It is difficult to determine the exact moment of discovery of this extraordinary plant, that is without any doubt a universal beverage and the most popular stimulus in the world you can come upon anywhere on the planet. The part, however, numerous historians can agree on is the "the birth place of coffee" – Kafa Province in Ethiopia, after which the plant got its name.
African natives used coffee initially as food – they used to grind it and mix it with water and spices, even with animal fat, making small balls which they afterwards consumed for gaining strength prior to battles. Ethiopians made wine from coffee berries, fermenting the dried coffee beans in water. For centuries, Ethiopia was the sole place familiar with the benefits of the black drink. It wasn’t until the 15th century when the Arabians saw what they were missing and began cultivating this plant. Historical records state that the cultivation of coffee and its utilisation as a hot drink first began on the Arabian Peninsula and, consequently, Yemen became the world’s leading coffee supplier during the next several centuries. Coffee demand was immense in the Middle East and the export manner and routes from the Moka Harbour in Yemen to Alexandria and Istanbul were a well-guarded secret. Namely, after realizing the exquisite features of coffee, the Arabians kept this a secret for a long time, banning the export of this remarkable plant.
Coffee first arrived in Europe through illegal trade routes, via Venice where Arabic merchants traded in perfumes, tea, textiles and colours in return for spices along the Incense Route. This drink became popular when the street lemonade sellers began to sell it at their stands. Many European traders acquired the habit of drinking coffee on their journeys. Up to the end of the 17th century, the coffee consumed in Europe originated from Yemen. However, thanks to extraordinary features of this plant, the coffee was soon grown in various regions. While the miraculous plant was conquering the world, Turkish sultans Selim II and Murat IV declared war on coffee in the 17th century – along with alcohol, tobacco and opium, they prohibited coffee consummation as well. Coffee was proclaimed a devil’s drink and consummation of coffee was condemned as "dissuasion of the people from the Prophet’s teaching".
As of 18th century, coffee is planted and cultivated in Dutch colonies Java, Bali and Sumatra. In 1714, one coffee tree arrived in Paris Botanical Garden only to be brought into the French Antilles, becoming the founder of the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. French captain Gabriel de Clieu planted a coffee tree in Martinique and it spread from there throughout Latin America. The first coffee trees in Brazil were planted in Para region in 1727. Coffee took really well to Brazilian soil, so when a rare plant disease attacked coffee plantations in Northeast America, Brazil became the world’s leading coffee producer and kept this position to this very day. Nowadays, seven Latin-American states produce approximately 85% of world’s total production of coffee whereas Brazil alone produces one third of the world’s coffee.
There are around 20 million people employed in the colossal world coffee production industry and coffee became the second most commonly traded commodity in the world – after oil.