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A Potted History of Coffee

Legend says that Ethiopian goat herders discovered the joys of coffee after observing increased energy in their flocks after grazing on particular berries.
Around 1000AD Arab traders returning from Africa brought home coffee beans which they boiled into a drink called ‘qahwa’.
Soon the first coffee houses appeared in Mecca and subsequently throughout the Arab world they became luxurious places of entertainment and relaxation.
During the 1400’s coffee was introduced to Venice from Constantinople and finally reaches acceptance in Italy during the 1600’s. So pervasive was this new ‘infidel’ drink that Pope Clement V? bestowed papal approval upon the ‘Devil’s Drink’, thereby creating a Christian beverage for the people.
The spread of coffee through Europe continued and in the mid-1600’s the first coffee house in England made its debut, coffee houses quickly became ‘men only’ establishments with women only allowed to serve.

Coffee houses proliferated and became commonly known as ‘penny universities’; a penny being the cost of a cup of coffee.

The year 1688 saw Edward Lloyd open a coffee house that was the beginning of the still flourishing Lloyd’s of London insurance company and the London Stock Exchange began life as Jonathon’s Coffee House.
By the late 1600’s coffee become popular in the Americas and became the breakfast beverage of choice in the new colonies. The Dutch became the first Europeans to cultivate coffee in Ceylon and Java, providing an enduring nickname. The Brazillian coffee industry began in the early 1700’s with plant stock smuggled from French plantations and by 1800’s had become the biggest coffee producer in the world.

Boston’s famous Tea Party led to coffee being accepted as the patriotic beverage of choice for all good revolutionaries and set the scene for the next big growth period. In Europe Luigi Bezzera files a patent for the first espresso machine that lead to the first commercial espresso machine being manufactured in Italy in 1905.

By 1900 roast coffee available packed in vacuum tins with instant coffee invented in America in 1901. Shortly after, the first soluble instant coffee was improved upon and the first mass produced instant coffee was released onto the market. The USA was importing over 70% of the world’s coffee by the mid-19940’s and a revolution begun in the Ethiopian wilderness almost a thousand years ago was still gaining momentum.

In 1938 Achille Gaggia patented the modern steam-free coffee with cream machine and the cappuccino burst onto the coffee stage, named after the colour of the robes worn by the monks of the Capuchin order.

FAEMA introduced the first pump operated espresso machine called the E61 after the total eclipse of the sun experienced in Italy in that year. The E61 has been the inspiration for many of the world’s successful espresso machines but still to this day remains one of the most elegant & respected espresso machines.

A more recent addition to the coffee family is the espresso pod machine. Like a teabag the pod is ground coffee measured, tamped and sealed in a bio-degradable paper puck.
Thus ensuring even a beginner can produce a high quality and consistent coffee every time. The current fascination with fresh roasted whole bean coffee can be traced back to the opening of the first Starbucks in Seattle in 1971.

In 2008 coffee would become the world’s favourite drink with more than 500 billion cups consumed during the year.........and it just continues!

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