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Coffee; History

Coffee originated in what is now Ethiopia, the name coming from the Turkish kahveh, this in itself being a link to the Arab word quawah - which originally meant wine. As wine became banned to Muslims, coffee took over as their favourite drink.

The earliest references to it are in 10th century Arabic literature, but the Dutch developed the first coffee plantations over 200 years ago in Java and cultivation rapidly spread to the West Indies.

The first English coffee house opened in Oxford in 1650 - being based on similar establishments in Venice - during the next 25 years over 3,000 others appeared.

There is no written reference to it until the 10th century, but it is thought that cultivation of the wild coffee arabica began in the 6th century. Originally, the berries seem to have been chewed whole, later it was infused to make a tisane; and it wasn"t until the 13th century that coffee was roasted and made as a drink we would recognise.

It slowly spread in popularity throughout the middle-east, reaching Constantinople (modern Istanbul) when the first coffee house was opened in 1554.

Although it probably arrived in Italy as early as 1580, the first European coffee house, as such, was opened at Oxford in Britain in 1650 by a Jew from Turkey. Coffee houses soon developed into gentleman"s clubs. Lloyds of London began as Lloyds Coffee House in Tower Street.

European mainland was strangely behind - the first recorded being in Marseilles in 1671 - Paris followed a year later, but the first successful venture their was the Café Procope in 1686; the first true Paris café.

Coffee was for years considered a manly drink, and on Continental Europe, particularly in Germany was almost a match for beer as the national drink.

Shortly afterwards it was given the following write-up in "The London Publik Adviser" of 19th May 1657 -

"a very wholesome and Physical drink" that " closes the Orifice of the Stomack, fortifies the heat within, helpeth Digestion, quickeneth the Spirits, maketh the heart lightsome, is good against Eye-sores, Coughs, or Cols, Rhumes, Consumption, Head-ach, Dropsie, Gout, Scurvy, King"s Evil and many others".

The Dutch created the first coffee plantations over 200 years ago in Java, and cultivation spread rapidly to the Caribbean. See 'Coffee'; and under individual types.

Coffee; Americano: Espresso coffee with a little hot water added. See 'Coffee'; 'Coffee;

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