To reach us, Coffee has a long history


Introduction to European Culture and Coffee

Until the seventeenth century, knowledge of the “westerners” about coffee was arguably minimal. Chronicles circa 1600, which contains a group of church leaders coming to Pope Clement VIII to ask him to speak illicit coffee, illustrating how unfamiliar they are with coffee. Note Sir George Sandys, an English poet, in 1610 still shows the same thing. He writes, Turkish people can talk for most of the day while sipping drinks described as “as black as soot, and unusual taste”. Sandys also said that this drink, “as they (the Turks) say, make digestion smooth and refresh the body.”

In 1615 the Europeans formally became acquainted with coffee. At that time the traders from Venezia, Italy, brought home coffee from the Levant region, now known as the Middle East area, covering Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. A year later, as the gallacoffee.co.uk website owner James Grierson noted in the article “History of Coffee: Part III – Colonization of Coffee”, it was the turn of the Dutch who brought coffee from the Adan region of Yemen and cultivated it from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to Indonesia. The Dutch finally reap the rewards. They monopolize the world coffee industry and even can determine the price. Peak, in the 1700s, Java’s coffee production competed with Mocha coffee, Yemen, as the most popular coffee product in the world.

Initially, the Europeans treat coffee as a medical material that gives a positive effect on the body. The price is expensive. Generally consumed by high-class society. In the 1650s, when vendors of lemon drinks in Italy included coffee as merchandise, while UK coffee shops emerged, the drink began to find its social dimension; Consumed while talking.

As coffee began to spread to the major European countries, the old story repeated itself. Appears the opposing parties. According to Linda Civitello in Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, in 1679, doctors from France made a bad note about coffee. He said, “… with horror that coffee makes people no longer fond of wine.” This attack was followed by a young doctor who considers coffee can lead to fatigue, causing bad things in the human brain, gnawing body functions, and the cause impotence.

The defending party immediately voiced. A doctor, also of French origin, Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, published a book that positively assesses this exotic drink. Then in 1696, a French doctor also said that coffee is good for the body and refreshes the skin. However, as we shall see, the opposition to coffee does not stop here.

When it began to discover its social dimension, coffee was no longer just a drink that was routinely consumed but also involved in many socio-political changes in Europe. Linda Civitello said, for the first time people (Europe) have a reason to gather in public spaces without involving alcohol. This activity also developed into a political social routine. As written on The Economist website on July 7, 2011, “Back to the coffee house”, in that era the concept of mass media has not been known. News spread from mouth to mouth in the coffee shops, through a dialogical process.

In Germany, the popularity of coffee disrupts its ruler, Frederick the Great. In 1777, he issued a manifesto in favor of a traditional German drink, a beer: “It is disgusting to see the increasing quantity of coffee consumed by my people, and the implications, the amount of money coming out of our country. My people have to drink beer. Ever since our ancestors, our glory has been raised by beer.” Something similar happened in France when coffee began to compete with wine. While in England, King George II was hostile to coffee because people who gathered in coffee shops often mocked him.

But there was no strongest opposition to the existence of a coffee shop in London rather than the Women’s Petition in 1674, which protested the wasted time of men in coffee shops, and did not allow women to visit coffee shops, as in France. Then, on December 29, 1675, King Charles II issued a declaration about the Coffee Shop Ban, citing people’s neglect of social responsibility and disrupting the stability of the kingdom. Protest voices were popping up in London. In the climax, two days before the rule took effect, the king resigned.

The siege of Vienna by Turkey can be regarded as the starting point for European nations to know coffee

In another part of Europe, Vienna, Austria, the introduction of this country with coffee is like repeating the classic story that has happened elsewhere. In July 1683, defeated Turkish troops left behind a variety of goods, including five hundred large sacks of strange beans, which the soldiers regarded as camel food. Because it turns out the camels are not hooked, they throw hundreds of sacks into the fire. Kolschitzky, a soldier who had lived in the Arabian Peninsula, was awakened by the burning aroma.

“By the Holy Mary!” Cried Kolschitzky. “What you burn is coffee! If you do not know the point, give it to me.” So with that stock, he opened a coffee shop that included the early generation in Vienna. Several decades later, coffee-colored the intellectual life of the city.

But the picture of coffee shops not only dominated the positive note. As soon as such places are open, people from different social and character backgrounds meet together. Therefore, as a note noted by Mark Pendergrast quotes, in coffee shops people read, chatted; Passers-by, smokers, and a variety of scents mixed together, like a barge cabin.

Other countries in Europe began to recognize coffee around the same period. While the Scandinavian countries, the most protuberantly acquainted with coffee, as the 2002 data listed on nationmaster.com, are now the region with the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world.

The Early History of coffee, from the origin of the plant to the trading of coffee beans.

Mocha Port in Yemen is an important part of the first coffee spread

The history of coffee records the origins of coffee plants from Abyssinia, an area of Africa that currently covers the territory of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Coffee became a commercial commodity after being brought by Arab traders to Yemen. In the Arabian peninsula, popular coffee is a refreshing drink. In the early days, the Arabs monopolized the trading of coffee beans. They control the trade through Mocha, a port city located in Yemen.

At that time Mocha became the only trade gate trade coffee beans. So important is the meaning of the port, the Europeans sometimes call coffee the name Mocha. Entering the 17th century the Europeans began to develop their own coffee plantations. They cultivate coffee plants in their colonies scattered in various corners of the earth. One of them is Java developed by the Dutch. For a certain period coffee from Java had dominated the world coffee market. At that time a cup of coffee was more popularly called “cup of java”, literally meaning “a cup of coffee from Java”.

The etymology of coffee terms

Before further tracing the history of coffee we should start with the etymology of the word “coffee” itself. According to Wiliam H. Ukers in his book All About Coffe (1922) the word “coffee” began to enter into European languages around the 1600s. The word is adapted from the Arabic “qahwa”. Or perhaps not directly from the Arabic term but through the Turkish term “kahveh”. In Arabic, the term “qahwa” is not intended for the name of the plant but refers to the name of the drink. In fact, there are some notes that mention the term originally referred to one type of drink from wine. There is no clear explanation of when to start used to call coffee drinks. But experts believe the word “qahwa” is used to refer to drinks made from seeds brewed with hot water.

Today’s coffee culture is a post-modern culture in the world.

There are also those who deny the term coffee is taken from Arabic. According to them, the term coffee comes from the language where the coffee plant originated the Abyssinia. Adapted from the word “kaffa” the name of a city in the Shoa area, in South Southwest Abyssinia. But this assumption is refuted because it is not supported by strong evidence. Other evidence shows in the city the coffee fruit is called by another name, “bun”. In Arabic records “bun” or “bunn” is used to refer to coffee beans instead of drinks.

From the Arabic, the term “qahwa” is adapted into other languages such as Turkish “kahve”, Dutch “koffie”, French “café”, Italian “caffè”, English “coffee”, Chinese “kia-fey”, Japanese “kehi”, and Malay language “kawa”. In fact, almost all the terms for coffee in different languages have the same sound as the Arabic term.

Especially in the case of Indonesia, most likely the word “coffee” is adapted from the Arabic term through the Dutch “koffie”. Allegations are logical because the Dutch first opened a coffee plantation in Indonesia. But did not rule out that the word is adapted directly from Arabic or Turkish. Given the many parties in Indonesia who have relations with the Arabs before the Europeans came.

Legends and myths

Anyone who tries to trace the origins of coffee may find two very famous legends. The story is “Kaldi and goat” and the story of “Ali bin Omar al Shadhili”. Both legends tell the early humans to process coffee beans.

Kaldi and the goat

Kaldi and goat dancing

This story is taken from a growing legend in Ethiopia. In the past, there was a goat owner named Kaldi. One day the Kaldi found his goats hyperactive, jumping to and fro like dancing. After an investigation, it turns out the goat has been eating red berries from trees that have not been recognized. Curiously the Kaldi tried the fruit. After eating it he found himself behaving like a goat.

Kaldi reported this incident to a monk. The monk was interested in Kaldi’s story and he tried the fruit. The effect the monk feels like gets extra energy, he can wake up at night without being sleepy to pray. Because the taste of this fruit is slightly bitter, other monks begin to process it by baking and brewing the fruit. Since then coffee is known to be a beverage that can provide extra strength and chase away drowsiness.

Ali bin Omar al Sadhili

The story of Ali bin Omar the inventor of coffee

It is said that in the city of Mocha, Yemen, lived a physician as well as a devoted Sufi worshiper, whose name is Ali bin Omar al Shadhili. Omar is famous as a reliable healer who can cure illnesses by combining medical and prayer actions. But the lunge Omar is not favored by local rulers. With a variety of intrigues, Omar is rumored to ally with the devil to heal his patient. Finally, the people of Mocha drove Omar out of town.

After being expelled from the city, Omar took refuge in a cave he found on the way. He began to starve and found red berries. Omar ate the fruit to ward off his hunger. Because it tastes bitter, he began to process the fruit by baking and boiling it.

But Omar’s processed beans remain inedible. He can only drink water. Unexpectedly the water he drinks gives extra strength. Long story short, water steep made Omar start famous. Many people have asked Omar. Until the phenomenon sounded the city ruler. Then Omar was called back to live in the city. The elixir of black liquid is called Mocha.

Early coffee culture

Ar-Razi cures illness with coffee

The oldest written document about coffee is found in the records of Al-Razi (850-922) a Muslim scientist who is also a medical expert. He calls a beverage whose characteristics look like coffee as bunshum. This note is reinforced by a medical expert thereafter, Ibn Sina (980-1037), who describes a seed that can be brewed and efficacious cure one the stomach ailments. All the information given by Ibn Sina refers to the characteristics of coffee that we know today. He called the drink bunshum and seeds with the name of bun. Coffee becomes an important economic commodity in the Islamic world. The coffee drink is very popular among pilgrims in the city of Mecca, although it has been declared a prohibited drink several times. Pilgrims drink coffee to stay awake when worshiping at night.

The popularity of coffee was widespread in the days of the Ottoman Empire. In telling coffee drinks to be the main dish at every celebration in Istanbul. At this time also coffee began to be favored by the Europeans. In the early 1600s merchants in Venice bought coffee from the port of Mocha in Yemen. From this place spread to other European regions. Then in 1668 the coffee began to cross the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in New York when it was still a Dutch colony.

Mass cultivation of coffee plants

Arabs are believed to find a way of drinking coffee from Ethiopians

Almost all literature on coffee history approves the origin of coffee plants from Abyssinia, an area of Africa that once existed under the Ethiopian Empire. Today the territory covers the territories of Ethiopia and Eritrea. In the early days, all the cultivated coffee plants were a type of Arabica coffee.

From Abyssinia, coffee plants are brought and cultivated in Yemen. It is estimated that the coffee plant began cultivated in Yemen in 575. At this time the development of coffee cultivation is slow. Coffee beans are only traded out of Arabia through the port of Mocha in Yemen.

Arab traders try to protect exclusivity by requiring the boiling of coffee beans first. With the hope that coffee beans can not be grown into plants.

Spread to South Asia and Southeast Asia

Attempts to isolate coffee beans by Arab traders were unsuccessful. In 1616 the Dutch managed to bring the coffee plant from the port of Mocha to Holand, the Netherlands. In 1658 the Dutch began trying to cultivate coffee crops in Sri Lanka. No reports of cultivation of this plant reaped great success. Known also the Europeans have tried to cultivate coffee plants in Dijon, France. But this effort failed miserably, coffee can not grow on European soil. In addition to passing the harbor turns many other entrances that allow traffic trading coffee beans. One of them is through the journey of pilgrims who want to pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. In 1695 Baba Budan, a pilgrim from India managed to bring productive coffee beans out of Arabia. He cultivated a coffee plant in Chikmagalur, southern India.

In 1696 the Dutch brought coffee from Malabar, India, to the island of Java. The coffee plant comes from the beans that are brought from Yemen to Malabar. The coffee plant was planted in Kadawung, but this effort failed due to flooding.

Three years later the Dutch brought back the coffee cuttings from Malabar. This effort was successful. Coffee grows well in plantations in Java. Production results shifted the dominance of Yemeni coffee. Even then the Netherlands became the largest exporter of coffee in the world.

Spread to America and the surrounding islands

Coffee is brought to America and the surrounding islands by two doors. Beginning in 1706 when the Dutch brought coffee plants from Java to the botanical gardens in Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, the coffee plant is brought to Suriname. Others were given as gifts to King Louis XIV in Paris. In 1720 a coffee plant from Paris was brought to be planted in a French colony in the Caribbean Islands. The story of coffee plant travel is very popular. Told a coffee tree that was brought to the French ship could stay alive because watered with drinking water belonging to the official carrier. All the coffee plants from the source in Amsterdam are known as Typica cultivars.

Another way the coffee plant goes to America is via Bourbon Island, now La Reunion. The plant originated from the seed given by the Sultan of Yemen’s envoy to King Louis XIV in 1715. France received 60 coffee seeds at Bourbon. Then this seed spread to French colonies in America and other regions. This coffee plant is known as the Bourbon cultivar. Both arabica coffee cultivars, namely Typica and Bourbon are believed to be the source of coffee plants that are currently being developed in various plantations.

The history of coffee in Indonesia

The Netherlands introduced the way of coffee cultivation to the Indonesian nation

The history of coffee in Indonesia began in 1696 when the Dutch brought coffee from Malabar, India, to Java. They cultivated the coffee plantation in Kedawung, a plantation located near Batavia. But this effort failed because the plant was damaged by earthquakes and floods. The second attempt was made in 1699 by bringing the coffee tree cuttings from Malabar. In 1706 coffee samples produced from plants in Java were sent to the Netherlands for study at the Amsterdam Botanical Garden. The result was a great success, the resulting coffee has excellent quality. Furthermore, this coffee plant is used as the seed for all plantations developed in Indonesia. The Netherlands also expanded the area of coffee cultivation to Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali, Timor, and other islands in Indonesia.

In 1878 there was a heartbreaking tragedy. Almost all coffee plantations in Indonesia, especially in the lowlands damaged by leaf rust disease or Hemileia vastatrix (HV). At that time all the coffee plants in Indonesia is a type of Arabica. To cope, the Netherlands brought in a species of liberica coffee that is thought to be more resistant to leaf rust disease. Until a few years, liberal coffee replaced arabica coffee in lowland plantations. In the European market, the liberal coffee at that time was appreciated equally by arabica. But apparently, the liberal coffee plant is also experiencing the same thing, damaged by leaf rust. Then in 1907, the Dutch brought in another species of robusta coffee (Coffea canephora). The effort this time is successful until now the robusta coffee plantations in the lowlands can survive. After the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the entire Dutch coffee plantation in Indonesia in the nationalization. Since then the Dutch are no longer the world’s coffee supplier.

Trading of coffee beans

Based on International Coffee Organization (ICO) records, there are 4 types of coffee that are traded globally namely arabica coffee, robusta coffee, liberica coffee and excelsa coffee. The four types of coffee come from 3 species of coffee plants. Arabica is produced by the Coffea arabica plant. Robusta produced Coffea canephora plant. While liberica and excelsa are produced by Coffea liberica plant, exactly Coffea liberica var. Liberica for coffee liberica and Coffea liberica var. Dewevrei for excelsa coffee.

Early era

In the early days, coffee was only known in Islamic societies in the Arabian peninsula. In the early 17th century coffee began to be traded out of Arabia via the port of Mocha in Yemen. Arab merchants monopolize this commodity for a long time In the 18th century, Europeans began to produce coffee outside Arabia. Until 1720, the Dutch shifted Yemen as a world coffee exporter. Dutch products are obtained from coffee plantations in Java and the surrounding islands, currently Indonesia. Indonesia became the world’s largest coffee producer for almost a century. In 1830 Indonesia’s position as the largest coffee producer shifted to Brazil. Until now, Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer.

The modern era

Today coffee is grown in more than 50 countries in the world. Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia are the largest coffee-producing countries. Brazil is the dominant coffee producer. The amount of coffee produces about one-third of the world’s total coffee production. By 2015 Brazil produces about 2.5 million tons of coffee beans. Coffee production in Brazil is dominated by arabica about 80%, and the rest is robusta. Arabica coffee is considered better and appreciated higher than other types of coffee. Meanwhile, in 2015 Indonesia occupies the position of the four coffee-producing countries. According to the Indonesian Coffee Exporters Association (GAEKI), about 83% of Indonesia’s coffee production is from robusta and 17% arabica. Indonesia also produces coffee types of liberica and excelsa but the amount is not significant when compared to arabica and robusta.


  1. PIRATE, REBEL OR EVIL; 4 April 2017;
  3. CUMBOK WAR, A SOCIAL REVOLUTION IN ACEH (1946-1947); 8 April 2017;
  6. TOKUGAWA IEYASU, THE ASURA; 19 April 2017;
  10. HISTORY OF SARONG; 20 May 2017;
  12. HISTORY OF SUGAR; 5 June 2017;
  15. CONQUEST OF CULTURE; 15 June 2017;

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