The first group of people to have harvested coffee were the Oromo people of Ethiopia. From Ethiopia, coffee then arrived in Egypt and Yemen. In the later years, coffee appeared in the Sufi monasteries. However, the first people to brew coffee similar to how we do today, were in Arabia.

Coffee in the Middle East

Coffee was present in the Middle East, Turkey, Persia and all of North Africa by the 1500s and shortly after was traded across the Mediterranean Sea and brought into the European countries, starting in Italy.

In 1554, the first coffee shop was opened in Istanbul, which is quite amazing as the first coffee drink was actually forbidden because of its stimulating effects on the public. There were even writers who noted the great phenomena of the introduction and effects of coffee on society.

Coffee in Italy

There were thriving trades between the Italian Venetians and the Muslims of North Africa and it was during this time that coffee was introduced to Europe. The upper echelons of Italian society would drink coffee and pay top dollar for the privilege. Shortly thereafter in the mid-1600s, the first European coffee shop opened.

Coffee in England

Due to the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company, coffee was also available in England in the late 1500s. The first coffee house in England was established in St Michael's Alley in the area of Cornhill and, later, the most famous coffee house opened (which still exists today): the Queen's Lane Coffee House, located in Oxford.

Twenty-one years later, there were over 3,000 coffee shops in the country. Interestingly, there was a time when women were said to be banned from European coffee shops - yet this is not necessarily true because in Germany, women were noticed as the more common patrons.

Coffee in the New World

A turning point in the history of coffee was bringing it to the Americas, which was the perfect climate for the coffee bean to grow. A man by the name of Gabriel de Clieu brought coffee to the Caribbean island Martinique in about 1720, where coffee popularity exploded in the region. Coffee was quickly brought to Haiti were it was also harvested along with other parts of the Caribbean and Mexico.

Haiti was the leading producer of coffee, but since the Haitian Revolution, it could never return to its former coffee-producing status. Coffee was introduced to Brazil in 1727, but it did not rapidly expand until 1822. Other Latin American countries followed the coffee growing trend like Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

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