The beauty of a remarkable cup of coffee is in the process of bringing beans to cup that has been refined over millennia. While the history of coffee begins in the 15th century, all coffee forests can trace their origins to the Ethiopian trees. The Arabs were the first to prepare and use the land to grow coffee and begin its trade to other corners of the world. It spread throughout the 15th century to Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Persia.
In the 16th century, coffee made its way to Europe where coffee shops were becoming social hubs in the England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland. By the 17th century, there were nearly 300 coffee houses in London alone.
The demand for coffee and the desire to grow it outside of Arabia took hold in the 17th century. The Dutch were able to successfully grow seedlings on the island of Java in Indonesia. The Dutch expanded their coffee cultivation to the island of Sumatra and Celebes. In 1714, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from King Louis XIV of France and transported it to Martinique. This seedling is said to have spread to over 18 million coffee trees over the next 50 years. It was from these forests that trees spread into the Caribbean and South and Central America.
By the 18th century, coffee had become a very profitable export crop. Fast-forward to the 21st century and you’ll find that the landscape for coffee growers, importers and roasters is constantly changing based on demand and the tastes of modern coffee drinkers. Dedicated purveyors in the coffee trade have improved farming practices to increase crops, harvests and bean quality. The improvements in the commercial growing of coffee are improving the lives and standards of living for coffee growers and their families worldwide.