A Brief History of Coffee

A Brief History of Coffee

Provided by
Bellissimo, Inc.

Legend abounds about the discovery of coffee. Many romantic and colorful tales speak of an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi. Noticing his goats acting in a strange and spirited manner after they ate the berries and leaves of a shrub found on a nearby hillside, Kaldi, curious about this phenomenon, ate the berries himself. He found himself motivated with renewed vigor. He told his friends, and the news of this energy-laden fruit spread throughout the region.

Monks hearing about these special berries consumed the fruit, which enabled then to have a more “awakened” time for prayer. The monks then dried the berries, so they could be transported long distances to other monasteries without spoiling. It is when they reconstituted these berries in water that the first coffee beverage was created.

Coffee grows wild in Ethiopia where today it can still be gathered from wild trees. It is believed that shortly after the discovery, the coffee seeds were brought to the Arabian Peninsula to what is today the country of Yemen. Thus, in the seventh century, the first true cultivation of coffee began.

Today coffee is a giant industry employing over 20 million people globally. This valuable commodity ranks second only to petroleum in terms of dollars traded in the International Marketplace. With over 400 billion cups consumed every year, coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. In Brazil alone, over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of over 3 billion coffee plants.

Gourmet coffee sales in the United States have reached a multi-billion dollar level, and sales are significantly increasing for premium specialty coffees on an annual basis.

Facts on Coffee
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages on earth. Second only to water!

Coffee is a drug. Most of us consume coffee for the effects of its chemical stimulant — caffeine.

Specialty coffee is coffee at its best — it’s gourmet!! The appeal of gourmet coffee is congruent with the shift we have seen towards improve product quality, such as fine wine, micro brews, gourmet ice cream, etc.

The coffee house has replaced bars as the preferred social gathering place.

A coffee bar is typically easier to operate and enjoys a larger margin of profit than other food service establishments.

Specialty coffee sales have increased significantly over the last decade, while the sales of price driven institutional coffee (poor quality canned coffees) has steadily decreased.

The popularity of specialty coffee is a long-term trend. Not a mere fad.

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