffee is a luxury item supported the war an economic expansion. By the end of the 19th century the United States would consume nearly half of the world’s coffee coffee has spread all over the world but there is an issue that plagues everyone involved.. It is a balance between supply and price, coffee plants are vulnerable to diseases and climate changes and consecutive poor harvests raise prices and upset consumers, however consecutive good harvests depress price and afflict farmers and workers. From the end of the 19th century the coffee market was suffering from oversupply, because of this producing countries such as Brazil restricted supply of coffee beans and kept the price high by having a stock in the country. consuming countries accuse them of manipulating the price high but some coffee companies benefited greatly, the coffee industry expanded with huge funding flow from American banks but an economic boom ended due to the Great Depression of 1929. Coffee prices dropped, funds from banks stopped and large stocks and fast plantations remained stocks and plantations were disposed of to prevent further price declines and around this time coffee beans equivalent to two years of global consumption were discarded. However, the momentum of the coffee industry did not stop the introduction of new varieties led to a decline in the price further. The main variety is called Arabica and in addition the production of robusta which is resistant to climate changes and diseases increased. Robusta is bitter and inferior to Arabica in taste and flavor but it bears a fruit faster and produced in large quantities in Africa and Indonesia. In recent years production in Vietnam has increased, in 1963 the International Coffee Agreement came into effect to stabilize supply and prices, the system adopted here is called the quota system. The system maintains the price by allocating annual exports to producers instead of promising to trade between consumers and producers under an agreement, however while this quota system provided priced ability it also undermined trade freedom, consuming countries such as the United States which had signed agreements weren’t able to purchase more than their quota even as demand increased and producing countries couldn’t export if they produced more than the quota, it became accepted silently that the accumulated inventory were sold at low prices to non agreed country, it had turned into this situation where coffee could be obtained cheaper by non agreed countries than by agreed countries. There is no quota that would satisfy all countries. The current coffee industry is based on volatile market prices.

The attraction of coffee is the sourness, bitterness, aroma etc in addition to the effects of caffeine and various methods have been used to extract these. Initially people would put ground powder directly in hot water, but in the first half of the 19th century the drip method appeared in Europe and a more sophisticated way of drinking was spread. Around the Mediterranean they tended to prefer strong coffee and in 1901 an espresso machine appeared in Italy. After World War 2, coffee was standardized by large companies although the taste was inferior quick and easy instant coffee became widespread, for espresso and instant coffee robusta is often used. While instant coffee was spreading high quality coffee beans started being required in the 1980s, demand for Arabica carefully produced and processed in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and elsewhere increased.

With the rise of the coffee chain’s in recent years high-quality coffee has become more accessible, a well-recognized company Starbucks Coffee started in Seattle in 1971 and spread cappuccinos and lattes which is a mix of espresso and milk. Expanded into Japan in 1996 and continue to expand worldwide and the new ways of drinking coffee are also spreading. Coffee has become popular in various ways but we want to keep in mind the history behind.

Source: 歴史 Animation Channel

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