Coffee is truly an International beverage, not only now, but since its inception. The coffee plant originated in KAFFA (Coffee) a kingdom in modern day Ethiopia. AL- MAKHA (Mocha) a small port in modern day Yemen, was the main trading port for coffee brought from Ethiopia. Coffee was also planted in Yemen. The Arabs to protect their monopoly only traded boiled or roasted beans. The Arabic translation for coffee was QAHWAT ALBUN (wine of the berry) implying that it was an intoxicant. Conservative Islam therefore forbade coffee consumption. It was banned by the Ottoman empire in 1511, Mecca in 1524 and Egypt in 1532.
Coffee consumption began in Turkey in the 16th century and from there spread to Italy and France in the 17th century. In 1683 the first coffee shop in Europe opened in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The Catholic church called coffee the evil devil’s brew and petitioned the pope to ban coffee consumption. Pope clement tasted the devil’s brew and declared, “it is so delicious that it would be a sin to let only infidels drink it”. Coffee consumption increased and spread throughout Christian Europe. Coffee consumption became a passion among Intellectuals, Philosophers, Writers and Artists of the time. The established, conservative and dogmatic ruling classes who detested change, found the Coffee house discussions a threat.
In 1675 the king of England banned Coffee houses, claiming they were places where people met to conspire against him.The British and Dutch East India Companies played pivotal roles in spreading commercial cultivation to South America, Indonesia and India.Today coffee is cultivated in over 50 countries and consumed in over 100 countries. Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world after crude oil in financial terms.
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