What Do You Know About the Origins of Coffee?


History of coffee and how it spread around the world
The Waka Life Blog

What Do You Know About the Origins of Coffee?

Whether you drink 4 cups of coffee a day or only one, the coffee revolution has changed the way we go about our day. What do you know about this beloved drink?

Who first discovered coffee?

Overtime coffee has changed from being a staple delicacy to a daily necessity. People rely on coffee now more than ever; whether it’s to help the morning blues and wake up or as an afternoon pick-me-up in the workplace. For some, coffee is the only way they can get through the day, those multiple cups of joe are life savers to them. Coffee gives people a boost of energy when it is needed most.

Like every other item, coffee has joined the masses that have changed it’s purpose the longer it exists. The ifs, buts, and whys of coffee all began with the idea of a single person who wanted to make a change in people’s lives. The first person who discovered the coffee tree showed it to his friends and neighbors, who then showed it to their friends and neighbors, etc.


How long has coffee been around

Coffee has been around for multiple centuries, leading back to 9th century in Ethiopia. Originally, coffee used to be something that was only eaten, never used as a drink. People would eat the beans whole as a snack when seeking a new strong taste. Eating these beans gave them a boost of energy from the caffeine, that they did not know they needed. Slowly people learned how to grind and use the beans to make a liquid, forming a drink.

The legend says that Arab traders from Yemen brought back the coffee bean from Ethiopia to their own respective countries. These traders planted their own coffee trees using the seeds that they brought back. Using these new trees, the traders boiled the beans forming a potent drink called “qahwah.” The caffeine filled beans provided a second wind causing the people to have a hard time falling asleep. The traders passed on the seeds to the Turks in trading who began to add spices of their own to their newly found drink like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove.


where was discovered the first coffee

They say that word of mouth is the fastest way to spread news. Of course this applies to the world’s most common drink of choice. Once the Turkish citizens started drinking coffee on a daily basis, they told other traders from Istanbul, who passed it on to European traders, eventually making its way around the world.

According to Turkish Coffee World, the coffee trees that were planted in Yemen sprouted tremendously because of the fertile soil that the land has. This luxurious taste of the coffee became so well known that soon every country wanted to send traders to Yemen to bring back some of these coffee beans so their own countries can try them. Slowly more and more countries came to Yemen to taste these coffee beans, which became known all over the world.  

With the help of each country creating their own variation of coffee, we now have an ample amount of types of coffee products including latte, cappuccino, affogato, instant coffee, etc.

The history of instant coffee

According to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, the first instant coffee was invented by John Dring in England in 1771 and patented by the British Government as "coffee compound." There is no documentation to how successful his product was or even how he made it back then. What makes it even more unclear is the fact that the drum method, in which coffee was boiled down to crystals, wasn't really used until the early 20th century. Read more about the history of instant coffee here


fun facts about coffee

1. The coffee bean was discovered by accident

An Ethiopian herdsman named Kaldi was walking with his goat and came across the coffee tree. The goat saw the coffee tree and ran off thinking it was berries and tried to eat it. Kaldi noticed his goat eating these ‘berries’ and thought they were poisonous so naturally he became worried for his goat. Curious himself as to what the goat was eating, Kaldi tried a “berry” and noticed that it has a strong taste, a taste of coffee. Kaldi brought this berry back to his friends and family in excitement of his new discovery and wanted them all to try a berry. Showing everyone the berry led to a ripple effect of tasting and discovering the coffee tree.

2. The coffee bean is not actually a bean but a berry

What we know of as the coffee bean is not classified as a bean but rather as a berry, or more specifically as a cherry. The coffee tree produces a red coffee cherry. Inside the cherry are two seeds or what we call coffee ‘beans’ that are covered in endocarp, or parchment. Coffee trees typically grow to 30 feet, often producing many cherries and seeds. All these cherries and seeds get distributed world-wide to brew coffee in shops and in people’s homes.

3. The largest cup of coffee is 18, 012.07 Liters

The record for having the largest cup of coffee is held by a man named Marca País Honduras on November 30th 2018. His cup of coffee was not your traditional cup, it was made out of a stainless steel cylinder, polystyrene insulation, iron, and white polyurethane. 22 people were needed to helped build this enormous cup. Would you drink it?

4. 64 percent of Americans drink at least a cup of coffee per day

According to according to results of a survey commissioned by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 64 percent drink a cup every day, the average amount of coffee US citizens drink every day is 3.1 cups every day; for what is the equivalent of 150 million coffee drinkers every day. A typical cup of American coffee is 9 ounces.

5. Coffee can potentially one day be used to fuel your car

Lancaster University researchers found out that coffee grounds have a “high calorific value,” which can potentially be used to make biodiesel. The coffee oils are extracted and combined with hexane to air out, the remaining mixture is combined with methanol and a catalyst that is then. 

Your best instant coffee is waiting for you here.


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