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Coffee history

Coffee? That’s a long story. Here’s a brief narrative of the Noble Tree, its legends and how it spread around the world, thanks to its unique characteristics.

The evolution of coffee

How did coffee reach the popularity it has today? To answer this question, we have to travel back in time to the ​​17th century.

Noble Tree Legends

Coffee's journey to worldwide recognition is full of legendary tales dating back to 9th century Ethiopia, where a goat-herder named Kaldi discovered the crop's energetic properties from observing his flock eat the plant's cherries. Coffee eventually made its way into the Islamic world, where two merchants named Hakim and Gems opened the first café in 1554 Constantinople. European explorers later took coffee everywhere, giving us tales like Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu's treacherous sea voyage.

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.

Rise of The Modern Roaster

By the 15th century, coffee roasting had become standard practice throughout the Ottoman Empire, with the 17th-century invention of the cylinder roaster in Cairo being the first-ever mechanical roasting method. Now fully industrialized, coffee roasting has become a more varied market with an increased demand for quality. Today, specialty baristas are viewed as coffee sommeliers who work with higher-quality roasts and, in some cases, roast coffee themselves, leading to the rise of micro-roasters who source, roast, and sell fresh coffee.

The Coffee Waves

Coffee's transition to everyday commodity can be studied in three distinct coffee waves. The First Coffee Wave, dating back to the 1800s, saw the initial monetization of coffee and the rise of major chains and pre-ground bags. Coffee's Second Wave, from the 1970s to early 2000s, witnessed a boom in coffee chain giants, as well as a demand for higher-quality coffee. Lastly, the Third Coffee Wave saw the rise of specialty coffee. Similar to wine, today's coffee consumer expects to know roast dates, processing methods, and where their beans come from.

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