For many years now, coffee has been a firm favourite for people all over the world. As so many people have come to love the taste of coffee, the eternal global search for the best coffee beans is one that has taken the world by storm.
The humble coffee bean has a long history and a rich past, before ultimately becoming the global commodity - and everyday essential - that it is today.
In a nutshell, here’s how it happened.
Although the exact origin of coffee is unknown, it is largely thought that today’s beans can trace their heritage back centuries to Abyssinia, now part of Ethiopia. As legend has it, the wondrous coffee bean was discovered by a herd of goats. Their curious herder, Kaldi, tried the berries for himself and shared them with a local monastery. They used the berries and made a brew that kept them awake during prayers. Little did they know, but coffee was created.
The first stop on coffee’s global tour was Arabia. By the 16th century, it was being grown across the region, from Egypt to Turkey to Syria. As well as private consumption, public coffee houses began to spring up. These became vital centres for socialising, with people talking, listening to music and keeping up with the news while they enjoyed their coffee.
Travellers returned home telling tales of a new drink in the East and by the start of the 17th century, coffee had arrived in Europe. It was initially seen as a controversial drink by many, even resulting in the Pope having to taste it and give approval before the masses would truly embrace coffee.
After this, coffee houses began to open up in European cities, gaining popularity all the time.Coffee houses became high-profile venues for trading and commerce - often seen as havens for traders and stockbrokers alike who finalised deals and conducted business at their local coffee house.
Not unlike the multi-national coffee shops we have today, they were seen as a great place to catch up on news and converse about current affairs.
It is said that coffee first arrived in New York in the mid-1600’s. Up until this point, tea still remained the most popular drink in the US – until the events of the infamous Boston Tea Party in 1773 would change their favourite beverage to coffee forever more. Coffee was established in South America in the 1700’s, all stemming from a seedling obtained from French King Louis XIV’s coffee plant. It is thought that all the coffee plants within South and Central America, and the Caribbean, can trace their roots back to this one seedling.
What is the Best Coffee Today?
The first instant coffee was invented by George Constant Washington in 1906, enabling him to market the first mass-produced instant coffee. Later, in 1933, Dr Ernest Illy developed the first automatic espresso machine, allowing the commercial market for espresso coffee to really get started.
However, it wasn’t until fairly recently that American globalisation really helped to cement the world’s love affair with coffee. The rise of advertisements, brands and famous coffee shop chains firmly placed coffee within reach and easy access to the masses.
These days, the coffee world is split between Arabica and Robusta coffees. Depending on your palate, coffee lovers tend to stick to one or the other - with Arabica giving a subtle, richer flavour compared to the harsher, bitter taste of the Robusta.
Nowadays, coffee is widely regarded as being one of the world’s most popular drinks. When it comes to luxury coffee, the search for the best coffee beans is one that is ongoing but, you never know - you might just find the one for you right here under your nose. Have a browse and find out for yourself today!