Coffee Collection - Coffee For Restaurants and Cafes - Foodservice - Canada

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Coffee History

Origin of Coffee

Where is coffee grown? When and how was it discovered? How long have we been consuming this motivational brew? The popularity and ever-changing flavors of coffee continue to reach higher levels. Not to mention the intriguing names that try to explain the complexity, growing region, and food pairing of each delicious blend.

Discovery of Coffee

Around 800 A.D., coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, one of the world’s oldest countries. Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats dancing and frolicking after eating cherry-red berries from small bushes. Intrigued, Kaldi tasted the berries. He experienced a delightful aroma as he roasted them over a fire. He brewed the first cup of coffee in history.

Spread and Popularity

Kaldi shared the discovery with monks in a nearby monastery. They found that the energizing beans enhanced their alertness during prayer vigils and study sessions. The news of this stimulating beverage spread, and Arab traders brought coffee beans back to their country. They planted the beans in their own soil, giving them the name “Kahwah,” meaning “keep one from sleep.”

Early methods of consuming coffee involved soaking the beans in water, mixing them with spices and herbs. Sometimes, fermenting them with leaves and fruit. Workers in the fields even mixed coffee beans with butter or honey for energy.

Over time, coffee gained popularity. Traders brought it to Yemen, Turkey, Armenia, Persia, and Northern Africa. Eventually, it made its way to Italy and Europe through trading ships. In the early 1800s, coffee reached Indonesia and the Americas, solidifying its place in global culture.

The Art of Roasting

Although the legend of Kaldi depicts him roasting the beans, it wasn’t until the thirteenth century that Arabs discovered the roasting process. They roasted the beans over an open fire, noticing how heat transformed their flavor, aroma, and shape. Roasting coffee beans became an art and science. With lighter roasts offering a mellow and smooth taste. While darker roasts became bold, rich, and full-bodied.

Europeans later developed closed ovens for roasting coffee beans. In the 19th century, large-scale roasting equipment revolutionized the commercial coffee industry.

Additional Coffee History

During the Ottoman Empire, coffeehouses became important social gathering places. Sharing coffees for entertainment, and intellectual exchange. In the 17th century, coffees arrived in America. Coffeehouses played a crucial role in the American Revolution as meeting places for revolutionaries.

In the 20th century, instant coffee was invented, revolutionizing coffee consumption with its convenience. Coffee culture continued to evolve, with the rise of specialty coffee shops, espresso drinks. Now we have the third wave coffee movement, focused on quality and sustainability.

Today, coffee remains one of the most beloved beverages worldwide, connecting people across cultures and providing a source of inspiration and enjoyment. 

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