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Beans in History ...

In The Beginning ... (not long after the snake and apple thing) … there was Coffee ...

And the first coffee beans sprouted in the same area in East Africa where the earliest evidence of the human species was found.

Now, whether you believe that the first humans to colonise the third rock from the sun came from outer-space and brought with them a bag of coffee beans.
Or whether you believe we genetically developed in East Africa and as we plodded northward in search of some greener grass to call home, we chewed on the wild bright red coffee cherries and as we spat out the pip (the coffee bean) it germinated and created coffee groves in our wake.

Whatever your thoughts are on this matter, one thing’s for sure, coffee's been around for a long, long time …and we like our coffee …!

There are many legends and myths surrounding the early days of coffee. My favourite is the story of Kaldi and his dancing goats.
No, not an ancient circus act, Kaldi was a young Abyssinian goatherd who looked after his family’s goats.

The story begins one fine day in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) around a thousand years ago, Kaldi is out with the goats and whilst lounging by his campfire, nibbling a lizard kebab, he is suddenly aware that the goats were merrily prancing and dancing after eating the bright red berries growing on some nearby bushes. Kaldi, not to miss out on an opportunity to break the monotony of “goat patrol” also chews on a few of the berries and very soon he too is up and dancing, now whether with a pretty goat or not will have to remain as one of history’s little secrets.
A passing abbot out for a stroll with his entourage of monks observes the activity, and understandably he is quite shocked and very annoyed at what he is witnessing; even back then it must have raised an eyebrow or two, seeing a man dancing in public and in broad day light,with a herd of goats.

The abbot chastised Kaldi and confiscated the coffee cherries, regarding them as a diabolical substance. He threw the red cherries onto the fire; the resulting aroma convinces him that they really must be of divine origin. He scraped the blackened beans (the cherries’ pips) from the fire; then he ground the beans and infused the grind in hot water, and violá … the first cup of coffee …! From that day on, the abbot ordered his monks to drink a cup of coffee each evening to help keep them awake during night prayers.

And yes, they all lived happily ever after, the abbot with his attentive and wide-awake monks and Kaldi happily dancing with his goats.

500 BC. Caffeine found in tea chemical formula — C 3 H 10 N 4 O 2) was recorded in China as an aid to digestion, the burning off of fat, cleansing infected skin and washing of the eyes. Today 80% of the worlds population daily imbibes in caffeine whether it be in Coffee, Tea or the multiple types of soft drinks.

15th Century

Commercially coffee was introduced into Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks (now Istanbul in Turkey) and the first coffee house, said to be the Kiva Han, was opened there in 1475.
For around 600 years the Ottoman Empire controlled most of the trade in the Mediterranean, most of Eastern Europe and Arabia. And as the Turkish were, and still are a very sociable people, Coffee played an important part in their culture. 
So much so, that after Coffee plants were taken from Ethiopia and successfully cultivated commercially in the southern highlands of Yemen.
A decree was passed by the then Ottoman Sultan that the only place Coffee Beans could be traded, was from the Red Sea port of Al-Mukha, later called Mocha…!
It also must be noted that here that only 'cooked' coffee beans could be sold from the port of Mocha. 
In this way the Yemenis prevented the propagation of coffee beans outside Yemen.

In 1595 a Spanish Jesuit missionary Pedro Páez is reputed to be the first European to have a cup of coffee in a coffee house in Mocha.

16th Century

Mecca 1511, Kha’ir Bey the Pasha of the city was concerned over the rapid growth of coffee drinking in Mecca. As the habit of drinking coffee was to pass around the dhikr , a drinking bowl, amongst members gathered together in connection with various events such as births, weddings and funerals. This was deemed as sharing, and sharing was associated with alcohol. Kha’ir Bey employed the expertise of two eminent doctors to evaluate the effects of consuming coffee, their findings basically paralleled coffee with alcohol as it affected the mind through a form of intoxication. Coffee was therefore banned. 
 This ban was extremely unpopular and when word finally got back to Kha’ir Bey’s boss, the Mameluke Sultan in Cairo, where coincidently, coffee was well established, the Sultan immediately rescinded the ban. In 1517 Pasha Kha’ir Bey lost his job and the pair of doctors who had given evidence in support of the ban in Mecca were arrested and, in front of their families, cut in two at the waist. 

In 1555 two Syrian merchants, Hakim and Shams, commercially introduced coffee to Constantinople. Within a year there were six hundred establishments selling coffee in the city. 
 The 16th century was a volatile time for coffee, there were countless prohibitions and reprieves and punishment for breaking the ban could be severe. One such punishment, implemented in 1580 by Amurath IV the Grand Vizier Kuprili, for aggravated coffee consumption, was for the offender to be punished by being sewn up in a leather bag and thrown into the Bosporus.

17th Century

The recorded history of coffee doesn’t really get going until 1609 when an English sailor named William Revett reported that ‘Shaomer Shadli was the first ‘inventour for drinking of coffe, and therefore had in esteemation’ 
William Revett was referring to Ali Ibn Umar al-Shadili (died in 1418) the patron saint of the old coffee port of Mocha in Yemen. 
To this day the coffee house in Yemen is called a ‘Shadillyas’. 
There is also recorded evidence, in the early 1400 AD, regarding Mohammed bin Sa’id al-Dhabhani, also known as Gemaleddin, from the Sufti tribe of Yemen and a mufti (religious leader) in Aden.

As a young man Gemaleddin was a Muslim missionary in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and had learnt from the Oromo tribe in the west of Abyssinia of a plant that they used for stimulatory effects. The leaves were first dried in the sun then crushed and infused with hot water and drunk like Chinese tea. The plant also bore bright red berries and from the flesh of the berries, they made a stimulating drink, called qish’r and is still widely drunk today in Yemen and often flavoured with ginger. 

Gemaleddin was so fond of this drink that he took a sack full of cherries back to Aden with him and cultivated coffee plants from the seeds. 
Gemaleddin, being somewhat of an alchemist, experimented with a pair of pale green and tasteless seeds (beans) found inside the red cherries and soon were overwhelmedby the change the beans took on when roasted in a hot pan. The aroma and the taste of the finely crushed beans when boiled in water convinced Gemaleddin that this transformation was enough for him to make use of the drink in his religious ceremonies, reflecting the physical transformation that the human soul sought together with the ability to keep awake night prayers was proof enough to Gemaleddin that coffee had truly spiritual qualities. 
However, there also is evidence that prior to 1450 and Gemaleddin, that coffee was drunk by the Sufti community in the area around the town of Zabid in Yemen. As traces of the coffee bean have been found in pottery excavated around the Arabian Peninsula, some pieces dated prior to 1200 AD.

Although there is no definite evidence that coffee was cultivated in Yemen prior to Gemaleddin’s time. However, it’s only a short hop of around 40 miles for an Arab trader in his dhow to sail from Mocha across the Red Sea to Ethiopia, coffee country. So it’s not difficult to imagine, as there was much trading activity in this area in the first century AD, that cups coffee would have been sampled and enjoyed by the Arab traders and also coffee plants could have been procured from the ‘Abyssinians’ and taken back to Yemen to be cultivated there.

Around 1616 the Dutch managed to 'obtain' one of these Abyssinian coffee plants from Mocha and took it back to Holland. In 1658 the seeds from this plant were cultivated in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and in Malabar in south western India. Cuttings from these plants in 1699 were successfully established on the Dutch possession of Java. The Javanese coffee industry soon rivalled that of the Mocha trade and by 1731 had surpassed it.

Finally coffee catches on in Europe and coffee houses are starting to pop up … 

1602. The physician William Harvey returned to England from the University of Padua, Italy, at the time the foremost school of medicine in the world. It was at Padua where he discovered how the heart pumped blood around the body. In 1628 Harvey formally presented his findings in his publication - Anatomical Essay on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, in which he explained his methods and gave an accurate account of how the circulatory system functioned.
Personally I’m not surprised at his findings, because whilst in Italy he also discovered a passion for coffee. Now we all know what happens when we overdo our coffee ration, first we get the ‘caffeine kick!’ then in rushes the heart palpitations. Now it’s quite likely that the eminent student physician was frequently using coffee to help keep him focused whilst late night studying or cramming for tomorrow’s exam. Furthermore it’s only logical that a scholarly man like Mr Harvey would ask himself ... ,  
”What the hell’s happening inside me …?”  He t
hen spends the rest of his life finding out.

In 1615 coffee was first sold in Venice in an aquacedratajo, a lemonade shop/seller.

1615. The East India Company of London had established trading links all around the Indian Ocean and South China Seas. Trading in numerous commodities from spices to silk and also coffee beans, but strangely enough it would take over forty years before commercial coffee is traded in Britain.

1616. The Dutch trader Pieter Van dan Broek brought the first coffee beans back to Holland. It was around this time that the Dutch had obtained from Mocha and successfully cultivated an Abyssinian coffee tree in Holland.
Then in 1658 seeds from this tree were sent to Ceylon.

Oxford University claims the first recorded cup of coffee drunk on British soil. The date is ...

 1637 when Mr John Evelyn the English writer, gardener and diarist, reports in his diary, that he witnessed the Greek Nathaniel Conopios (the future Metropolitan of Smyrna) drinking coffee : 'It was observed that while he continued in Balliol College he made the drink Coffey, and usually drank it every morning.'

1640. The first commercial shipment of coffee beans was sold in Amsterdam.  Up until 1660 most of northern Europe’s coffee houses got their coffee from Holland

In 1651 one Jacob, a Lebanese Jew, took a room in the Angell Inn on the High, in Oxford, where coffee ‘was by some who delighted in noveltie, drank’. Technically, this was  Britain’s first Coffee House …?

1652. The first coffee house was opened in London in St. Michael’s Alley in the city. It was opened by Pasqua Rosée from Armenia.

1655. Arthur Tillard opened his coffee house to sell ‘coffey publicky in his house against All Soules College’. Entrance fee was a penny and coffee was twopence. It was Tillard’s 

coffee house, in c. 1640, where meetings of the Royal Society were held prior to its foundation in 1660.

1658. The Dutch plant coffee in Ceylon.

1660. The East India Company sold the first coffee consignment at auction in London, it fetched 71s.11d.per hundredweight.

1660. It is said that the origins of the coffee in India came about when a Muslim pilgrim named Babu Budan returning from Mecca smuggled coffee seeds strapped to his belly out of Arabia. These he planted in his garden outside his hermit’s cave in the Chandragiri Hills of Southern India and from the berries of Babu Budan trees the Indian coffee industry was founded and blossomed.

However, 1695 is the documented date of the arrival of coffee in India when cuttings were taken from Ceylon and planted in Malabar

1669. France had its first taste of coffee when it was introduced to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV at Versailles, by Soliman Aga the ambassador to Sultan Muhammed IV.  One of the Sultans entourage, an Armenian by the name of Pascal, remained in Paris after his master returned to Constantinople and opened a stall selling coffee at the market of Saint-Germain. The bourgeoisie flocked to try the hot black beverage, with the wonderful aroma, that was endorsed by their king and thus coffee was slowly became established in France.
Pascal later opened the first coffee house in Paris on the Quai de l’École near the Pont Neuf. But it was not until 1689 when the Café de Procope opened, that coffee found its place as a truly Parisian expression.

1683. The first European style coffee house opened in Venice.

A little later in 1720, the famous Café Florian in the Piazza San Marco opened its doors to an eager Venetian public and is still in business to this day. 

1683. Vienna, Austria. With a statue on every corner, the Ukrainian Cossack, Franz Georg Kolschitzky is acknowledged as the saviour of Europe and hero of Vienna, not just because of his heroic exploits during the siege of Vienna in 1683, he saved the city from the Muslim hordes on their bloody westward quest to rid all of Europe of the Christian Infidel, but yes, and more to the point ... he also opened Vienna’s first coffee shop.
Franz Georg Kolschitzky had been a coffee house keeper in Istanbul and knew the customs and spoke the language of the Turks like a native. As the siege of Vienna was nearing its end, and the Turks had almost breeched the city walls, Kolschitsky volunteered to slip through the Turkish lines in disguise carrying messages to and from the Prince of Lorraine who was assembling an army near to the city.
Four times he swam across the four channels of the river Danube, and on the last trip, a weary Kolschitsky slyly joined a group of Turkish soldiers sat around a camp fire drinking coffee, graciously accepting a cup of coffee, he listened to the Turks revealing their plans for an imminent attack on a particular part of the wall.
Upon his safe return to the City, Kolschitsky in his urgency rushed unannounced into the chamber of the garrison commander Count Rudiger von Staremburgh. The Count awoke startled at the sight of this bedraggled Turk gabbling at him from the foot of his bed, the Count screamed for his guard, just as they were about to strike down the ‘assassin’ the Count recognised Kolschitsky. Had the sword landed, where would Europe be today? 
From the information Kolschitsky had gathered the Turks were routed and driven back. The Ukrainian Cossacks pursued the fleeing Turkish army, and where in the ensuing battle near Budapest the Turkish army was finally defeated.

1688. Mr Edward Lloyd opened his coffee shop in Tower Street, London. As the coffee house was a pleasant and sober establishment in which a gentleman could conduct his business. Lloyd’s also encouraged a clientele of ship’s captains, merchants, ship owners and others with an interest in overseas trade merchants could insure their ship and cargo through a broker who in turn would spread the ‘risk’ around other wealthy merchants with sufficient financial integrity.  Lists were drawn up of the ships that were insured by Lloyd’s customers. Lloyd’s of London is now the world’s leading insurance market.

1699. The Dutch successfully establish coffee plantations in Java with cuttings from Malabar in India.

The 18th Century ... And onward to the Americas …

1715. The French ‘acquired’ and then shipped 60 Mocha varietal coffee plants to the Indian Ocean island Ile de Bourbon, in 1792 renamed Réunion, after the Revolution disposed of the Bourbon monarchy. These ‘new’ coffee plants from Yemen were intended to be crossed with the indigenous wild strain called ‘Marron’ and also known as ‘Bourbon Pointu’. Forty died on the voyage and sixteen died soon after planting. The two remaining plants thrived and the seeds from these trees established around 8000 genuine Mocha plants that were in 1727 producing 100,000, pounds of coffee. Coffee was so important to Réunion and the French government that damaging a coffee tree was punishable by death.

The world’s demand for coffee demanded a cost effective means of tending the coffee plantations.

Men, women and children had been brought from Africa as slaves since the fifteenth century primarily to work the sugar cane plantations, when the policy of using indigenous people had been floundering mainly due to diseases introduced by the Europeans. The Africans were ideal candidates, they were strong and excellent workers used to living and working in a hot tropical climate.

So by the late sixteen hundreds the slave trade was well established in the Americas and the readymade work force policy, slavery, was there to be exploited by the coffee growers, and continued to its abolishment.

25 March 1807 Slave Trade Abolition Bill passed in the British Parliament

1865 Slavery finally abolished in the United States territories

1715. The French are the first to grow coffee in the Caribbean when they successfully cultivate seeds on the island of Hispaniola.

1718. Using stock from Java the Dutch start planting coffee in Suriname, South America’s smallest country, situated on the Atlantic coast sandwiched between French Guiana and Guyana.

1723.  Frenchman Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu was a former colonial governor and down on his luck. Somehow he managed to pilfer, so the story goes, a healthy coffee plant from the Jardin des Plantes, King Louis XV green house in the centre of Paris!  and then he transported  it in a glass box strapped to the deck of a ship, to Martinique in the Caribbean. The voyage was long and arduous. They encountered Tunisian Pirates, storms and huge seas and when almost at journeys end, the ship was becalmed for several days and drinking water had to be rationed. Gabriel de Clieu, was determined not to neglect his precious coffee plant and he used part of his water ration to feed the plant. Both survived and Gabriel de Clieu became rich and some say that his devotion to his tree spawned the spread of coffee throughout the Americas.

1730. The British are soon on the scene and introduce coffee to Jamaica where plantations are developed in the Blue Mountain region, located between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), they are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean. The climate of the region is cool and misty with high rainfall. The soil is rich, with excellent drainage. This combination of climate and soil is considered ideal for coffee.

1731. The Dutch East Indies, Java, Sumatra and Celebes (now Sulawesi) were producing more coffee than Mocha.

1733. Mr Francis Dickinson a factor of the East India Company with the title of ‘Commissary for Affairs of the English Nation at Mocha’ was requested to supply coffee seeds from Arabia which then would be cultivated in the British Protectorate of St Helena in the South Atlantic. Subsequently, Mr Francis Dickinson, who was privy to local Arabian know-how,  secured a purchase of 660 bales of ‘Beetlefuckee’ coffee seeds  from the small shanty town of Bayt al-Faqih, ninety miles north of Mocha.
Bayt al-Faqih had in recent years become the main coffee trading station, offering prices lower than those demanded in Mocha. The reason for this was quite simple,  in coffee houses of Bayt al-Faqih on the spot deals could be made directly with the farmer's agents thus by-passing the "middle men" coffee merchants of Mocha.
The humorous name of ‘Beetlefuckee’ was used when distinguishing the  ‘Mocha coffee' that was bought in Bayt al-Faqih rather than the ‘Mocha coffee' bought in the port of Mocha.

1737. The port of Mocha is bombarded by the French. As quoted in the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’, “The French have received an honourable Satisfaction of the Inhabitants of Mocha in Arabia, for raising their Duties, and insulting the Company’s Factors. They did not obtaining by complaining of the wrong, but they sent 4 large Vessels to bombard the City, and gave it only an Hour’s time to comply with their Demands of doing them Justice.” A bit like the supermarkets today, dictating to their suppliers, this is the price, take it or … get bombed…!

In 1739 there were 695 registered coffee houses in London.

1748. The Spanish plant coffee in Cuba.

1749. In the Bedford Coffee House located in Bow Lane,  Covent Garden, London’s busy fruit and vegetable centre, Henry Fielding a local magistrate formed a group of ‘Thief-Catchers,’ in response to the growing crime rate in the City. They later became the ‘Bow Street Runners’ which ultimately led to the creation in 1829 of the Metropolitan Police Force.

1750. The Spanish plant coffee in Guatemala.

In 1752 the Portuguese embark on a major coffee industry in Brazil. However the first coffee bush was planted in Brazil in 1727 in the state of Pará. And according to the legend, the government of Brazil was looking for a slice of the lucrative coffee market and sent the suave and debonair, Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta to smuggle coffee seeds from French Guiana, ostensibly to mediate a border dispute. Instead of turning to the fortress-like coffee farms, Palheta used his personal attractions to persuade the First Lady of French Guiana to help him obtain some fertile coffee cherries. Unable to resist his charms, she gave him a bouquet spiked with seedlings at a state farewell dinner before he left for Brazil. Another nice romantic tale about coffee, when you get to 1774 you'll see  what really happened.

1764. The Spanish plant coffee in Peru.

1773. The Boston Tea Party. In a nutshell, the British Government threatened to sue the East India Company for non-payment
of tax on tea; the company in turn demanded the tax 
from the tea traders of Colonial America. Unfortunately for both the British Government and the company most of the tea was actually smuggled in “tax free”. Since the mid sixteen hundreds, tea was by far the favourite hot beverage in North America and up until this time coffee came in second place with chocolate third.

In came the ‘Tea Tax of 1773’.
East India Company could sell tea to the colonies which included a higher two fold taxation, the company could ‘draw back’ their full part of the duty, but the colonial traders could not. And we know what happened next ... the British lost America. And the Americans embraced coffee as their national drink.
And the American Revolution, it too was plotted in a Coffee House, the Green Dragon in Union Street, Boston.

1774. Brazil, who today is the worlds number one exporter of coffee, "officially" gets going with coffee when it was introduced to Brazil by the Franciscan frier, José Mariano da Concieção Veloso, who planted the seeds in the garden of St Anthony's monastery. Friar José received the fertile cherries from a Dutchman,  Mr Hoppman.

1777. Frederick the Great of Prussia (Germany) attempts to eradicate coffee drinking by imposing heavy taxes on coffee and introduced special licensing laws for coffee roasting. Stating that coffee was the ruination of the working class. I think he meant the "drinking class"  as he goes on to encourage his people to drink more beer. Beer drinking, he is quoted saying "is the Prussian way." A right royal lager lout...!

1779. The Spanish plant coffee in Costa Rica.

1784. The Spanish plant coffee in Venezuela. By 1800 Venezuela was the third biggest producer of coffee in the world.

1789. George Washington was officially received by the Governor of New York and the mayor outside the Merchants' Coffee House, at the corner of Wall and Water Street. As with London, New York's coffee houses were also centres of business and politics and unofficial auction houses.

1790. The Spanish plant coffee in Mexico.

In the 1790’s the USA started buying coffee from the Dutch East Indies, in particular Padang in Sumatra and Batavia in Java (now Jakarta), which gave rise to the name “Java Coffee”.

1791. Saint-Dominique, the French Colony on Caribbean island of Hispaniola, today the independent nation of Haiti, was then the richest of all of Europe's colonies and producer of half of the world's coffee.
But on the 22nd August
1791 it was the bloody scene of the first Slave Revolt.  For many years the slaves on 
Saint-Dominique had been brutally treated by their masters, there were 450,000 blacks in comparison to 40,000 whites. The whites lived in fear of an uprising and subsequently imposed and inflicted the cruellest slave systems to keep the slaves 'to heel'. The slaves, in retribution for years of hardship, burned the coffee plantations, attacked the towns and  any white person they found were put to the sword.

1795. Napoleon Bonaparte turned his attention to the problems in Saint-Dominique as the colony and its coffee was extremely important to the French economy. The problems Napoleon faced were not only the slaves but also the British and Spanish were trying to get a slice of the action.  So he sent an army led by his brother-in-law General Charles Laclerc to sort things out. The army kept the foreigners at bay but the slaves would need skilful handling. To avoid further bloodshed Laclerc first promised the slaves a representation in a newly formed government. Then after tempers settled down he swiftly arrested all the slave leaders, put them in the castle dungeons to rot and re-enslaved the rest. 

The 19th Century ... 

1880. The Ceylon coffee plantations suffered a devastating outbreak of leaf rust, the island destroyed all its coffee trees and the decision was made to scrap coffee and plant tea instead, the result as we know today, is an outstanding success.

1802. Things were still not going Napoleons way. The slaves on Saint-Dominique understandingly still were furious about their treatment and when a devastating attack of yellow fever broke out amongst the French army, rendering it unfit to keep order in the colony, the slaves grabbed the moment and retaliated driving the Frenchmen off the island. 
Napoleon took the news badly and said with feeling: "Damn coffee, damn colonies!" 
I don't think he really meant the bit about 'coffee' as he is quoted saying that when he was in a war conference he would 'keep seven pots of coffee on the boil' to keep him awake all night.

1st January 1804 the independent republic of Haiti was established.

16th October 1815 Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte arrived on the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, where he lived in exile until his death six years later on the  5th May 1821 Whilst on St Helena, Napoleon keeps busy by helping around St Helena's Coffee Plantation and he also plants a few coffee trees in his own garden.  He is reported saying, ' The only good thing about St Helena is the coffee.'   During the period up to his death, Napoleon suffers with severe abdominal pains, he subsequently is unable to digest solid food and when he also refused his beloved coffee he replies " I would rather suffer with coffee than with senseless."

In 1822, the Dutch East Indies, which included Java, Sumatra and Celebes, produced 100,000 tons of the world’s total coffee consumption of 225,000.

1832. Coffee is planted in Australia at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. The Australian coffee industry today is centred around the 
Mareeba area near Cairns in North East Queensland.

1840. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's body is exhumed, twenty five years to the day after his incarceration on St Helena,  and taken to Paris where it lies in six coffins in the crypt of the Church of the Dome.
Amid pomp and ceremony, the return to France of the body of  St Helena's famous guest, also promotes the islands coffee sales.  In 1845 St Helena Estate Coffee fetched the highest price on the London market. St Helena coffee was also exhibited in the Great 
Exhibition of 1851  in the specially constructed Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.

1854. On the 20 October the French 'boy- poet', adventurer and Ethiopian coffee merchant Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud is born. Rimbaud whose ground breaking and eccentric poetry, to say the least. His poetry was written during his teen years and by the age of 21 he had given up creative writing. Often described as a 'libertine' living life to the limit and beyond, also a vagabond who travelled extensively and often penniless. Rimbaud's  remarkable poetry has influenced modern day poetry, art and rock music lyrics, such as those of  Dylan Thomas, Pablo Picasso, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, to name but a few.
I
n 1880, Rimbaud is employed by the coffee trading company Bardley et Compagnie in Aden, Yemen. Soon after he is promoted and appointed to the companies new office in Harrar, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) as their coffee dealer. During his time at Harrar Rimbaud gained a reputation as a shrewd but honest dealer and earns the respect of the local merchants and traders. Unfortunately Rimbaud's health deteriorated, he contracted cancer of the knee and was sent back to France where he died at the age of 37, coincidently, the same age Jim Morrison his great follower died.


Up until now good Coffee has been synonymous with the phrase

Freshly Roasted, Freshly Ground and Freshly Brewed

and has established itself as the world's favourite hot beverage ... but
the pace of life is quickening and
as making a cup of coffee takes time
a quicker version of "coffee" is needed ... therefore, 
a new beverage emerges from the chemist's 
laboratories

Instant Coffee

In 1876. Paterson & Sons Ltd began production of a coffee compound essence in Charlotte Street, Glasgow, Scotland,which was first patented in 1771 and they called it "Camp Coffee."
It is said to have originated when the Gordon Highlanders requested a coffee drink which could be brewed up easily by the army chefs on field campaigns in India.
These two earlier labels on the left showed the Indian apparently serving the kilted soldier, which provoked a storm of protest from race equality groups who claimed that the label delivered "an offensive and racist" message. So the tray was removed, but the label still caused offence as the amended version still wasn't acceptable as the Indian still looked like a servant.
So in September 2006, 130 years after the launch of the original label,  the Camp Coffee label changed again, this time showing the Indian and the Scotsman sitting side by side enjoying a cup of Camp Coffee.
However, it has been suggested than the prototype label on the far right should be considered, as it is believed in some quarters that it maintains an unequivocal level of political, social and racial correctness. Yes a truly camp coffee...!

Lets swiftly move on to the The 20th Century ...

1900. The Hills Brothers of San Francisco pioneer tins of vacuum packed ground roasted coffee. The Hills Brothers brand is now owned by the mighty' Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group'.

1901. A form of instant coffee was invented by Satori Kato, a Japanese inventor working in Chicago, USA, whose main claim to fame was for inventing a palatable soluble tea. His soluble coffee didn't catch on.

1906. Ludwig Roselius and Karl Wimmer of Hamburg, Germany, whose company was called 'Kaffee Handels-Aktien-Gesellschaft'  filed a patent for a coffee decaffeination process, it was called 'Kaffee Hag'. It was also launched in France under the name 'Café Sanka' which means, 'coffee sans caféine', coffee without caffeine. To remove the caffeine the process required the green coffee beans to be soaked in solvents such as benzene and methylene chloride ... !

1908. George Constant Louis Washington developed a secret recipe for commercial instant coffee process. This particular George Washington is an important character on the instant coffee development stage, he was born in Belgium in 1871, his father was English and his mother Belgian. He studied chemistry at the University of Bonn, Germany and soon after graduation, in 1895, he married Lina Van Nieuwenhuyse, whose father was Belgian and mother was English. The Washingtons moved to New York in 1897. In 1906 George Washington took his wife and three children to Guatemala to have a go at cattle farming. It was here that he invented a soluble coffee, obviously he didn't fancy being a cowboy any more, so with his new invention in hand, he returned with his family to New York and established an instant coffee manufacturing plant in  Brooklyn.
In 1910 George Washington formed the 'G. Washington Coffee Refining Company', whose 'instant coffee powder' had the brand name ...  'RED E COFFEE'. It became an instant success when it was issued to soldiers in the trenches during WW1, as it could be drunk either hot or cold and provided a well needed caffeine kick. The soldiers nicknamed it  'a cup of old George'. After World War One instant coffee went into decline, to be resurrected again when the USA entered WW2 and was once again issued to the troops. In 1946, George Washington died and in 1961 his factory was sold to the Coca Cola company.

1938. After seven years research, the packaged food giant Nestlé, founded in 1866 by the chemist Henri Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland,  developed a more advanced coffee powder refining process,which resulted in the launch of the Nescafé powder instant coffee brand which was introduced in Switzerland on April 1st.

1962. until 1971, during the Vietnam war, the USA launched against the North Vietnamese their defoliation of forests program 'Operation Ranch Hand', depriving the enemy of food and places to hide ...! The chemicals used included the herbicide 'Dioxin', which is known to provoke cancers, foetal malformation, skin diseases. It also effects the immune system, the introductory system and the nervous system. The formula was called 'Agent Orange'. It is estimated that 20 million US gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over rural areas of central and southern Vietnam, also parts of Laos and Cambodia.
The USA has compensated those countries 
affected with the help of, among other agricultural projects, the establishment of coffee plantations. So successful has this program been that in 2010 Vietnam was the worlds second largest producer of coffee after Brazil.....!

23rd September 2005.
The Preseli Coffee Stall makes its debut, at the Narberth Food Festival in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

Preseli Coffee Roasters


A note from me, the author....

I would like to praise Antony Wild for his excellent book ' Coffee. A Dark Secret' , ISBN 1-84115-649-3,  from which a big chunk of the information on this page was researched.

Historic Image Credits ...  
Arab Dhow  http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com >The Probert Encyclopaedia</a>. Data used under licence
Coffee Plant http://www.postersguide.com/posters/coffee-tree-leaves-flowers-and-fruit-2876283.html
Sailing ship in Bombay Harbour http://www.yurock.net
Café Florian in the Piazza San Marco http://www.crossingitaly.net/travel/478/do-you-fancy-a-coffee-in-venicecaffe-florian-is-there-to-help-you/
Statue of Franz Georg Kolschitzk in Vienna http://www.web-books.com/Classics/ON/B0/B701/38MB701.html
Lloyds Coffee House http://www.lloyds.com/flash/History-Chronology/main.html
Slave Auction http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10966
Arab Merchants http://theorientalistgallery.blogspot.com/2009/05/arab-merchants.html
George Washington http://commons.wikimedia.org
Boston Tea Party http://www.iguessimfloating.net/2009/12/history-mixery-boston-tea-party.html
Frederick the Great of Prussia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick
Kangaroo Point, Brisbane http://www.coffeeworks.com.au/info/australian_coffee_history.php
Arthur Rimbaud http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud
Camp Coffee http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-404516/Camp-coffee-forced-change-label-PC-brigade.html#ixzz18xZEjrdl
Washington's Coffee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_(inventor)