The Story of the Coffee Bean

by Jerry Blackburn

Coffee is a beloved drink of many people. While not as old as beer or wine, but it sure has made its mark. It is thought that coffee may have been around since 600 AD when in Ethiopia a goat herder was found eating the berries of a red color from a nearby tree. After eating them he became energetic and almost excited. Soon, the delicious drink had found its way to what is now Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.

There are many stories that tell of places including in India where smuggling had to take place to bring the precious berries into the country. This said to be done around mid 1600’s. The trees were then planted in the hills of Chikmagalur. Arabians made this illegal but the love of the bean was too strong for those people to ignore. This may or may not be just a legend but the trees that are part if this story are what makes up a third of India’s large coffee harvesting.

Even the Europeans got into the coffee game. The British, Dutch, French, and others spread the beans to other countries during their travels and were responsible for its introduction in many of the countries were coffee is found growing today. Some were even said to be given as precious gifts that become royal treasures. Louis XIV of France, got a tree and found that it did not like the cold climate so he had a greenhouse built just for the tree so he could enjoy its fruits.

Around 1720 it was found that the coffee trees grew well in the Caribbean climate when sprouts were planted and grew abundantly. From there they travel to Mexico and are now one of Mexico’s key exports.

After this coffee made its way French Guiana where it grew well in that steamy atmosphere. Francisco de melo Palheat smuggled some seeds out of this country and took them with him to Brazil, which is now of the largest coffee producing countries in the world. That was a fine crime to make for this guy.

After Brazil coffee found its way home again to Kenya and Tanzania near Ethiopia, where they began. More than ever in this day and age, coffee can be found around the world growing and producing some significant income for the countries where it grows and thrives. This beverage is today one of the biggest exports and imports and an extremely important crop.

Without the travels it has made throughout the world to begin growth in new areas, it may not have become such an influential beverage in the world today. Just about every home have single cup coffee makers. It is a good thing that the coffee bean had such an impact that people thought to bring it to new places where it could grown and thrive and taste different based on varying factors. For the countries that rely on coffee to bring in money, this have been a really good thing.

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