Origin Story: A Brief History of Coffee - Fortitude Coffee Co

Origin Story: A Brief History of Coffee

Coffee: it is legendary. Because we do not know the exact when and where coffee was discovered, we can only create legends and imagine the mythical origin of this magical bean. Some of the oldest word of mouth stories of coffee brewing and consumption originated in Ethiopia in 700 A.D. The most well-known legend is that of Kaldi and his dancing goats. I know what you must be thinking... dancing goats?! Well, Kaldi discovered his goats were eating these red berries that were ultimately causing this energetic behavior. From here, the legends begin to blur the lines of whether Kaldi shared his discovery with a monk who was elated to find something to help him stay awake at night so he could pray, or if that monk threw the mythical evil beans into the fire; thus creating the first 'roasted coffee.' Either way, one thing is for sure: coffee came from Ethiopia.
As coffee popularity grew, thus traveled the little bean and off it sailed to Yemen and Arabia. In the 1500s, coffee houses were established all across Arabia. Known to the Arabian people as "Schools of the Wise," these coffee houses were the center of social gatherings; a place where you went if you wanted to learn about local happenings and where elders of the town would share information.
From there, coffee slowly traveled its way into Europe, stopping in the Vatican City to receive its blessing from Pope Clement VIII in 1615 as a Christian beverage. (How else do you think the patrons could stay awake through the lengthy latin services... haha only kidding...). In the 1600s, Europe saw an influx in coffee houses being opened in many countries, becoming the new social scene. In England, these coffee spots became known as penny universities, as you could go to a local coffee house and for the price of a cup, learn many a great debate and political issue.
The Americas: Coffee's Final Frontier. As these tiny but might beans grew in popularity in Europe, they soon would set sail across the vast Atlantic Ocean for the Americas. First accounts of coffee in the Americas hero coffee as a mighty plant that barely survived the valiant voyage. Perhaps documenting coffee's first moments on inherent FORTITUDE and will to survive.
Little did they know it at the time, but the Boston Tea Party would not only drive the course of American history, but also that for coffee as well. The pouring of English tea into the harbor, protesting the exuberant taxes from England on tea would push American Patriots to dub coffee as the nations beverage of choice by silently marking tea as simply unpatriotic. Ever since, the United States has been the leading importer of coffee and still to this day continues to buy more coffee than any country in the world.
Although coffee has been around for centuries, in the last 200 years there have been vast advancements in brewing techniques. Born out of the industrial revolution, the percolator was invented in 1818 and made its way to the USA in 1865. How about coffee roasting, you ask? Well in 1864, the grandfather of all coffee roasters was invented in New York by Jabez Burns, making this the first roasting machine that did not require the beans be held over a fire. Back across the pond, the first espresso machine was invented in 1901 in Italy. And in 1908 in Germany, a housewife named Melitta Bentz used some of her son's school papers as a 'filter' and patented the first drip coffee machine.
When the United States enacted Prohibition in 1920, coffee sales rose to an all time high. Then with the opening of Peete's Coffee in 1966, a new era of speciality coffee was born. While coffee has had it share of adventures over the years, it simply is not slowing down yet. Coffee still remains the 2nd largest good traded around the globe!
There is simply no doubt about it; Coffee has changed the world. While no one really knows where coffee will go from here, I think it pretty safe to say this magical little bean is always finding new ways to adapt, grow, and survive the changes of this world. Coffee will always be a staple around the world, and especially with us. Here at Fortitude Coffee Company, we look forward to building another legacy for coffee to thrive and bring people from all walks of life together to enjoy the next great cup.
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