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An Accidental History of Coffee in 5 minutes

September 29, 2017

The humble coffee drink we know today is a an accidental drink. It was discovered by accident, made into a drink by accident and became popular by accident. Believe it or not, coffee is the accidental drink of our time. 

So, as the story goes, a long time ago an Ethiopian guy from Kaffa saw his goats jumping around like crazy after eating some beans and said "Whatever it is they are having, I'm gonna have some too!" Thus, he accidentally discovered the miraculous coffee bean.

Fast forward a few years later, some really persistent guy in Yemen tried to eat the bean raw, was too bitter, roasted it, was too hard, boiled it to soften it, and accidentally discovered the coffee drink we know it today. The drink was a miracle drink of the time because it kept one buzzed and awake. That guy was promptly made a saint - something like winning a Nobel prize of his time.

From Yemen, the practice of coffee drinking rapidly spread throughout the Middle East and the first coffeehouses were born. Coffee was especially popular among Arab scholars who constantly needed to stay awake to study more. And because of that connection between scholars and coffee - coffee drinking developed an intellectual vibe. 

It didn't take long for someone to smuggle the coffee plant out to India and from there, coffee was first brought to Italy and spread to the rest of the world. The Italians were the first ones to mama mia coffee and experimented with new ways of drinking it. That's why most of your coffee drinks have cute Italian names - cappuccino, espresso, macchiato etc.

The British, French and Dutch also can't get enough of the brown gold so they hopped on their ships and brought the coffee plant to the Americas, Vietnam and Indonesia. 

With a bang and a boom, some angry men dressed as one of the Village People (native Americans) tossed an awful lot of English tea into the sea in Boston (Boston Tea Party) and kicked out the tea-loving English from America. Hence, they accidentally, set America on the path to be the world's largest consumer of coffee. 

Coffee gradually became part of the American morning ritual and rapid economic growth fueled demand for good coffee and people who needed good coffee. A clever young entrepreneur named Howard saw an opportunity and set up a coffeeshop on Pike Place - Starbucks was born. And as you know it, Howard became pretty rich. Soon waves of similar chain coffeeshops started popping up all over the world. 

By 1999, the world was ready to drink better coffee so some guy had this genius idea to create high quality coffee (speciality coffee) and market it posh and sell it expensive (Come on, coffee is 95% water!)....the 3rd wave trend coffee began.



And there you have it, the accidental history of coffee in 5 minutes. Watch out for our next article "What the hoot is 3rd Wave Coffee?" coming up next Friday :)


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