THE HISTORY OF COFFEE|
The word COFFEE comes from the Italian caffe, which derives from Turkish kahve and Arabic qahwah - describing any stimulating drink.
A common myth attributes coffee's discovery to a goatherd named Kaldi in North Africa. Noticing that his goats became frisky after eating the berries of a bush, he ate them and found these berries gave him renewed vigour.
It was in Turkey that coffee beans were first roasted, crushed and boiled in water, creating a crude version of the beverage we now enjoy.
The first Westerners to import coffee were the Venetians in the 17th century. From there, it was introduced to France where it quickly became fashionable at court and among the nobility. Café culture had come to stay.
In 1720, a French infantry captain, Gabriel DeClieu, nurtured one small plant across the Atlantic. This plant became the predecessor of over 19 million trees on the isle of Martinique within 50 years, with coffee soon spreading through tropical South and Central America.
In the then colonised United States, coffee was declared the national drink in protest against the excessive tax on tea levied by the British.
Today, with over 400 billion cups consumed, coffee is the most popular beverage in the world and a giant industry employing more than 20 million people globally.
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