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Where Did Coffee Come From?

This is an interesting question for any Java junkie, and it may have you scratching your head… The truth of the matter is that coffee has an intricate and dark history that will catch your attention and make you appreciate your daily cup of Joe even more!

Coffee was rumored to have been discovered in Ethiopia by a goat-herder that noticed his goats acting energetic after eating coffee beans from a tree. From this point, Java was seen as a source of energy and stamina, and it was often used by ancient Ethiopians to roll with animal fat to give them energy for battle. Whatever floats your boat…

Interestingly enough, the earliest record of Java was before the discovery in Ethiopia in 900 BC. At this time, coffee was said to have been used as medicine by Arabian doctors, but this is the only historical mention of coffee before becoming popularized in Ethiopia. From that time, more people began to consume coffee beans, and Java began to be farmed in Yemen, Arabia, and Egypt. By the time that 1445 rolled around, Java was a part of every culture, including Turkey. According to custom, Turkish women were allowed to divorce their husbands if they did not provide enough daily coffee to them. Quite interesting!

Nonetheless, other cultures felt differently about Java, even going so far as to ban it. In the 16th century, Pope Clement VIII was requested by the priests for coffee to be banned, but he chose to decline. Coffee was next introduced in the 1600s to North America by Captain John Smith, who was the founder of Jamestown, Virginia. Soon the first coffee house would open in London, which was the first place in the world to start a tipping policy. The rumor was that tipping stood for “To Insure Prompt Service”.

Coffee drinking was again opposed in 1656 when it was banned by the Ottoman Empire. Anyone caught drinking Java during this ban was punished severely by being dunked in water inside of a leather bag. However, just 10 short years later, Louis XIV was introduced by a Turkish Ambassador to coffee as it became popular in Europe. Around that same time, the first Java trader became licensed in America in 1670 named Dorothy Jones, who lived in Boston.

Within that time period, the Women’s Petition Against Coffee took place in England, since women were not allowed in coffee shops. Coffee houses were primarily used by men for socializing and strategizing, and the women felt that coffee houses were inappropriate and should be banned.

Coffee cups came into existence in the 1700s, when handles were developed for coffee bowls in Europe. Java was initially consumed in bowls, but handles give a convenient opportunity to easily hold the small cup while sipping.

As you can see, Java has a truly complex history, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Once you understand how far Java has come worldwide in every culture, you can appreciate your morning cup of Joe even more!