Did you know that Coffee originated in Ethiopia? It evolved right in the same area as the human species, in the Rift Valley, also known as the “craddle of mankind.” Our thought - what better first blog post to share with you than the fascinating history of coffee! This will be the first of many posts, we invite you to share feedback &/or suggestions.
So, back to Ethiopia. Legend is that the ancient Ethiopian warriors would combine animal fat and coffee fruit in a ball, making essentially what would be an energy bar in today’s world. The warriors would eat these energy balls before going into battle. This powerful combination of energy from the animal fat and caffeine from the coffee fruit assisted the Ethiopians in earning their reputation for being fierce in battle.
Around the 15th century, coffee made its way across the Red Sea from Ethiopia to Arabia Felix, now known as Yemen. The people in Yemen cultivated the coffee and it turned into a big deal, so they started exporting it out of their main port - the Port of Mocha. The coffee industry became so important that if anyone was caught taking fertile coffee seeds out of Yemen they were sentenced to death.
Some Dutch spies were successful in smuggling a few seeds out of Yemen and planted them on Java, an island of Indonesia. Their coffee farms flourished and that’s why coffee is still referred to as Java today. Down the road, the Dutch gave King Louis XIV of France a coffee tree as a gift. The French built a greenhouse for the tree, nurtured it and took cuttings in order to replant the coffee in their colonies of the Caribbean. This one plant ended up parenting most of the coffee in Central & South America.
Out of the thousands of coffee varieties that originated in Ethiopia, only a few varietals (around 30) made it out to the rest of the world. The genetic diversity and prime growing conditions found in Ethiopia create uniquely delicious tasting notes unlike those found anywhere else. And with that we will end our first blog post. We hope you found it interesting, until next time ♥ Peace Love and Coffee, Joan & David
Sources: Peter Giuliano - Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, National Geographic