History of Coffee Timeline (Where did coffee originate from? + More Information)

As one of the most popularly consumed beverages in the world today, coffee has managed to make its way into almost all households of the world. So, what makes it so popular, and where did coffee come from? Read on to find out.

Coffee is believed to have originated in the ancient forests of the vast Ethiopian plateau. It is said to have been discovered by a goat herder called Kaldi. Coffee has always been a staple for my family and me since I was a young boy. Now that I live on my own, I have found that I am constantly trying to find higher qualities and blends of coffee. I recently discovered that I have a keen taste for it, and for the same reason, I decided to find out where coffee came from and how it managed to get so popular on a global scale. Read along to discover where it came from and more.

History of Coffee Timeline

Below is a detailed breakdown of coffee dating approximately 1,450 years.

Ca. 575 A.D – Coffee starts to get planted and propagated in Yemen after Caleb’s rule in Ethiopia is ended by Persians through an invasion.

Ca. 600 A.D – Unroasted ground coffee is brewed in special vessels called Ibrik in Cairo and Mecca. The coffee is relatively weak.

Ca. 700 A.D – Coffee finds its way to the Red Sea regions and begins to be cultivated there.

Ca. 850 A.D – Homer, a world-renowned author, writes about a dark and bitter beverage consumed by people to get rid of sleep when they need to stay awake. The same narrative is documented in Arabian legends dated around the same time.

Ca. 900 – Rhazes, the famous Arabian physician, writes about coffee and documents it in his medical encyclopedia. He refers to it as bunchum.

Ca. 1000 – Avicenna Bukhara, a Mohamedan physician, and philosopher, writes about the medicinal properties of coffee and also refers to it as bunchum.

Ca. 1100 – Arabian traders bring back coffee with them and it begins to be cultivated in the region. Locals begin to brew qahwa from green coffee beans. They develop the recipe further and start to roast it to make the brew more potent. Qahwa loosely translates to ‘that which prevents sleep.’

Ca. 1200 – Coffee arrives in Turkey. This is where coffee beans and their hulls are first roasted in clay vessels and on stone. The grounds are brewed in hot water and are consumed as well.

Ca. 11300s – Coffee becomes more refined and is served in special coffee pots in Egypt, Turkey, and Persia.

Ca. 1400 – 1450 – Coffee cultivation spreads through Yemen. A spice grinder is invented for grinding coffee beans, and coffee consumption rapidly spreads to Italy, all of Europe, the Indies, and the Americas.

Ca. 1451 – 1500 – Ottoman Turks introduce coffee to Constantinople. By this time. Brewing recipes have advanced, and spices are added to the brew. In 1475, the first coffee shop called Kaveh Kanes is opened in Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. Coffee spreads to Mecca and is traded in the ports of Alexandria and Smyrna.

Ca. 1501 – 1550 – Coffee is brought to Damascus. In Cairo, coffee houses are banned, and religious fanatics destroy coffee shops over disputes as to whether coffee is lawful. Coffee roasting spreads in Turkey, and the use of coffee spreads throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Ca. 1551 – 1600 – The sale of coffee is banned in Constantinople over religious concerns but it is still consumed in the privacy of homes. Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician, makes the first printed mention of coffee. Coffee houses open in Venice. Coffee is then introduced in England.

1601 – 1650 – Captain John Smith introduces coffee to North America. Coffee houses spread in England.

1651 – 1700 – Coffee becomes the most popular breakfast beverage in New York to overtake beer. Coffee houses are opened in Paris and Marseilles. Women in England launch a petition against coffee, and King Charles orders the closing of all coffee shops in response. Coffee spreads throughout Europe, and the Dutch commercialize the planting, transport, and sale of coffee. They also introduce coffee in Kerala, India.

1701 – 1750 – Coffee planting starts in Haiti. It then spreads to South America and Central America. The British introduce coffee to Jamaica.

1751 – 1800 – A revolt in America is led against tea, causing coffee to become the most popular beverage in America. Frederick, the Great of Prussia, moves to ban the import of green coffee over the competition, but a protest stops him.

1801 – 1850 – Coffee cultivation is introduced in Hawaii. A blacksmith in France invents a metallic percolator, and espresso machine prototypes are developed in Paris. Global coffee production reaches 2.5 million bags per year. The first coffee plunger is invented.

1851 – 1900 – A vacuum coffee pot is developed, and the Burns Coffee Roaster obtains a patent. An American percolator also obtains a patent. Caffeinated soft drinks are developed, and Australia gets its first coffee plantation. Coffee arrives in China. Its global prices begin to plummet due to an oversupply in the market.

1901 – 1950 – Coffee starts to get packaged in vacuumed tins. The first decaffeinated coffee is developed. By this time, 90% of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil. Coffee roasting machines are developed and used on a global scale. Ethiopia starts to grow coffee commercially. Instant coffee is developed and is first consumed in Switzerland. The USA alone consumes 70% of the world’s coffee. Tchibo coffee chain is launched in Germany.

1950 – Present – Commercial coffee production begins in New Guinea. An electric espresso machine is developed in the early 1950s. Many modern coffee houses and chains are started within this period. The International Coffee Agreement is reached through the United Nations resulting in an agreement over global coffee export quotas. Automatic drip coffee makers are made. Vietnam begins commercial production of coffee. East African countries like Kenya start to commercialize special blends of coffee.

Where was coffee invented?

As earlier mentioned, coffee’s origin can be traced back to ancient Ethiopia approximately 1,500 years ago. Legend has it that a goat herder called Kaldi found his goats acting strange after consuming red coffee berries. He then shared his observations with a monk who also consumed them. The said monk enjoyed the berries and was elated to find something that would help him stay awake for long periods of time.

Another legend, however, says that the monk disproved the berries and tossed them into the fire, but what ensued was the discovery of a sweet aroma from the roasted seeds. Shortly after, the seeds began to get roasted and brewed into the coffee we know today.

Even though these legends have not been proven, the fact that coffee originated in Ethiopia remains true.

Who discovered coffee?

History of Coffee Timeline 
Coffee beans. Image source: Pixabay

Even though coffee’s origins can be traced back to ancient Ethiopia, the discovery of its use can be traced back to the ancient Middle East. It is said that nomadic tribes in present-day Yemen had consumed it for thousands of years. It was ideal for keeping them awake during their long travels.

In addition, monks consumed coffee berries to help them stay awake as they meditated. Certain religious groups also consumed coffee when they wanted to stay awake for long hours as they prayed and also studied.

The use of coffee would then spread through Northern Africa, especially Egypt, Turkey, and Persia. Unlike the people in present-day Yemen, those in Egypt, Turkey, and Persia would also consume it for recreational purposes even though its use was not very prevalent. This was long before coffee was grown in controlled environments.

Where did coffee get its name?

The word coffee was first recorded in the English language in 1582, but by this time, it had morphed quite a bit as it had been borrowed from several languages. The English version of the word was coined from the Dutch name koffie. The word koffie had been borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish version, which was kahve.

The Ottoman Turks had, in turn, coined their version of the name from Arabs who called it qahwah. In Arabic, the word qahwah meant ‘the dark one’ even though some accounts have stated that the word could have meant ‘that which gets rid of sleep.’ In most instances, the former holds more water.

What is the history of coffee in America?

History of Coffee Timeline
History of coffee in America. Image source: Pinterest

Coffee was first introduced in America close to 1,000 years after the natives of present-day Yemen started to consume it. It was introduced in the region in the middle 17th

Century by the British when they colonized the New World. Coffee was brought to Virginia by Captain John Smith in 1607, who learned about it during his previous travels to Turkey.

After the first introduction, the next main mention of coffee in America was in New York City in 1668, when it was brewed with cinnamon and sweetened in honey. Its consumption gained traction quite fast, and by the year 1700, many taverns were serving up coffee for customers in many regions of the United States. It, however, was considered a drink for the well-to-do, and tea remained the main beverage for the average American.

By the early 1800s, coffee had become more popular, and a few coffee houses were opened in Boston and several other colonies as well. Coffee became increasingly popular, and the early 1900s saw a steady rise in consumption as well as commodity prices as demand skyrocketed.

World War I saw a decline in the supply of coffee in America, but the country took this time to become a serious investor in the same. World War II, however, caused a sharper drop in supply because many American ships were diverted to the war.

Since the early 1920s, America had been the leading consumer of coffee globally. After the International Coffee Agreement was signed, the USA and Brazil got into a dispute that saw a crash in the coffee market. For this reason, the Fair Trade initiative was launched.

Coffee consumption in the USA picked up again and has grown steadily over the years. Now, the coffee industry in the country is worth $36 billion. Americans drink a whopping 280.5 million cups of coffee every day.

Final thoughts

Since its discovery, coffee’s consumption has grown a great deal, making it one of the three most popular drinks in the world, along with tea and water. Even though many of us enjoy it now, the current fine version of it has taken more than 1,500 years to develop. As of now, the global coffee trade is thriving, and its popularity keeps growing in every corner of the globe.


Who first started drinking coffee?

It is said that the native inhabitants of present-day Yemen started drinking coffee long before other people of the world. It is said that monks, herders, and other groups of people consumed coffee to keep them awake for hours when they needed it.

What was coffee originally used for?

Unlike modern consumers who drink coffee for recreational purposes, most consumers in the past drank coffee when they needed to put off sleep for long hours at a time. In later days, coffee was used for medicinal purposes as it has the ability to clear up constipation.

What did people drink before coffee?

Before coffee and tea, most people of the world mainly drank water. They, however, looked to beer, wine, and other traditional brews when they wanted to drink for recreational purposes.

What country drinks the most coffee?

Brazil is the country that drinks the most coffee in the world. This comes as not much of a surprise since it is currently the biggest producer of coffee globally. The country is followed closely by the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

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