The European Love Affair with Coffee
Following coffee’s spread in the Middle East, European ships returned home with bags of this exciting new ingredient. Europe's first cafés emerged almost simultaneously, beginning with Venice in 1640. By the mid-17th century, there were over 300 coffee shops in London, many of which attracted merchants, shippers, brokers, and artists. Towards the late 18th century, coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops, placing it on its path to becoming a billion-dollar industry.