Coffee: A Short History.

*This post is brought to you by De Vos Cafe

Before I start, I must confess that I'm an avid tea-drinker. Severely lacking in the qualifications that our in-house coffee connoisseur Malinthe possesses, this seemed like a moot venture. But I must admit, once I embarked on this journey I've learned so much about this concoction and its origins. Who knew coffee was such a big deal? 

Probably the only good thing about waking up, coffee is a vital part of what makes the world run. Functioning as a power elixir- this highly desired, highly potent liquid is what people around the globe consume to get the gears oiled and running. But where did it all start? 

In the wake of International Coffee Day this October 1st, we take a look at the origins of the little seed that grew into one of the most robust, undisputed trading empires in the world. 

Magic Beans and Dancing Goats 

The origins of coffee being consumed stem from various sources dating back to ancient Ethiopia. Coffee also plays a huge role in a multitude of mythological counts in different cultures across the globe. 

Legend has it that an Ethiopian Sufi goatheard named Kaldi (or Khalid) first noticed his goats chewing on red berries which gave them sudden bursts of energy. The dude gets a bit excited himself and then decides to show these berries to a Sufi monk. As per the nature of most Sufi monks, the annoyed ascetic decides to fling this devil's fruit into his fireplace. Amidst the flames billowed an enticing aroma and so the priest decided to sweep up the charred remains and add it to water; thus creating the world's very first cup of coffee. 

This legend is so popular, that Ethiopia's most popular coffee franchise is called Kaldi's. Go figure.

Moroccan lore dictates that Sheik Abu al-Hasan al-Shadili observed birds with strange vitality consuming berries that he took home. His people blessed him with sainthood because of this discovery. Imagine that.  

But these are just legends. There are so many other sagas scattered around different parts of the world, each claiming to have the winning story. Nobody knows for sure. 

Simple Origins

Image courtesy: http://coffeeattendant.com/the-history-of-coffee/

Despite calling it a 'forbidden stimulant' and going so far as to issue bans on enjoying coffee, it was actually the Islamic Sufis who loved it the most, eventually. From Ethiopia, the bean found itself in Yemen, and then mediterranean soil before causing a boom in the Middle East.  The Ottomans quickly caught on and to date, opinion states that the best coffee in the world is served in Turkey. 

Coffee Takes Ceylon 

Known for capitalising on all the good things nature has to offer like spices and slaves, the Dutch East India Company decided to go and turn coffee into a business opportunity in 1740. 

After cultivating the wild coffee plants (introduced to the island by Muslim pilgrims via Yemen) and almost establishing a Dutch-run enterprise, the pseudo-superlative Scandinavians decided to bail when the Brits stole the spotlight. 

Ceylon coffee production, late 1800s. Image sourced from Lankapura.com

Labourers (slaves) were brought in from South India and parts of Ceylon under false pretenses to work the fields. Land obtained from Kandyan royalty was utilised here and The Bank of Ceylon helped further this. Crazy, I know. 

After the worldwide economic decline in 1846, rebellions and mutinies played a huge role in returning to the locals what was already theirs. By 1860, Ceylon was on the map for being one of the biggest coffee-contributers on the planet. 

The Case of 'Devastating Emily'

Sri Lanka's coffee dynasty was at its peak when suddenly, some strange sporadic mycelium called hemileia vastatrix (coffee leaf rust) infected all the crops causing a massive decline in 1869. The disease was nicknamed Devastating Emily, and thanks to Emily and her devastating debauchery, tea was planted. 

The Daily Grind 

After that awful epidemic, coffee was still harvested- they made sure to be extra careful this time and today, more than 2.25 billion cups are consumed around the world. On a daily basis. That's batshit. 

Speaking of fecal matter, the most expensive coffee in the world is extracted from the Sumatran Civet and is sold at nearly $600 per pound. The animal is fed coffee beans which ferment in its digestive system, and once extracted and processed; the end result is  a rich, chocolatey beverage. 

Every day, hundreds of coffee shops and coffee-based food/drinks pop up around the world. It's almost scary how this little gem of a seed is now firmly rooted in the mechanisms that make the world go round. 

Kopi tikak bomu da?

My family is comprised of a range of coffee and tea drinkers. Mostly tea. While going through the copious amounts of Wikipedia articles to compose this post didn't quite convince me to convert into a caffeine cad; I totally understand the love for it. 

An inebriating potpourri of energy, taste and overall olfactory orgasm- coffee is the king of energy drinks and is perhaps the greatest gift nature bestowed on man.  

 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Latest.

KAMU.

Spanish & French fusion restaurant – Hola Bonjour review

Our cloud kitchen revolves around our chef Lucas Francois, who has years of experience in

Kamu Slider

Your go-to restaurant in Chilaw – Clement’s Chilaw review

By Warsha Dissanayake We visited Clements brand new outlet based in Chilaw towards the evening

Kamu

Holy crepes at Crepe Runner – Bambalapitiya

By Maryam Rizwan No one does crepes as good as Crepe Runner does. Starting from

Kamu

Don’t chai this at home – Karak review

By Warsha Dissanayake Looking for some downtime?Is it time to take a break off of

Kamu

Nutella-filled goodness at Crepeholics

Crepeholics located in the middle of Mount Lavinia is packed with a variety of crepes

Kamu

Kailasa Street Food Cafe

This place is long overdue and something Colombo needed so bad. Kailasa street food, serving

Kamu

Trending.

70th anniversary Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Japan

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka

Trending

Suriya’s Jai Bhim wins five awards at Studioflicks Film Awards 2021

By MR The Tamil film industry has turned the global spotlights in 2021 for releasing

Trending

5 BlackBerry models we will miss

By Ruchika Seneviratne It truly is an end of an era as BlackBerry has announced

Slider Trending

Elephant House – Feel Good Range

We all grew up eating Elephant House ice cream, whether it was to wrap up

Trending

CINNAMON BENTOTA BEACH HOSTS CLASSIC CAR RUN

Cinnamon Bentota Beach added a vintage touch to its award-winning art and architecture during the ‘Classic Car Run’ recently.

Trending

Yamu Guide.

5 home appliances you should upgrade to in 2022 

It is the new year and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be still lurking around,

Slider Yamu Guide

Style 2022 with these 5 items from Mimosa

By MI Welcoming 2022 with style and elegance Mimosa recently located to 20 Bagatalle Road,

Slider Yamu Guide

5 ways SLASH will help you make more out of 2022!

By Warsha Dissanayake Ever wanted to get the maximum use for the products you are

Yamu Guide

Ten of the Richest Men in the World

By Rahma Rifkhan Custom-designed suits, extravagant cars, luxurious mansions, global fame and a net-worth of

Slider Yamu Guide

9 NGOs and Youth Movements to join in 2022

By Hiruni Herath NGOs have somewhat of a bad reputation in Sri Lanka and Youth

Slider Yamu Guide

New shopping experience at the Keells on Lauries Road

Keells is reinventing your shopping experience in the best way possible. Because of the pandemic,

Yamu Guide

සිංහල.

ලොව බිහිසුනුම දාම ඝාතිකාවන් (Woman serial killers) 10 දෙනෙක්

By Yesha Fernando කාන්තාවන් කිව්වම හැමවෙලාවෙම වගේ අපේ ඔලුවේ මැවෙන්නේ හරි සංවේදී, ආදරණීය පිරිසක්. ලෝකයේ

Sinhala

2022 සැමරුම හොඳටම කරපු රටවල් 10 ක්  

By Yesha Fernando මරණය, කුසගින්න, විරැකියාව, ආර්ථික අවපාතය, දේශපාලන අර්බුද යනාදී ගෝලීය දුෂ්කරතා රැසක් මැදින්

Sinhala

හොරු අතරට අලුතින් එක් වූ “ජංගි හොරා”

By Yesha Fernando මෙරට සියලු ආකාර හොරු අතරට එක්වූ අලුත්ම හොරා "ජංගි හොරා" යි. මෙකී

Featured Sinhala

Squid Game අපට කියා දෙන ජීවිත පාඩම් 6 ක්

ත්‍රාසය, ශෝකය, කුතුහලය වගේම මෙයට වඩා තවත් බොහෝ ජීවිත පාඩමුත් Squid Game කථාංග නවයට ඇතුළත්.

Sinhala

පිස්සුම නව අවුරුදු සිරිත් විරිත් 6 ක්

එහෙනම් කට්ටියම තමන්ගේම ක්‍රමේකට 2022 පිළිගන්න ලේස්ති වෙමු.

Sinhala Trending