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Thursday, September 29, 2016


Illustration of a 17th century coffee house in Istanbul/Constantinople, Turkey
National Coffee Day is celebrated annually on September 29. People across the United States celebrate one of the most beloved morning beverages on National Coffee Day. It is a morning favorite, however, it is found being drunk throughout the day either hot or cold and either black or with additives such as cream, creamers, milk, sugar, flavored syrups and ice.

There are many legendary accounts of how coffee first came to be but the earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or the knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the SUFI monasteries around Mokha in Yemen.  It was here where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed, similarly to how it is prepared today.  Yemeni traders brought coffee back to their homeland from Ethiopia and began to cultivate the seed.

Image from the University of California/Los Angeles Daily Bruin newspaper
In 1670, coffee seeds were smuggled out of the Middle East by Baba Budan, as he strapped seven coffee seeds onto his chest.  The first plants grown from these smuggled seeds were planted in Mysore.  It was then that coffee spread to Italy, to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and to the Americas.

In 1583, Leonard Rauwolf, a German physician, gave this description of coffee after returning from a ten-year trip to the Near East:
A beverage as black as ink, useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. It’s consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.
         —LĂ©onard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German) (Wikipedia)

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