Coffee history

Legends abound about the discovery of coffee. One of the original tales tells of a goatherd living in Ethiopia in the middle of the ninth century AD. One day he noticed that after eating a particular type of fruit, his goats would become very lively. Shortly after, local monks ate the berries, but were disgusted by the strong, bitter flavour, and tossed them into the fireplace. The beans began to roast on the red hot coals, and soon the monks began to notice an incredible aroma. Curious about what they had discovered, they ground the roast beans, and created the first coffee drink.

As far as history can discern, actual coffee drinking goes back to the 11th century. Imported into Arabia from Ethiopia, Persians were fascinated by the new beverage, a substitute for wine, since Muslims were forbidden to drink real wine.

Late in the 15th century, coffee reached the Kingdom of Arabia, later to land in Cairo in 1510. Coffee became increasingly important, and the first coffee houses opened in Aleppo and Damascus in 1530 and 1532. Curious about what they had discovered, they ground the roast beans, and created the first coffee drink.

In 1615, merchants from Venice returned to Western Europe with the first sacks of coffee, and with its incredible aroma and invigorating effects, it rapidly became a favorite beverage. Coffee houses sprang up though Europe, and employers soon discovered that with the aid of the beverage, alcoholic drunkards were turned into reliable workers. Shortly after, the English and Dutch exported coffee to their colonies.

Cultivation of the coffee plant. Naturally, with the spread of coffee, came the cultivation of the coffee plant. As early as the late 1600s, entrepreneurs were able to grow the plants in greenhouses. In 1714, one plant was sent to Louis XIV, and that single plant is believed to have been the original ancestor to millions of coffee plants.

Today, most of the world's coffee production
originates in Central and South America. In the last 250 years, the consumption of coffee beans has increased from 600,000 bags to over 100 million bags per year.

According to researchers, there are up to 1000 diverse chemicals in coffee, some of which are antioxidants. Antioxidants, of course, help to support the immune system. It has also been said that coffee increases awareness, and mental activity, and actually decreases depression. On occasion it has been given to children with Attention Deficiency Disorder in order to induce a calming effect. In addition, recent preliminary studies have suggested that women who drink coffee have a smaller chance of contracting breast cancer.

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