Coffee History

The word “coffee” comes from the Turkish term “kahve”, which in turn comes from the Arab “qahwa” through Italian. The Arab term is an abbreviation of the expression “qahhwat al-bun” or coffee plant.

Old Coffee
Coffee

A possible origin of the word could be in the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, from where the coffee plant came and where its name is “bunn” or “bunna”.

The history of coffee goes back to the fifteenth century, although the origin of the plant is unclear. It is believed that the Ethiopian ancestors of the current Oromo people were the first to discover and recognize the energizing effect of coffee plant grains; however, no direct evidence has been found indicating where it was grown in Africa or which peoples used it as a stimulant or which of them even knew of its existence before the 17th century.

It is believed that coffee spread from Ethiopia to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible evidence of any coffee drink or knowledge of the coffee plant appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. It was in the Arab world where the coffee beans were roasted and ground for the first time in a similar way to how they are prepared today.

By the sixteenth century, it had expanded into the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and North Africa. Subsequently, coffee spread to Italy and the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and the American continent.