How Coffee Came to the Western World

When you reach your favourite Welland cafe in the morning you might do so automatically and without giving much thought to just how coffee got to travel to Canada (or to anywhere else in the world, for that matter) when its original growing areas are so remote and so far away. You’d be surely excused because of it – after all, coffee is such an important part of everyone’s routines but it’s something that we take for granted, and very much so.

It turns out, nevertheless, that there is quite an interesting story behind just how this beverage came into prominence.

First of all, if you’ve read the contents of this site so far you’ll have learned that in the first few centuries after being discovered, coffee came into a myriad of different shapes. It was consumed in a much more solid way, for instance. Part of the reason why its beans finally came to be roasted – which has been the way to brewing coffee for ages now – isn’t just tied to experimentation. No, the first coffee makers weren’t only trying to make the most of the precious seeds. By roasting them, they were also making them infertile, as a burnt seed can’t grow into a plant. Because, until the 17th century at least (so, until a relatively very recent time in history) the Muslim community basically held a monopoly on the farming of the plant.

This because coffee was used extensively for religious ceremonies, with a prominent example being the Sufi devotional dancers, who used the drink for sustenance over their endless circle dances. So it was extremely difficult to find crops of coffee in Europe or in the newly discovered Americas.

So when you reach your Welland cafe and find exactly the fuel to get you going throughout the day, know that there is one person to be thankful for: allegedly, an Indian Sufi traveller by the name of Baba Budan, who smuggled seven precious green beans from the port of Mocha (a word that’s now dear to billions of coffee aficionados!), in Yemen. So the story began…

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