Coffee has come a long way to bring us to the morning routines we all enjoy today. I can program my coffee maker to have my coffee ready for me as I wake up or I can take my time enjoying the ritual of making a pour over. We can order coffee to our doorstep with the click of a button or go into a roastery and talk to the roaster about the beans. Never before has coffee been so versatile and accessible to us. But we didn’t get here overnight. The road to where we are today began centuries ago and continues to evolve as people with a passion for coffee continue to push the limits of what this plant can do.
850: According to legend there was a shepherd in Ethiopia who let their sheep eat the coffee fruit. He noticed that after eating the fruit the goats had a boost of energy.
1400: Arab traders began to bring coffee from Ethiopia to what is now known as Yemen. They called the brew qahwa which translates to “wine”.
1475: Ottoman Turks brought coffee to Constantinople where it was brewed with spices. This is a tradition that has carried on to today.
1607: Captain John Smith brought coffee to the New World at the Jamestown Settlement.
1652: London England sees its first coffee shop open.
1686: Paris France sees its first coffee shop open.
1683: Vienna Austria sees its first coffee shop open. They served the coffee beans that the Turkish Army had left behind.
1727: Brazil’s coffee industry launches after a coast guard officer smuggled coffee tree seeds and cuttings into the country.
1773: Americans displayed their patriotism by switching to coffee after the Boston Tea Party.
1889: Hanson Goodrich patented the stovetop percolator.
1900: Hills Bro. developed a vacuum-sealed tin for packaging their roasted coffee beans.
1903: Ludwig Roselius, a german coffee importer, developed “Sanka” which was the first commercial decaf coffee.
1905: The first commercial espresso machine was made in Italy and sold by La Povoni.
1907: 97 percent of the world’s coffee bean harvest was from Brazil.
1908: Melitta Bentz invented the drip coffee filter.
1920: Coffee sales boomed after Prohibition kicked in the United States.
1933: Alfonso Bialetti invented the moka pot. At the same time Dr. Ernest Illy invented the first automatic espresso machine.
1938: The Nestle company introduced freeze-dried coffee as a solution for Brazil’s coffee bean surplus. Shortly after this Nestle was introduced in Switzerland.
1942: During the Second World War, American soldiers were introduced to instant coffee which was included in their meal kits. Back in America the government mandated a ration on coffee.
1958: Juan Valdez, a fictional coffee farmer, was introduced by the Colombian Coffee Federation. He is still used as a symbol of the Colombian coffee industry.
1971: Starbucks opened their first location in Seattle Washington, where they only sold freshly roasted coffee beans.
1972: The Mr. Coffee machine was introduced by inventor Vincent Marotta.
1976: Nestle researches patented the very first coffee pod.
2006: Specialty coffee accounted for approximately 40 percent of U.S. coffee sales.
Today: Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage and is one of the most traded commodities.
Jones, B. W., & Munro, L. (2016). Brew: Better coffee at home. Dovetail Press.