Starting in the former kingdom of KAFFA, where coffee was discovered around 800 AD, history took its course and coffee found its way to the wide world.


For almost a hundred years, the flourishing coffee trade remained in Turkish hands. The then Sultan of Constantinople, Selim the First, who lived from 1467 to 1520, conquered Syria, Palestine, Yemen and Egypt between 1516 and 1518. He was now able to incorporate the defeated countries into the Ottoman Empire. He had financed all the battles and wars to a large extent with the coffee trade. The necessary propaganda for the drink was mainly provided by Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca and Medina, the burial place of Mohammed. The Turks first shipped the beans to the Yemeni port city of Mocha, which is where the term "mocha" for coffee comes from. By water, this reached Suez, from where the goods were taken to the ancient capital of Egypt, Alexandria. This port established to one of the most important trading places of the French and Venetian merchants.

The Turks recognized the lucrative and profitable business with coffee and always wanted to defend and protect their cultivation monopoly. No ripe coffee cherry was allowed to leave the country, and yet a Muslim pilgrim managed to smuggle seeds, whereupon he took them to southern India and ran his own plantation in the mountains of Mysore. In Aden, in 1616, Dutchmen also managed to steal a tree and ship it to Holland. Thus, with its fruits, they founded the Dutch coffee culture in Ceylon, today's Sri Lanka. From there, Hendrik Zwaardekroon brought more trees to Java in 1699. Further cultivation areas followed on Sumatra, Timor, Bali and other East Indian islands.

Trade was flourishing, and in the meantime wealthy Europeans had also begun to drink the expensive beverage. In 1554, the first coffee house was opened on European soil. This happened in Constantinople, ancient Byzantium and today's Istanbul. In the second half of the 17th century, the drink finally made its breakthrough in Europe. For the arduous travel routes of the time, this was quite astonishing.


First important coffee houses:


Oxford, Great Britain


London, Great Britain


Marseille, France


The Hague, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands


Paris, France


Bremen, Germany


Hamburg, Germany

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