The History of Coffee
The first reference to coffee in the English language dated to 1598. In English and other European languages, “coffee” descends from the Italian word caffè. In turn, caffè derives from kahve, the
Ottoman Turkish word for coffee, which is itself derived from the Arabic قهوة, qahwah.
The birthplace of coffee is believed to be Ethiopia, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, originated, coffee trees grow today as they have for centuries. Though we will never know with certainty, there probably is some truth to the Kaldi legend.
It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not want to sleep at night.
The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade. By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of
Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey
In the mid-16th century, it was already the custom to drink coffee in Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee shops appeared in Medina, Cairo, Bagdad, Alexandria and Istanbul. In 1555, two Syrians, Shems and Hekeem, opened the first coffee shop in Istanbul. In just a few years, the town boasted several hundred. At the same time,
the Turkish warriors of Suleiman the Magnificent advertised their drink in the Balkans, in Central Europe, in North Africa and in Spain.