Coffee Expansion

Coffee Expansion Through the World

The coffee plant (actually a shrub), was discovered in Ethiopia in the 9th century. It was brought to Yemen in 1100 and by 1600 the coffee expansion was a real event. The coffee tree was travelling all over the world. Our coffee education scheme offers an easy understanding of the coffee expansion in certain areas of the Earth.


Coffee expansion occurred in a slow motion of time. Regardless of the existing coffee legends, recent botanical verification indicates that coffee history originated on the highlands of central Ethiopia. Here it was recorded an actual harvesting of the crop in 1000 AD. During this period the fruits and the leaves of the coffee trees were only used by the Africans. Coffee expansion took place only in certain regions of Ethiopia. The coffee’s plant main usage was for health purposes and domestic rituals.

The Africans had two recipes; one as a drink and another one as a food.

THE DRINK: The leaves of the coffee plant were boiled in water. The resulting brew was considered to have medical properties.

THE FOOD: The fruits of the coffee plant were crushed and then were mixed with animal fat. They were formed in meatballs and consumed as dried food.


The first considerable coffee expansion became true when the coffee plant exported from Ethiopia to Yemen. The Arabs started regularly cultivating coffee beans around 1200 AD. They also changed the African recipe by fermenting the pulp of the coffee berries to make a beverage.

Later on, they managed to roast the seeds of the fruits and a new flavor was discovered. They boiled these seeds with water and this dark delicious beverage captured the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee expansion was first achieved as a selling of roasted seeds. They were exported via merchants to Moslem religious countries like Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa.

Since Islam prohibits alcoholic beverages, this new drink became an alternative to wine. In around 1500 coffee expansion had a decreasing curve. Coffee faced a temporary ban from the Islamic leaders due to its stimulant aspects. People contrasted them for almost 15 years and at the end the ban was lifted. During this period a new coffee drink was discovered by the Turks this time. They roasted and then grounded coffee seeds using stone mortars. Afterwards they boiled the coffee powder with water.


Coffee expansion was again on its road to non-Moslem countries as Turkish coffee. The Ottoman Empire spread the habit of drinking coffee to Europe very fast. The Venetians later were recorded as the first traders responsible for coffee expansion to Europe by merchandising coffee beans as a serious commodity.

Coffee expansion influenced the vocabulary of all the nations that were introduced to this new product. “Coffee” as an English word was used in the English language around 1600 AD from the Italian ‘caffe’. This word came from the Turkish word for coffee ‘kahve’. The Turkish word was reproduced either from the Arabic word ‘gahwa’ (prevent sleeping) or the Ethiopian word “Kaffa” (Kingdom of Kaffa, the region of the first coffee plants).


The Arabs tried very hard to protect their coffee plant for monopolistic reasons. Coffee expansion on this part was impossible. They allowed the exportation of sun-dried or boiled beans but not green coffee beans or plants.

Finally, around 1600 AD, coffee expansion through new plantations became a successful effort. Green fertilized coffee seeds were smuggled out to India by a Muslim pilgrim named Baba Budan, who was returning from Mecca. At the end of the 17th century, Dutch traders started importing seeds from India on the island of Java (Indonesia) and later on their different colonies such as Sumatra and Bali.


By 1800 AD coffee expansion almost completed a full cycle. The plant was introduced to America, by landing first at the West Indies. The coffee plant then reached the Brazilian soil and the mass plantation began. The drink was made available to the middle class people and from this time nothing could stop the demand.

Coffee expansion was over after finding where the plant could be cultivated with best results. The tropical zone was found as the earth’s most suitable place. The countries of the tropical or sub-tropical zone became full of coffee plantations. By 1900 after a lot of production experiments coffee expansion made its full cycle. In the meantime it had turn into one of the most precious exporting products.