The history of coffee: Major dates, Coffee conquers the world
the history of coffee

The history of coffee: Major dates, Coffee conquers the world

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The history of coffee: The development of coffee culture across centuries and continents is a real epic, a story of thieves and sailors!

From confinement in Arabia to India (17th century)

Very jealous of their coffee, the Arabs forbade its exportation. As soon as they understood the value of selling it to Westerners, they began to trade it, however taking great care to scald the seeds to kill the embryo and thus prevent replanting.

In the 17th century, the Hindu pilgrim, Baba Budan, managed to bring out 7 coffee cherries from Arabia. Back in India, he planted his seeds in front of his hut in Chickmaghur, in the mountains of Mysore. Thus, with only 14 seeds, India became the world’s largest coffee producer in the 19th century.

The Razzia of the Dutch (1690)

The trade-in spices and other exotic products gave rise to a fierce struggle between European traders, each wanting to obtain a monopoly …

In 1690, the Dutchman Nikolaus Witten accosted with his caravel on the coast of Moka, disembarked about forty men who made a real raid on a coffee plantation, picking as many cherries as possible and pulling up young shoots.


They embarked on their precious booty and planted the seeds stolen in the Netherlands Indies where they proliferated.

From there, a shrub was sent to Holland, to the botanist Commelin. Maintained at a temperature of 18 ° / 25 ° C, the tree planted in the greenhouse at the Botanical Garden of Amsterdam grew perfectly; it bloomed and gave seeds.

In 1714, the Dutch were thus able to plant the first coffee trees in Dutch Guyana and Surinam.

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Coffee plants offered to the King of France (1713)

Under Colbert, France understood how much interest its colonies could derive from the cultivation of coffee.


In 1713, on the occasion of the peace of Utrecht, the mayor of Amsterdam offered 4 coffee trees to Louis XIV, who entrusted them to the curator of the Jardin des Plantes in Marly.

The said Jussieu put them in the ground and developed them; the coffee trees were officially presented on July 29, 1714. They measured 1.60 m and their trunk had a diameter of 2.7 cm!

The devoted Gabriel de Clieu (1721)

The history of Coffee:

In 1721, an infantry captain garrisoned in Martinique, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, requested that he be entrusted with coffee trees for planting on the island.

He was satisfied and set off with two trees wedged in a chain box covered with a frame acting like a greenhouse.

The crossing was eventful …


A sailor, of Dutch origin, tried to destroy the tree but only managed to tear off a branch. Clue then constantly watched his property, slept at his side, and obtained that the sailor was disembarked in Lisbon.

Off Madeira, it was the Pirates’ turn to attempt the boarding.

The crew defended themselves; Clieu even beheaded the chief of the corsairs!

A Spanish galley came to the rescue and the crossing could resume. The journey was not over …

On the outskirts of Martinique, a terrible storm broke out. The ship was in peril; anything that could weigh him down except one of the two trees, of course, was thrown overboard.


The storm, as often in these regions, succeeded dead calm. Not a breath of air. In the heat which had become oppressive, with water running out on board, Clieu shared his ration of water with the coffee tree.

Having finally touched the ground, he planted his shrub; a shrub at the origin of many descendants …

The story ends well, as a reward for his loyal service to the islands, Clieu was appointed governor of Guadeloupe in 1730.

Off Madeira, it was the Pirates’ turn to attempt the boarding.

The crew defended themselves; Clieu even beheaded the chief of the corsairs!


A Spanish galley came to the rescue and the crossing could resume. The journey was not over …

On the outskirts of Martinique, a terrible storm broke out. The ship was in peril; anything that could weigh him down except one of the two trees, of course, was thrown overboard.

The storm, as often in these regions, succeeded dead calm. Not a breath of air. In the heat which had become oppressive, with water running out on board, Clieu shared his ration of water with the coffee tree.

Having finally touched the ground, he planted his shrub; a shrub at the origin of many descendants …

The story ends well, as a reward for his loyal service to the islands, Clieu was appointed governor of Guadeloupe in 1730.


Portuguese Lieutenant Colonel and the governor’s wife

The history of Coffee:

The Portuguese, installed in what was to become Brazil, sent Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta as ambassador to Mr. d’Orvilliers, governor of Guyana, officially to discuss the delimitation of the borders between the two territories, in reality, to obtain some coffee beans.

The governor invited the colonel to lunch but refused him the few seeds in the name of the French government’s ban.

At the end of the meal in the garden, the Portuguese diplomat offered his arm to Madame d’Orvilliers …

No doubt he was attractive since passing near a coffee tree, the latter gave him some cherries while whispering in his ear that if the French government had forbidden her husband, he had not forbidden her. !

This is how Brazil was covered with coffee trees of French origin …


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The Colombian penitents (17th century)

The history of Colombian plantations is even more incredible. The country’s rulers encouraged their peasants to plant coffee. They refused to do so. A coffee tree takes 5 years to give its first harvest, but how can we live during all this time …

Francisco Romero, the brave pastor of the tiny village of Salazar, had an idea: instead of inflicting Pater or Ave on his flock, he would condemn them to plant 3 or 5 coffee trees.

The bishop, seduced by this idea, generalized the method.

Colombia owes its wealth to the sins of its children!


How is the passion for coffee

come to Italy?

The history of coffee in Italy

Ships loaded with cargo stopped at Mediterranean ports before reaching their final destinations. When they landed in Genoa or Venice, coming directly from the ports of embarkation, some of the coffee, which was not yet prepared in bags but thrown loosely at the bottom of the hold was unloaded. It was the one that had been exposed to salt, water, and wind that came first and was consumed on the spot. It had to be roasted and extracted accordingly, to alleviate the sometimes altered taste.

The best of the cargo went to the ports of northern Europe for unloading and consumption in Holland and Germany.

On the way back, the boats called at Naples, the last port, where the bilge was scraped. The less good qualities of coffee then had to be roasted intensely to mask the strong and bitter taste.

Thus, Italians developed their imaginations to roast, extract, and prepare coffee to get the best out of it despite qualities that too often left much to be desired!

The conquests of the 20th century

Today, at a time when countries are crumbling under overproduction, the conquest of the world by coffee is not over. Countries like Vietnam and China are in turn trying to plant and develop coffee trees.


The development of coffee consumption is a story full of twists and turns; sometimes of feats of arms but above all of the shared passions for the divine drink.

Avicenna’s medicinal coffee (11th century)

In the 11th century, the great Iranian doctor Avicenna described the effects of coffee on the digestive system and the cardiovascular system in two of his works “The Canon of Medicine” and “The Illuminative Philosophy”. Before they took a liking to it and enjoyed it, the Muslims, used coffee as medicine.


The way to Mecca leads to Turkey (16th century)

Mufti d´Aden spread the virtues of coffee from Persia to Mecca. Coffee took off because of the number of pilgrims who traveled to the holy city each year. It was thus a huge success in Istanbul where two Syrian traders opened in 1555 the first coffee shop.

A few years later, the city of the Bosphorus had more than 500!

Coffee thus became the Turkish national drink. Indispensable to such an extent that for a husband, not to provide his daily dose of coffee to his wife, was grounds for divorce!

As for the Grand Vizier, he never received an ambassador without serving him a coffee …

It was then the army of Suleyman the Magnificent which during its victorious campaigns brought coffee from the Balkans to Spain, from Central Europe to North Africa.


THE PORT OF VENICE and the opening of the “Florian” (1615/1644).

Through the writings of an Italian doctor, mad about plants, but also of Pietro Della Valle, a traveling writer fascinated by the Orient and its charms, the curiosity of the Italian public for the drink is fueled …

In 1615, the first batch of coffee arrived in Venice, which had become a trade hub. Over time, other major ports, including London and Amsterdam, compete with the city of Marseille; at the same time, the origin of coffee is diversifying.

In 1720, the “Florian” café opened in Venice, Piazza San Marco. Casanova, Proust, Madame de Staël, and Musset become its pillars. Three centuries later, the “Florian” remains an essential institution!

The cafe of the great Turk Soliman Agha (1669)

In 1669, to renew the political alliance against Austria, the Sultan of Turkey sent an ambassador Soliman Agha to the King of France, Louis XIV. Its mission is to use great means to dazzle the French sovereign.

The wait for the hearing lasts 5 months! 5 months during which, Soliman Agha makes all the nobles of the court discover Turkish delights, sorbets, and coffee!


The chic now is to go for coffee at “Le Grand Turc” … It is this snobbery of the time that Molière derides at the end of the “Bourgeois Gentilhomme” with the Mamamouchi ceremony. When the King finally received the Ambassador, it is said that he was not won over by coffee, to which he preferred the chocolate of the Americas …

A café in Paris: “Le Procope” (1686)

In 1686, Francesco Procopiodei Coltelli, opened a café near the Odeon, in Paris; a clean and luxurious establishment with mirrors and marble tables, the success of which is immediate and which still exists at 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie.

As in the whole of Europe, consumption reached homes and became fashionable

Kolschitzky’s café and its pastries: “Zur Blauen Flasche” (1683/1684)

The story of the “Blue Bottle” deserves to be told; the fallout is still known today … In 1683, Vienna fell prey to the Turks for the second time. Charles de Lorraine’s relief army is not far from the city besieged by Mustapha the Terrible, but it is impossible to intervene without receiving precise information on the Turkish positions …

But the messengers of the Austrian governor are all intercepted! One day, a young Polish nobleman, Franz Georg Kolschitzky, who speaks fluent Turkish after having lived in Turkey, proposes to the governor to cross the Ottoman lines disguised as… Turkish. Mission successful: he contacts Charles de Lorraine and provides him with all the information required.


It was thanks to this intrepid young man that the Turkish army was defeated, leaving the front line, leaving behind cannons, ammunition, and … 500 bags of coffee!

Celebrated, thanked, now Austrian, Franz Georg Kolschitzky received these bags as a reward and from the government, the authorization to open a coffee shop.

Kolschitzky then invented Viennese coffee, filtering the brew he knew from Istanbul and adding a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of cream. He made newspapers available and, always seeking to go further to satisfy and retain his customers, he asked a pastry friend to invent him a crescent-shaped cake. The emblem that appeared on the Turkish flag became the ancestor of our croissants!

The cafes of the North with the smells of tobacco (17th century)

In Flanders and Holland, coffee was quickly associated with tobacco, hence the birth of “brown coffees”, brown like the walls blackened with smoke …

They drank a coffee drenched in milk, soaked in a small drop of alcohol.


The “Duif”, the “Hotte”, the “Falstaff” … These establishments became meeting places, friendly and warm where people met to discuss, work …

Coffee in the New World (1623 to the present day).

In 1624, the Dutch bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for … $ 24! And called it New Amsterdam.

The “Burns Coffeehouse” opened to King Army (now Broadway), which became the headquarters of the “Liberty Boys”, the association that instigated the independence of the United States.

In 1664, the island ceded to the English was renamed New York. Other coffee houses opened. Coffee, generally light, had become commonplace.

Since then, its consumption has grown. In the 90s, coffee consumption experienced a revival thanks to the Starbucks chain.



History of Coffee

Coffee is the fruit of a tree that grew wild thousands of years ago. Its mysterious discovery has given birth to many tales and legends.

The Kaldi Shepherd

It is said that in AD 850 in Yemen, Kaldi, a shepherd by profession, observed that his goats, after eating the small red berries of a shrub, were lively and frolicking like never before. Astonished to see them thus, he spoke about it to the prior of the neighboring convent who immediately prepared an infusion and made his monks taste it. The prior also noted that the monks remained awake most of the night!

One rainy day, intending to dry them out, one of the monks in the convent brought a branch laden with berries to the fire and forgot it. The berries began to char, giving off a very pleasant scent … The monk crushed the burnt berries and then, as usual, prepared the infusion.

Surprisingly, the resulting drink was much better than before. The roasted coffee was born!

Muhammad and the angel Gabriel h.


The Prophet Muhammad was ill. The angel Gabriel brought him a black drink sent by Allah. The prophet who quickly recovered his health baptized this drink “quawa”. A word that has since remained in the vocabulary and which gives its name to coffee in the Arabic language.

The old pilgrim

Leaning on his staff, a very pious old pilgrim devoted himself to prayer and penance. He was hungry and suddenly felt faint. His staff was firmly planted in the ground. The hours passed. Day fell. Suddenly, the Holy Man came to his senses, invaded by a delicious sensation of well-being. Astonished, he opened his eyes. His staff had blossomed! It was covered with leaves and red berries! Coffee with beneficial effects …

Sheik Omar

Exiled in the mountains of Yemen, almost starved to death, Sheik Omar is said to have survived by drinking a decoction of small red berries. One day he made a troop of lost and thirsty pilgrims drink it and thus succeeded in saving them. Sheik Omar then introduced the Sultan to the coffee, with whom he became close. It is thus, it is said, that the use of coffee has spread in the city of Aden …


The History of the coffee | Coffee and the 1 and 2 world war

You have to go back to the very distant past to trace the history of coffee. Native to the wilderness of Ethiopia, in the Kaffa region (Africa), cultivated in Yemen (Arabia), coffee is spread through the port of Mocha (Yemen).

Coffee conquers the world

History of Coffee

In Arabia, coffee passes through Mecca (a holy city to which devotees of Islam are required to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime). This is where the first coffee bars are created; the pilgrims meet there to discuss.


The drink crosses the border of Turkey and arrives in Constantinople (old name of Istanbul). Coffee then becomes the Turkish national drink.

From Turkey, coffee then set off to conquer Europe. Around 1615, the ships of the Venetian fleet brought the first bags of coffee to Venice. Coffee consumption spread throughout Italy, followed by Germany, England, and France. During the second half of the 17th century, this new drink will seduce all the countries of Europe before the Americas.

The extension of coffee culture

Until the beginning of the 17th century, Arabia had a monopoly on coffee production. It is a very protected product. It is forbidden to export coffee plants.

Around 1690, however, the Dutch succeeded in introducing the first plants to Ceylon, India, then to all their Asian colonies.

Botanical gardens play an important role in the spread of coffee culture. Indeed, Dutch sailors bring back coffee plants from Java. These plants are grown in a greenhouse at the Amsterdam Botanical Garden. The mayor of the city offered some of them to Louis XIV, who entrusted them to the Jardin du Roi, the current Jardin des Plantes.


The King’s Garden was originally a garden of medicinal herbs. Many plants and shrubs are studied there. The garden then serves as a relay for their dissemination around the world. This is the case with coffee. Louis XIV asks that some coffee plants be transported to the West Indian colonies. He wants coffee to be grown there to allow France to source freely.

Coffee is planted and cultivated there by the slaves. Its culture spread to Central America and Latin America. The end of slavery puts coffee production in the West Indies in difficulty. Brazil takes over and becomes the world’s leading producer of coffee at the start of the 20th century.

The history of coffee timeline: Major dates

9th century: If Avicenna is the real initiator of coffee, which he mentions in his work “Philosophy initiative and the canons of medicine”, the doctor Rhazès also mentions its effects in his writings.

  1. 13th century: It is from the holy cities of Islam, Mecca, and Medina that coffee is spread.
  2. 15th century: coffee is the favorite drink of the Arab world. Alcohol is prohibited, this drink is served medicinally.
  3. 1517: Coffee reaches Constantinople after Salim I conquered Egypt
  4. 1554: the opening of the first establishment serving coffee in Constantinople
  5. 1615: the arrival of coffee in Venice
  6. 1616: Coffee reaches Europe thanks to Venetian merchants who import coffee from the city of Mocha in Yemen.
  7. 1644: the first batch of coffee in the city of Marseille
  8. 1645: opening in Venice of the first coffee house in Europe
  9. 1658: The Dutch manage to bring a coffee plant back to the Netherlands
  10. 1669: Soliman Aga, Ambassador of the Ottoman Empire, introduces French high society to coffee.
  11. 1696: the Dutch transplant coffee cuttings to their colonies. For a century, the Arabian caliphs ban the export of coffee
  12. 1670: first coffee house in Marseille
  13. 1671: first café in England
  14. 1672: first coffee shop at the Saint-Germain fair, in Paris, by Pascal Haroukian
  15. 1677: first café in Hamburg, Germany
  16. 1684: the opening of the Procope, in Paris; it still exists in the 6th arrondissement
  17. 1685: the opening of the Llyod café in London
  18. 1688: the opening of the Zur Blauen Flasche, in Vienna, Austria
  19. 1694: first café in Leipzig, Germany
  20. 1704: first café in Munich, Germany
  21. 1712: first café in Stuttgart, Germany
  22. 1713: the mayor of Amsterdam offers some coffee plants to Louis XIV who makes them prosper in the Royal Garden
  23. 1720: France has a coffee plant transplanted by Gabriel de Clieu in the West Indian colonies in order to allow France to obtain supplies freely.
  24. 1720: The Florian café opens on Saint Mark’s Square in Venice; he still exists.
  25. 1721: Gabriel de lieu takes coffee plants to Martinique
  26. 1721: Opening of El Pombo, the cafe of kings, in Madrid, Spain. The first cafe in Berlin, Germany
  27. 1723: the arrival of coffee in Guadeloupe and the development of its culture and its spread throughout Latin America.
  28. 1725: the opening of the Quadri café in Venice, the Pedrocchi café in Padua, the Barakis café in Turin, Italy
  29. 1727: the wife of the governor of Guyana, seduced by Brazilian Sergeant Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta, secretly hands him cherries, the origin of future plantations in America. A century later, Brazil becomes the world’s leading coffee producer. The country and the coffee barons benefit until 1850 (date of the abolition of slavery), from a very inexpensive labor force, made up of slaves, which allows the strong development of the culture of coffee. in Brazil.
  30. 1730: Louis XV roasts his own coffee. The British introduced coffee to Jamaica.
  31. 1760: The Atico Caffe Greco opens in Rome, Italy
  32. 1789: coffee tasting places called “cafes” act as political circles.
  33. 1798: during the war in Egypt, Napoleon walks to the café.
  34. 1878: British settlers establish the first coffee crops in Kenya.
  35. 1887: the French launch coffee production in Tonkin (Vietnam).
  36. 1906: Brazil experiences an overproduction of coffee.
  37. 1929: faced with the stock market crisis, the Brazilian government buys coffee from its farmers and burns it to defend its prices on the stock market.
  38. 1969: Astronauts consume tube coffee on the moon.
  39. 1990: the creation of “Starbucks” which change the consumption of coffee in the United States
  40. 2000: Development of fair trade relations between producers and consumers

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