Coffee Break – The History Of Caffeine
Black Coffee. Source: (wikimedia.org)
Coffee is something some people depend on these days to help them start their day while others simply enjoy sitting down with a good cup of “Joe.” Where did coffee actually come from? Not only does coffee come in many different strengths and flavors – it even has many different countries of origin.
There are various legends that may or may not be true about the introduction of coffee. One of them has to do with a goat herder named Kaldi in Ethiopia. He supposedly noticed that his goats were eating some berries from a particular tree and after they ate these berries, they got so wired up that they would not sleep. Kaldi told the abbot at the monastery about what happened with the goats, so the abbot took some of the berries and made a drink out of it. After drinking it, he was able to stay awake through the evening prayer, which was several hours. The news spread throughout the monastery and beyond to Arabia.
When coffee reached the Arab lands, they began capitalizing on it by creating plantations of it and boiling the beans to make drinks out of it. The Ottoman Turks brought coffee to Constantinople. Coffee Houses began opening up there as well as other places. Arabia and Africa monopolized the coffee market and so forbid anyone from taking the “fertile” beans out of their countries, but a good thing is hard to contain. Eventually, someone did succeed in getting some out by hiding them against his stomach. It was an Asian Indian named Baba Budan who managed to get some back to India.
Coffee comes to Europe
By the 17th century, coffee showed up in Europe, but not everyone was enthusiastic about it. Some people, including clergymen, thought it was a “satanic drink” which brought about much controversy. Pope Clement VIII decided to try it himself to settle the controversy. After trying it, he was very pleased with the taste, so he approved it. Coffee houses popped up all over in the big cities throughout England, Germany, Austria, France, and Holland where people would gather to socialize and enjoy this new beverage. By the middle of the century, there were over 300 coffee houses in London alone.
French settlers brought the coffee plant into Brazil in the early 18th century, and it proceeded to spread throughout the country. By 1820, it was no longer sugar but coffee that became their biggest export; and, by the 19th century, coffee was being exported to Europe and America. The year 1840 brought massive success to Brazil as they became number one in the world for coffee exports; but, with the abolition of slavery in 1888, it almost came to a halt since they primarily used slaves on their plantations. With new immigrant programs encouraged by the government, Europeans began to work the coffee fields, so Brazil has been able to remain the largest exporter of coffee in the world.
Coffee lovers should love this. Not to be outdone by Brazil; but, besides plantations, Colombia even has a theme park called Colombian National Coffee Park. It is not a cheesy little amusement park either. They do have a museum and attractions related to the history of coffee, but they also have big roller coasters, water park rides like the log flume, and other major rides like those at places like Disney World.
What’s Your Pleasure?
Different flavors for different folks. Everybody has their own taste and strength of coffee. Certain factors affect the strength and taste of the coffee. Even climate and weather can change the way coffee tastes. Some prefer it to be black and strong, while others prefer it to be mild with cream and sugar. There are many ways to make coffee. Various flavors can be added such as Hazelnut and Irish Creme which can also be bought already pre-mixed into the cream itself. Coffee can come in the form of espresso, iced coffee, cappuccino, Frappuccino, café mocha, Latte, Jamocha shake, and more as drinks. It can even come in the form of candies and desserts.
Coffee has passed Coca-Cola as the number one drink around the world. It is odd to think of getting a drink like coffee from a fruit (a cherry). No wonder coffee drinkers get so hooked on it. Another odd fact is that coffee is not just a drink or food but also a fertilizer. Imagine that!