May 25, 2020
After its discovery in Ethiopia, and the amazing properties rumored to have been studied by monks, coffee beans began to be exported into surrounding countries such as Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, and the Eastern Coasts where beans boarded ships making their way across the Red Sea to Yemen.
During the Modern era, Mocha, a port city in Yemen, became the center of all coffee trade, and today coffee grown in its regions is favored for its distinctive tastes and aromas. Mocha also became a term associated with coffee due to these origins. As coffee was grown in new regions, body taste and aromas became distinct to each area, as properties from the soil and gestation of the plants were suppressed by the temperature and humidity of each region.
Over time coffee became more popular, and was exported North via the Red Sea to areas such as Mecca, Baghdad, and eventually Egypt, as well as continuing from Eastern ports into India. In Arabia, coffee houses began to open around universities, being nicknamed schools of the wise, as they quickly became areas of meeting and sharing knowledge. As coffee continued to travel further North, similar shops started to spread into Syria and eventually into Turkey.
Though the more popular it became, the more some became fearful of the properties coffee carried. In the court of Mecca it was banned as conservative thinkers became distrustful of its stimulating effects. This lasted almost 15 years, but was overturned by the Ottoman Dynasty, an imperial Turkish family after they had tested the Islamic law. Bans like this were not uncommon - in Cairo in 1532 a similar ban was issued, resulting in raids of coffee houses and warehouses in the area. Due to coffee already being widely popular throughout the Middle East, once again the ban was dissolved.
Many of these South Asian and African countries still grow coffee along the Coffee Belt, tucked into the Equator, where the weather is ideal for the growth of coffee cherries. As coffee began to enter into Europe in the late 1600’s the importance of climate when growing and harvesting coffee cherries became apparent.
Continue to follow us on our coffee journey, over the upcoming weeks we will follow the paths that coffee traveled, expressing the importance and impressions it has made to each culture it has touched.