A Brief History of Coffee Timeline: What, When & How

Where did coffee originate? When coffee was originally discovered?

When do you take the taste of your coffee, do you ever think about that?

Almost everyone will say, No.

Honestly, we do not think much about that while enjoying the sip. But it won’t do any harm knowing a bit deeper about our lovely coffee.

Actually, no one knows the coffee origin for sure.

But it is strongly believed, coffee history started in Ethiopia. To be more specific, in Kaffa, a medieval kingdom in Ethiopia. 

Legend says, Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd, in 850 A.D., discovered coffee plants. According to legends, his goats ate coffee berries and which gave them extreme energy and prevented them from sleeping at night.

He informed local monks about this new type of plant. The monks processed and created drinks out of coffee beans. One of the monks drank and it helped him pray all night. After that, the information spread from the monks to the world.

timeline of coffee

The process of making coffee and drinking them was started earlier in the 15th century. At first, coffee was consumed basically in Yemen. Soon, it spread through the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, Some portions of Africa, and the Southern part of India. Arabic coffee history is the earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking.

In the 16th Century, coffee was introduced in Europe. The island of Malta is the first place to start drinking coffee. Soon the goodwill of coffee spread to the Balkans, Italy, and the rest of Europe. 

By the 16th Century, coffee became available in England. Coffee became so popular that, by the year 1675, there were around 3000 coffee houses opened all over England.

The Original Story Of Coffee Drinking

Even though the original coffee plants are native to the western regions of Ethiopia, their drinking practice originated in Yemen. These plants were cultivated and developed into the beans and beverages that we know today from 1450! At first, coffee was consumed as a beverage in west Yemen in 1450 by the country’s mystical Sufi monk population. The Sufis used the drink coffee to help them stay awake during all-night meditations. History records of these Sufi monasteries on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula show the processing of Yemeni coffee over 500 years ago. This discovery marked the very beginning of the world’s first coffee-drinking culture as we know it today!

Important Years In The History Of Coffee Timeline

history of coffee timeline

The Historical Timeline of Coffee Since the 15th Century

<a href="https://coffeeatoz.com/a-brief-history-of-coffee-timeline/" title="History Of Coffee Timeline"><img src="https://coffeeatoz.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/History-of-Coffee-Timelines.png" width="100%" style="max-width: 850px;" alt="History Of Coffee Timeline"></a><br>Provided by <a href="https://coffeeatoz.com/" target="_blank">coffeeatoz.com</a>
  • 15th Century (1401-1500) – First exported to the world from Yemen, which are the first to produce and commercialize coffee. They exported coffee through the port of Mocha
  • 17th Century (1601-1700) – The British brought coffee to New York. This is where the history of coffee in America starts
  • 1616 – First cultivation started in Europe. Starting with the Netherlands, later started commercial production of coffee through their colonies and became the main supplier of Europe
  • 1629 – The first coffeehouse started in Venice
  • 1651 – The coffee in England’s history started with the opening of the first coffee shop
  • 1654 – Queen’s Lane Coffee House, Oxford, England started its journey which exists till today
  • 1658 – Coffee cultivation started in Sri Lanka by Dutch. Sri Lanka was called Ceylon at that time
  • 1672 – The first coffeehouse was established in Paris
  • 1673 – First establishment of a coffee house in Germany
  • 1670 – First cultivation started in India. There is the district of Chikmagalur where the cultivation started, is located in the state of Karnataka, the southern part of India
  • 1675 – More than 3000 coffeehouses in England
  • 1676 – The first coffeehouse in America started its journey in Boston
  • 1683 – Austria opened their first coffee house in Vienna
  • 1699 – First cultivation in Java (Indonesia). Java was a Dutch colony and at that time Java became one of the main suppliers of coffee
  • 1715 –1730 -First cultivation in the Caribbean (Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica, Puerto Rico)
  • 1720 -First cultivation in Dutch East Indies
  • 1723 – First coffee plant/seeds were introduced in America
  • 1730 – First cultivation in South America
  • 1734 – First cultivation started in Haiti. At that time Haiti was known as Saint-Domingue, a French colony
  • 1763 – More than 200 coffee shops opened only in Venice
  • 1773 – A large number of Americans started drinking coffee instead of tea, after the Boston Tea Party. During the American Revolution, it was believed that drinking ‘Tea’ is unpatriotic
  • 1788 – Haiti (Saint-Domingue) supplied half of the world’s coffee
  • 1820 – First isolation of pure caffeine from coffee beans by German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge
  • 1852 – Brazil became the largest producer of coffee
  • 1865 – First Roasted beans sold on the retail market (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • 1888 – First coffee house opened in Tokyo, Japan
  • 1903 – First commercially successful decaffeination process was performed by German merchant Ludwig Roselius and his co-workers
  • 1933 – First Moka-pot was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in Turin, Italy

The history of coffee is so rich. The whole story of coffee history cannot be described in a few words.  These timelines indicate the ultimate passion for coffee which helped to spread coffee worldwide in such a short time despite the transportation issue. There are many variations of coffee based on bean types, roasting levels, and others.

Well, after the timeline, let’s have a brief look at today’s world.

coffee history timeline
Coffee Beans in Coffee Farm

Today’s Coffee Facts

  • On average, an American coffee drinker consumes three and a half cups of coffee (in various forms) every day 
  • 25 Million+ people are related to the cultivation and processing of coffee
  • People of Finland, on average, each year, consume 26.5 pounds (12 kg) of coffee, which is the most in the world
  • Annually, the global coffee industry earns around 60 billion dollars, which is second most after Oil
  • World’s Largest coffee producer is Brazil
  • Two states of the United States – Hawaii & California produce coffee
  • ‘Panama Geisha coffee’, the most expensive coffee in the world, costs $800 a pound
  • The average American spends around $1,100 per year on coffee


How did coffee get its name?

The name Coffee was modified from the Dutch word Koffie. The primary origin of this name is Qahwah, an Arabic word. From here, it was modified to the secondary source Kahve. It is a Turkish word from which Koffie or Coffee comes.

When was coffee first consumed by humans?

It is assumed that humans started consuming coffee around the 15th century or earlier. Mostly Sufi circles used coffee to stay awake at night to do religious rituals. From them, it traded to Yemen, then Europe, and all over the world slowly.

Did people have coffee in medieval times?

Nobody knows the exact time and the person who first drinks coffee. In the 15th century, coffee spread around the world. Before those periods in medieval times, people also used to drink coffee in certain areas.

Which continent does the coffee plant come from?

The coffee plant comes from Ethiopia in East Africa. Coffee cultivates in the Ethiopian plateau with an Alpine climate. Then, the cultivation starts in Indonesia, Central and South America, and other areas.

What was the original use of coffee?

The original use of coffee is as a drink. It uses as a beverage from the very beginning of the discovery of coffee. In the modern era, people use coffee for other purposes besides drinks. And these are the coffee by-product uses.

Who brought coffee to America?

It was around the 17th century during the British colonization period. The first coffee house opened in Boston in the United States in 1676. After that, it became popular in America. So, the British first brought coffee into America.

Final Words

Coffee is so widely talked about that the more we talk about it, the more left to discuss. We have tried to present the key events and times of the coffee timeline in chronological order to you. Hopefully, we have been able to address these issues very briefly. Enjoy Your coffee!!

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