HISTORY OF COFFEE
The coffee plant, which was discovered in Ethiopia in the
11th Century, has a white blossom that smells like jasmine and a red,
cherry-like fruit. Back then, the leaves of the so-called "magical
fruit" were boiled in water and the resulting concoction was thought to
have medicinal properties. As the fame of the coffee plant spread to other
lands, its centuries-long voyage was about to begin.
Coffee spread quickly
through the Arabian Peninsula. In the mid 14th century, coffee cultivation
reached Yemen and for 300 years, it was drunk following the recipe first used
in Ethiopia. Yemen's climate and fertile soil offered the ideal conditions for
cultivating rich coffee harvests
Istanbul was introduced to coffee in 1555 during the
reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent by Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor
of Yemen, who had grown to love the drink while stationed in that country.
In the Ottoman palace a new method of
drinking coffee was discovered: the beans were roasted over a fire, finely
ground and then slowly cooked with water on the ashes of a charcoal fire. With
its new brewing method and aroma, coffee's renown soon spread even further
Coffee soon became a vital part of palace
cuisine and was very popular in court. The position of Chief Coffee Maker
(kahvecibaşı) was added to the roster of court functionaries. The Chief Coffee
Maker's duty was to brew the Sultan's or his patron's coffee, and was chosen
for his loyalty and ability to keep secrets. The annals of Ottoman History
record a number of Chief Coffee Makers who rose through the ranks to become
Grand Viziers to the Sultan.
Coffee soon spread from the palace to grand
mansions, and from grand mansions to the homes of the public. The people of
Istanbul quickly became enamored with the beverage. Green coffee beans were
purchased and then roasted at home on pans. The beans were then ground in
mortars and brewed in coffeepots known as "cezve".
Most of the general public became acquainted
with coffee through the establishment of coffeehouses; the first coffeehouse
(named Kiva Han) opened in the district of Tahtakale and others rapidly
cropped up all over the city. Coffeehouses and coffee culture soon became an
integral part of Istanbul social culture; people came here throughout the day
to read books and beautiful texts, play chess and backgammon and discuss poetry
to the efforts of merchants and travelers who passed through Istanbul, Turkish
Coffee's soon spread to Europe and ultimately to the whole world.
Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when
Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried
it back with them to Venice. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by
lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy.
Coffeehouses soon sprang up all over the country and, as in many other lands, they
became a platform for people from all walks of life, especially artists and
students, to come together and chat.
Travelers who discovered coffee while staying
in Istanbul extolled the matchless flavour of the beverage in letters they sent
home to Marseilles. In 1644, the first coffee beans, along with the apparatus
used to prepare and serve coffee, were brought to Marseilles by Monsieur de la
Roque, the French ambassador.
In 1660, merchants from Marseilles who had grown to love the beverage
they had first tasted in Istanbul began to import coffee to the city, thus
sating Marseilles's growing appetite for coffee. The first coffeehouse opened
in Marseilles in 1671. Initially, coffeehouses catered to merchants and
travellers, but they soon became popular with people from all walks of life.
Paris was introduced to coffee in 1669 by Hoşsohbet
Nüktedan Süleyman Ağa, who was sent by Sultan Mehmet IV as ambassador to the
court of King Louis XIV of France. Among the Ottoman ambassador's possessions
were several sacks of coffee, which he described to the French as a
Süleyman Ağa swiftly became the darling of
Parisian high society. The Parisian aristocracy saw it as a great honour to be
invited to share a cup of Turkish Coffee with Süleyman Ağa, who regaled his
guests with his pleasant wit and conversation. The ambassador related countless
stories on the subject of coffee, which earned him the sobriquet of Hoşsohbet,
Paris's first real coffeehouse, Café de
Procope, opened in 1686. It soon became a favourite haunt of the literati, a
place frequented by renowned poets, playwrights, actors and musicians. Many
famous figures such as Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire became enamoured with
coffee at Café de Procope. Following the trend set by Café de Procope,
coffeehouses opened on practically every street in the city.
1683 marked the end of the Second Siege of Vienna. As the
Turks retreated, they left their extra supplies behind. The abandoned goods
included a large number of tents, livestock, grain and around 500 sacks of
coffee. The Viennese had no idea what to make of the mysterious contents of the
sacks. One Viennese captain claimed that the coffee beans were camel-feed and
decided to dump the sacks into the Danube.
News of the mysterious sacks reached a
gentleman named Kolschitzky who had lived among the Turks for many years and
had served as a spy for the Austrians during the siege. He requested the sacks
of coffee, with which he was very familiar, as payment for his successful
espionage services during the siege.
Kolschitzky served small cups of Turkish
Coffee to the Viennese, first going door to door, and then in a large tent that
he opened to the public. Soon, he had taught the Viennese how to prepare and
enjoy the beverage. Thus Vienna became acquainted with coffee.
The Viennese coffeehouses that opened during
this period set an example for coffeehouses in many other countries.
England first became acquainted with coffee in 1637 when
a Turk introduced the drink to Oxford. It quickly became popular among students
and teachers who established the "Oxford Coffee Club".
The first coffeehouse in Oxford opened in
1650 and was called the "Angel".
In 1652, a Greek named Pasqua Rosée opened
the first coffeehouse in London. Using his extensive knowledge of how to
prepare and brew Turkish Coffee, he introduced his friends and clients to its
By 1660, London's coffeehouses had become an
integral part of its social culture. The general public dubbed coffee houses
"Penny Universities" as they were patronised by writers, artists,
poets, lawyers, politicians and philosophers. London's coffeehouses offered
customers a great deal more than piping hot cups of coffee: the entrance fee of
one penny allowed them to benefit from the intellectual conversation that
The history of coffee in Holland is markedly different
from that of other countries, as for many years the Dutch were more concerned
with coffee as a trade commodity than as a beverage.
Coffee first reached the country via Yemen in
the 17th century. The Dutch began cultivating coffee in its colonies. In 1699,
coffee beans were planted on the island of Java, thus laying the foundation for
Indonesia's coffee plantations. In 1711, the first Javanese coffee beans were
sold on the open market in Amsterdam.
The first coffeehouses in Holland opened in
the 1660s. With their unique style that featured rich décor, a warm atmosphere
and lush gardens, they stood out from coffeehouses in other countries. Located
mainly in the financial districts of Dutch cities, they became known as places
where merchants and financiers conducted business meetings.
In the 1680s, the Dutch introduced coffee to
Scandinavia, the region which today has the highest per capita consumption of
coffee in the world.
Coffee was introduced to Germany in 1675. The
first coffeehouses opened in 1679-1680 in Hamburg, Bremen and Hanover.
first, coffee was considered a beverage of the nobility. The middle and lower
classes were not introduced to coffee until the early 18th century, and it was
only much later that it came to be prepared and consumed at home.
coffeehouses were the domain of men, middle class women established their own
The oldest coffee house in Europe beside the Parisian “Café Procope” is to be found in Leipzig, Germany. In 1694 Heinrich Schütze opened the “Coffe Baum” in 4 Kleine Fleischergasse and gave out free coffee. Over the following three centuries, many notable personages met here and enjoyed the popular drink. Gottsched, Klinger, E. T. A. Hoffmann or Wagner were often seen going in and out. Goethe, Lessing, Bach and Grieg were also known to be guests there. In the Schumann Room situated on the ground floor, Robert Schumann would meet with friends at his regular table between 1828 and 1844. Revolutionaries such as Blum, Liebknecht and Bebel also made “Coffe Baum” their second living-room. In 1990 Helmut Kohl and Lothar de Maizière discussed the possibilities of reunification here.
The sandstone sculpture above the doorway to “Coffe Baum” is especially famous. An Ottoman offers cupid a cup of coffee. It symbolises the meeting of the Christian western world with the Islamic East. No other than Augustus the Strong was supposed to have donated this sculpture as way of saying thank you to the landlady, who had taken immaculate care of him. One of the most important coffee museums’ worldwide is to be found on the third floor. Over 500 chosen exhibits from 300 years of Saxony’s coffee and cultural history are presented over 15 rooms.
Coffee reached North America in 1668. The first coffeehouse in New York, "The King's Arms", opened in 1696.
In 1714, the Dutch presented Louis XIV with a coffee sapling from their plantations on Java. The sapling was planted in the royal Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
In 1723, a French mariner named Gabriel du Clieu took a sapling from the Jardin des Plantes to the island of Martinique. From here, the coffee plant spread to other Caribbean islands, as well as to Central and South America.
In 1727, a Portuguese sailor named de Mello Palheta carried coffee saplings to Brazil from French Guyana. Today, Brazil is the number one producer of coffee in the world, accounting for 35% of global coffee production.
In 1730, the British began cultivating coffee in Jamaica.
By the mid 19th century, coffee had become one of the most important commodities in world trade.
MOBILE TURKISH COFFEE TRUCK IN 2013
Turkish Coffee World was one of the proud sponsors of this cultural event.