Facts and Fictions
always sure which is which!)
- Our best
guess is that coffee originated in
Ethiopia. A Persian doctor references coffee in the tenth century and
perhaps had been cultivated for a couple of centuries before that.
- There is a
legend about an Ethiopian
shepherd boy who observed his goats in a happy dance: the goats were
the cherries of coffee bushes. The shepherd boy, Kaldi, decided to join
goats. He ate the fruit, got the same coffee buzz, danced with his
the rest is history and/or more legend.
in the fourteen hundreds someone
was separating the seeds (mistakenly we call them beans), roasting the
and dissolving chemicals from the roasted beans in hot water, giving
coffee as we know it. God bless that someone whoever he or she was!
- In the
fifteenth century Sufi monks used
coffee to keep themselves awake for meditation and prayers in the
- In the
late fourteen hundreds coffee came
to Turkey and soon was a smash hit. A law in Turkey stated that a woman
divorce her husband if he did not provide her with coffee every day.
this law still on the books?
- The coffee
seeds or plants or cuttings
crossed the Red Sea to Yemen and Mocha, a port in Yemen. This became so associated with
the coffee trade
that Mocha is for us another name for coffee. Attempts to control
and plants failed. Coffee cultivation spread to India and Sri Lanka.
traders spread coffee further and further. By 1700 Java in Indonesia
plantations controlled by the Dutch. Java is another name we use for
English word “coffee” is derived from
the Dutch “Koffie” derived from Turkish “Kahre” originally taken from an Arabic
phrase that means the
“wine of the bean.”
coffee is cultivated in many
countries between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.
growing conditions are 3000 feet or
more above sea level, volcanic soil, all under the shade of taller
poorer quality coffee is produced at
lower altitudes from coffee plants that thrive at lower altitudes.
Napoleon controlled most of Europe and
the British navy controlled the seas, Napoleon banned coffee in Europe
encouraged instead drinks made from ground chicory roots. Importing
Europe because of the blockade of the British navy was difficult. But
Napoleon was eventually exiled to the island St. Helena he tried to
coffee on St. Helena: his efforts failed.
- Most of
the history of coffee spreading
around the world is
a history of
oppression by developed nations in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and
- It was in
Boston's Green Dragon coffeehouse
that leaders of the American Revolution met to plot rebellion. After
Tea Party happened next door, Americans
opted for coffee over tea.
- In 1674
the Women's Petition Against Coffee
complained in graphic sexual terms to King Charles II that their men
much time in the coffeehouses and their coffee drinking made them
men responded in graphic sexual terms that coffee drinking made them
in Europe and England were
places that created unrest for rulers. In 1675 Charles II proclaimed
suppression of the coffeehouses. The reaction was so strong the king
- J. S. Bach
frequented coffeehouses. In 1735
he composed his Coffee Cantata in which a daughter complains to her
because he wants to curb her coffee drinking. Eventually the daughter
over her dad. Bach's composing is mostly sacred. His secular Coffee
his veiled way of reacting to government suppression of
the popular coffeehouses.
- In 1777
Frederick the Great issued a
manifesto against coffee to support the more traditional German drink
Both German beer and coffee continue to thrive.
- It is
estimated that 100 cups or five
gallons of coffee is lethal! The French philosopher Voltaire drank 50
coffee a day. This level of consumption is not recommended! President
Roosevelt drank a
gallon of coffee a
day. Neither is this level of consumption recommended!
contrast composer Ludwig van Beethoven
ground exactly sixty roasted coffee beans to make a cup of coffee.
- There are
two main varieties of coffee plants.
One is Arabica from which all high quality coffees are made. The other
Robusta which is a more vigorous plant, more disease resistant, more
and grows at low altitudes. Lots of low cost coffee contains much
Beware of cans or bags of coffee that say “100% coffee.” As a bare
for “100% Arabica.”
Washington, not the famous one, but
George Constant Washington, an English citizen with a Belgian mother,
coffee in 1906. Too bad! Instant coffee is mostly made from Robusta and
the atomic bomb, once the genie is out of the bottle it is hard to get
store your roasted coffee in the
fridge or freezer. Roasted coffee is a sponge for smells and tastes.
have made coffee the spent grounds can be left in the fridge like
to absorb smells.
coffee grounds are good compost for
flowers including rose bushes. Also spent coffee grounds can be rubbed
food to remove same from floors and counter tops without scratching