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The Origins of Coffee: The Mystery of the Drink that Keeps Us Awake

The Origins of Coffee

For many of us, a cup of coffee is the first thing we reach for when we wake up in the morning. But beyond its reputation as a source of caffeine, what do we actually know about this popular drink? Coffee originated in Ethiopia and is one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world. It has been drunk by humans for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that its popularity truly began to grow. Today, people from all over the world consume a staggering amount of coffee every year. But where did this love affair with coffee begin? And how did it become so widespread today? Let’s take a look at its history and some interesting facts about this famous caffeinated beverage…

The origin of coffee

When did coffee first originate? We know that it was first cultivated in southern Ethiopia, where wild coffee trees still grow in the forests. The earliest known reference to coffee comes from the 9th century, when it appeared in the medical literature of the Islamic world, where it was documented as a substitute for wine. It was likely brought there from East Africa by traders. Coffee was initially used as a medicinal drink, rather than as a beverage for pleasure. It was used to treat a variety of ailments, including liver disease, dysentery, and fever. Medicinal use of coffee was not widespread in Europe until the 17th century, when the Dutch began to import it. Coffee was first brought to Europe around 1600, but it was initially viewed as a mysterious oriental drink with magical properties.

Coffee in the Middle East

Coffee may have originated in Ethiopia, but it was drinking coffee that propelled it to global prominence. The first coffeehouse opened in the 16th century in the Ottoman Empire, modern-day Turkey. It was opened in Constantinople (now Istanbul), the Ottoman capital, by a Greek man named Hakan. This was followed by the opening of the first coffeehouse in the Middle East in the Arabian city of Damascus in the early 17th century. The rulers of these cities soon realized that coffeehouses could be used as a source of tax revenue. Later, coffeehouses spread to Egypt, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent, where it was also used to produce a liquor called “mulled coffee”. The popularity of coffee in the Middle East led to a massive increase in the consumption of coffee beans. This was further fueled by the introduction of coffee cultivation in the tropical Americas in the 19th century, which made coffee available year-round.

Arabia and its first use as currency

The Arabian Peninsula was the first place to use coffee as currency. In Yemen, coffee beans were used as money in trade from the 1600s until the mid-1800s. As a result of this long tradition, coffee is sometimes referred to as the “Arabian wine”. In the Arabian Peninsula, coffee was initially consumed in the form of coffee beans. Roasted coffee beans were discovered around the 16th century by people who noticed the smell of coffee in the coffee-making process. Coffeehouses were widespread in the Arabian Peninsula by the 17th century. This was also the period in which coffee plants were first cultivated in the region. The first coffee plants were brought to Yemen from Ethiopia; they were cultivated in the port city of Aden, which is where coffee imports were shipped from.

The Birthplace of Coffea Arabica: Ethiopia

The coffee plant used in commercial production is derived from a species of plant called Coffea Arabica. C. Arabica is believed to have originated in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. C. Arabica is a tropical plant that grows best at altitudes between 1000 and 1800 meters above sea level. It has a growth cycle of around three to four years, depending on the altitude, climate, and soil quality. Coffee plants produce a crop of berries every season. These berries are the source of coffee beans, which are used to make the drink.

How Arabian Coffee Began Its Journey to Globalization

As mentioned above, coffee became popular in the Middle East in the 17th century. This was when it began to be imported from Ethiopia, which had been cultivating coffee for hundreds of years. Arabian coffee was very different from the coffee we know today; it was made from a different species of coffee that was cultivated in Yemen. Growing conditions in Yemen were more suitable for coffee cultivation than those in the mountainous southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. As a result, Arabian coffee soon began to be exported globally.

Global Expansion and Consolidation of Coffea Arabica

Other countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America began to cultivate C. Arabica and produce coffee as a commodity. Coffeehouses began to appear in other parts of the world, such as Paris, London, and New York, where it was consumed as a beverage for pleasure, rather than medicinal use. Coffeehouses in Europe and the Americas were often frequented by people of different social classes. This was in stark contrast to the social environment of the Arabian Peninsula, where coffeehouses were largely frequented by the educated upper class. Coffee cultivation and consumption quickly spread to other regions around the world, such as Brazil, Colombia, Hawaii, and Central America. The extensive cultivation of C. Arabica resulted in the mass production of coffee beans, which made it cheaper and more readily available to people.


The history of coffee is a fascinating tale of global trade and cultural exchange. This beverage is loved by people from all walks of life, from Middle Eastern Princes to modern CEOs. Coffee is one of the few commodities that people pay money for, but actually consume more of than what they pay for. And this thirst for coffee has only increased with time: In the United States, for example, coffee consumption has increased by more than 200% since the 1950s. Coffee has been around for a long time and will remain a part of our daily lives for years to come.

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