Records and Facts

Coffee, Coffee Houses and their Origins

Coffee Beans and Cups
Photo by [keyseeker] morgueFile
Ummm, Coffee, now this is a subject molded after my own heart. I love coffee, the smell of it, the taste. And nothing is better than that delicious aroma when you first pop open a new can and take that first wiff.

So I started thinking about the Origins of Coffee and how it came to be. For any coffee enthusiasts out there, this post is sure to capture your interest.

The Early Days of Coffee

If we travel way back in time to sometime around 1000 AD, you’ll learn that coffee was used by the Ethiopians as an energy enhancer. They actually ground up coffee beans and would mix it with animal fat and then consume it. Supposedly this was a great boost of energy for those working hard labor throughout the day.

The story goes that a goat herder named Kaldi discovered this by taking note of his goats after they’d been chewing on the berries from the coffee bushes that grew wild where he lived. After seeing how the effected his goats, Kaldi decided to try them for himself and was shocked at the potent dose of energy he received. This became the first documented case of someone gaining benefits from a shot of caffeine. Of course the news of these magic beans spread rapidly and fast formed a new habit among the locals.

When was Coffee first Imported

Jumping forward to 1453, the Ottoman Turks were the first to import coffee. It was imported into Constantinople and allowed the start of the world’s first coffee shop, Kiva Han. Kiva Han opened it’s doors in 1475.

As the sixteenth century rolled around, coffee drinking had fast spread all throughout Asia and coffee houses were common place. Of course they were big hits among people who liked to “hang out”, and as you can imagine, these places were as popular as the local tavern, anyone who was anybody was at the coffee house.

Coffee Comes to America

Well, Americans were a little late in receiving their dose of caffeine. It wasn’t until 1607 that the first cup of coffee was drank in America. Captain John Smith, one of the founders of the great state of Virginia, was the one to introduce it to America. You all remember from the history books about the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Well after this huge event, coffee drinking was a patriotic duty. This was a ploy to decrease the interest in Boston Tea and cause it’s market to crumble.

Good Ole Maxwell House

Founded in 1886, Maxwell House coffee was named after the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Unfortunately this hotel burned to the ground in 1961.

Then in 1901 the first instant coffee was produced by a chemist named Satori Kato.

We Can’t Leave out Decaffeinated Coffee

Germany and France were actually the first to enjoy a cup of decaffeinated coffee. It was a familiar brand called Sanka and was kind of a product of mad science experiments done on a bad batch of coffee beans. And here’s a big name for you, Kraft Food Company…  They actually introduced Sanka Coffee to the United States in 1923.

Espresso coffee

Photo by [omdur] morgueFile

The First Freeze Dried Coffee

Nescafe was the first to bring in the freeze dried coffee, but it wasn’t in the United States, it was in Switzerland 1923. They named it Blend 37 as it was named after Didier Cambreson. Cambreson had completed the entire 24 hours of the Le Mans race in 1937 all by himself. This was after his co-driver gave him the shaft and didn’t show up for the race. His car number was 37 and the story goes that he completed this marvelous feat while drinking the new Nescafe brand of coffee…lol

Grand Ole Starbucks

We can’t do a write up on Coffee and not include the great Starbucks. Personally I can’t see paying $5 a cup for coffee, but there are many die hard fans out there.

Starbucks first opened in 1971 in Seattle, it was in a place called Pike Place Market, it was named after the first mate in the story Moby Dick. Starbucks was actually started by an English teacher by the name of Jerry Baldwin. Co-founders included a history teacher named Zev Siegel and a writer Gordon Bowker.

It wasn’t until 1992 that the company went public and by that time they already had a staggering 165 coffee houses, by 2005 that number totaled more than 11,000 stores worldwide!

I know this is kind of a long history lesson on Coffee, but it’s a drink that is adored world wide and a personal favorite of mine. There’s nothing like getting up early and sitting down at the computer terminal with a steaming hot cup of coffee and dual monitors. It’s one of my favorite times of the day, checking up on the mornings online happenings and sipping my favorite brand.

Know anymore interesting information about coffee or do you enjoy an unusual brand or flavor? Please share with us in the comments below.

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21 thoughts on “Coffee, Coffee Houses and their Origins
  1. I have always loved coffee, can’t think of a morning without it 😛 Great to know the history behind it. Thanks!

  2. With so many coffee addicts in the world downing the stuff to get through their working day, looks like coffee houses are here to stay!

    1. I agree Anthony. I don’t see coffee houses going anywhere in the future. It’s almost a favorite pastime these days.

  3. The Boston Tea Party Of 1773 was planned in a coffee house. when we tired, coffee play role as energy enhancer and again we busy in our tasks.

    1. Yah it’s pretty cool how the coffee and Boston Tea Party intertwine with one another. There were many big political movements during those times.

  4. man has always been a quick learner.
    We have learnt a lot about survival from mother earth.
    It is just an example of how humans learn from the animals too!

    1. Hey Yogesh, glad to see you around. I definitely agree with your comment, but a little confused as to how it fits in with the topic. 🙂

        1. Ohh man, sorry Yogesh, yah I gotcha. My mind must of been somewhere else when reading your comment.

          It’s very true though Yogesh, we have learned many things from watching animals, although many of us would never admit it…lol

  5. My father has a coffee plantation. I never really thought it was such a big deal when I was growing up. I only took a lot of interest when I started enjoying drinking coffee in college. It keeps me up when I needed to stay wide awake on exams week and kept me alert when I needed to finish school projects. But more than those things, I learned to appreciate all the efforts that went into the production of those coffee products that we enjoy today — from the planting, to harvesting, to the drying up process, etc. It’s not easy to grow a coffee plant. It takes years and my father had to grow other fruit-bearing plants while waiting for the coffee to bear their own fruits. This supplemented the family’s income until the coffee is ready for harvest.

    1. Wow Joy, I really appreciate you sharing your experience with the coffee industry with us. I drink quite a bit of coffee each day, but rarely think about what all goes into the growth and processing side of it.

      As many coffee drinkers probably don’t think about the process either. I definitely have a new respect for the coffee plantation after hearing your story. Thanks for a greatly relevant comment!

    1. Amen Gewicht. I love a good cup of joe, I usually drink it throughout the day myself. I’m glad you can appreciate the post and thank for stopping by.

  6. Coffee ? Yes, please 🙂 I love it to, too much 🙂 Energizing and entertaining my taste cups 🙂 Nice article.

    1. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for coffee with us. I feel the same way, especially in the morning, must have my starting cup! 🙂

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