Prior to 1000 A.D.: Members of the Galla tribe
in Ethiopia notice that they get an energy boost when they eat
a certain berry, ground up and mixed with animal fat.
1000 A.D.: Arab traders bring coffee back to their homeland
and cultivate the plant for the first time on plantations. They
also began to boil the beans, creating a drink they call "qahwa"
(literally, that which prevents sleep).
1453: Coffee is introduced to Constantinople by Ottoman Turks.
The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, open there in 1475.
Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce her husband
if he fail to provide her with her daily quota of coffee.
1511: Khair Beg, the corrupt governor of Mecca, tries to ban
coffee for feat that its influence might foster opposition to
his rule. The sultan sends word that coffee is sacred and has
the governor executed.
1600: Coffee, introduced to the West by Italian traders, grabs
attention in high places. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII is urged
by his advisers to consider that favorite drink of the Ottoman
Empire part of the infidel threat. However, he decides to "baptize"
it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.
1607: Captain John Smith helps to found the colony of Virginia
at Jamestown. It's believed that he introduced coffee to North
1645: First coffeehouse opens in Italy.
1652: First coffeehouse opens in England. Coffee houses multiply
and become such popular forums for learned and not so learned
- discussion that they are dubbed "penny universities"
(a penny being the price of a cup of coffee).
1668: Coffee replaces beer as New York's City's favorite breakfast
1668: Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse opens in England and is frequented
by merchants and maritime insurance agents. Eventually it becomes
Lloyd's of London, the best-known insurance company in the world.
1672: First coffeehouse opens in Paris.
1675: The Turkish Army surrounds Vienna. Franz Georg Kolschitzky,
a Viennese who had lived in Turkey, slips through the enemy
lines to lead relief forces to the city. The fleeing Turks leave
behind sacks of "dry black fodder" that Kolschitzky
recognizes as coffee. He claims it as his reward and opens central
Europe's first coffee house. He also establishes the habit of
refining the brew by filtering out the grounds, sweetening it,
and adding a dash of milk.
1690: With a coffee plant smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha,
the Dutch become the first to transport and cultivate coffee
commercially, in Ceylon and in their East Indian colony - Java,
source of the brew's nickname.
1713: The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV of France with
a coffee bush whose descendants will produce entire Western
coffee industry when in 1723 French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu
do Clieu steals a seedling and transports it to Martinique.
Within 50 years and official survey records 19 million coffee
trees on Martinique. Eventually, 90 percent of the world's coffee
spreads from this plant.
1721: First coffee house opens in Berlin.
1727: The Brazilian coffee industry gets its start when Lieutenant
colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta is sent by government to arbitrate
a border dispute between the French and the Dutch colonies in
Guiana. Not only does he settle the dispute, but also strikes
up a secret liaison with the wife of French Guiana's governor.
Although France guarded its New World coffee plantations to
prevent cultivation from spreading, the lady said good-bye to
Palheta with a bouquet in which she hid cuttings and fertile
seeds of coffee.
1732: Johann Sevastian Bach composes his Kaffee-Kantate. Partly
an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany
to prevent women from drinking coffee (it was thought to make
them sterile), the cantata includes the aria, "Ah! How
sweet coffee taste! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter
far than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee."
1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic
duty in America.
1775: Prussia's Frederick the Great tries to block inports of
green coffee, as Prussia's wealth is drained. Public outcry
changes his mind.
1886: Former wholesale grocer Joel Cheek names his popular coffee
blend "Maxwell House," after the hotel in Nashville,
TN where it's served. Early 1900's: In Germany, afternoon coffee
becomes a standard occasion. The derogatory term "KaffeeKlatsch"
is coined to describe women's gossip at these affairs. Since
broadened to mean relaxed conversation in general.
1900: Hills Bros. begins packing roast coffee in vacuum tins,
spelling the end of the ubiquitous local roasting shops and
1901: The first soluble "instant" coffee is invented
by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago.
1903: German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius turn a batch of
ruined coffee beans over to researchers, who perfect the process
of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying the flavor.
He markets it under the brand name "Sanka." Sanka
is introduced to the United States in 1923.
1906: George Constant Washington, an English chemist living
in Guatemala, notices a powdery condensation forming on the
spout of his silver coffee carafe. After experimentation, he
creates the first mass-produced instant coffee (his brand is
called Red E Coffee).
1907: In less than a century Brazil accounted for 97% of the
1920: Prohibition goes into effect in United States. Coffee
1938: Having been asked by Brazil to help find a solution to
their coffee surpluses, Nestle company invents freeze-dried
coffee. Nestle develops Nescafe and introduces it in Switzerland.
1940: The US imports 70 percent of the world coffee crop.
1942: During W.W.II, American soldiers are issued instant Maxwell
House coffee in their ration kits. Back home, widespread hoarding
leads to coffee rationing.
1946: In Italy, Achilles Gaggia perfects his espresso machine.
Cappuccino is named for the resemblance of its color to the
robes of the monks of the Capuchin order.
1969: One week before Woodstock the Manson Family murders coffee
heiress Abigail Folger as she visits with friend Sharon Tate
in the home of filmmaker Roman Polanski.
1971: Starbucks opens its first store in Seattle's Pike Place
public market, creating a frenzy over fresh-roasted whole bean
1979: Mr Cappuccino opens for business!