The History of Coffee around the World – Timeline

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline

Have you ever wondered about the roots of coffee? This beverage, which has captivated the tastes of many around the world, has an intriguing and mysterious history.

In this article, we delve into the secrets behind the birth of coffee, taking you on a journey from its creation to the present day. Keep reading and immerse yourself in this fascinating topic.

The exact origin of coffee is uncertain, but some mythological stories point to its beginnings in Ethiopia. According to one legend, a shepherd named Kaldi noticed a coffee plant and decided to feed its fruit to his goats. As a result, the goats became more active and full of energy.

Baffled by the change in his flock, Kaldi believed the fruits were evil and sinister. However, when he threw them into the fire, the delicious aroma of roasted fruit attracted Kaldi and the monks who were with him, prompting them to taste the drink. Upon trying it, they realized that the vigor provided by coffee helped them stay awake during prayers.

Now, let’s embark on a journey through time and explore how these beans enchanted the world…

The Journey of Coffee Across the Globe: Timeline

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline


Experts point to Ethiopia as the cradle of coffee, consumed in North Africa since time immemorial. The Legend of Kaldi, a goat shepherd who discovers the stimulating effect of coffee. Coffee is used as food in its natural state.

Around 1000 AD

Coffee infusion is discovered. The Arabs submerged coffee cherries in water and boiled them. This infusion had medicinal purposes.

15th century

Coffee consumption begins in the Middle East (Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, reaching Egypt), with the Arab world being the creator of the drink. Diversity in coffee preparation methods in the East: Turkish coffee is roasted and decanted, while Arabic coffee is made with a light manual roast and, in some places, spices like cardamom.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline
Kiva Han – The world’s first coffee house. Image: Trip Advisor


The world’s first coffee house (known as Kiva Han) opens in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey. Originally for religious purposes, it quickly becomes a center for chess games, singing, dancing, and music. Prevailing laws in various parts of the Middle East allowed a wife to request divorce if her husband did not provide the desired amount of coffee.


The drink is prepared in the same way as we know it today. Coffee becomes popular in Arabia, and since the Quran prohibits alcoholic beverages, it is widely used in religious ceremonies.


Khair Beg, governor of Mecca, tries to ban coffee consumption. The sultan, informed of the incident, establishes a law making it a sacred drink and condemns the governor to death.

In the 1520s

Coffee cultivation gains momentum in Mokha, expanding across the Arabian Peninsula and being consumed in cities like Istanbul and Cairo, both in the streets and markets, and in sophisticated places like coffeehouses.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline


Prospero Alpino discusses the coffee plant in his book “De plantis aegypti,” published in Venice.

Between 1615 and 1616

The Venetians make the first import of coffee to Europe. Pietro Delia Valle, upon tasting the drink on his journeys to Constantinople, names it Coffea arabica. During maritime expansion and the search for spices, European ports import coffee, popularizing the drink. Thus, Oriental coffee becomes especially appreciated in Venice, and travelers spread this exotic custom throughout Europe.

Between 1629 and 1645

The first European coffeehouse is inaugurated in Venice.


Coffee reaches Oxford, England, where its first coffeehouse will open 14 years later, and in 1644 it arrives in France. Around that year, Pasqua Rosée establishes the first Coffee House in London, causing religious controversies, as some people judged it an impure drink. In the same year, a coffeehouse opens in Italy.


The first coffeehouse is opened in Oxford, England.

Around 1660

Coffee lands in North America, brought by the Dutch. In New York and Philadelphia, the first Coffee Houses emerge. In 1670, the opening of the first Coffee House in Boston and Paris is authorized.


The first coffeehouse in Romania is inaugurated in Bucharest.


The first coffeehouse is established in France, in Paris.


The first coffeehouse opens in Austria, in Vienna. In the same year, a curious episode occurs: the Ottoman army besieges Vienna but is forced to abandon the mission, leaving 200 sacks of coffee behind. The Coffee Exchange is then born.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline
Jean-Marie Hullot from France – Le ProcopeCC BY-SA 2.0


In 1686, in Paris, the Procope coffeehouse is inaugurated, which today operates as a restaurant that preserves the tradition of the first European coffeehouses.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline


The Middle East’s monopoly on coffee production begins to harm European consumption. The Dutch obtain seeds and begin to cultivate coffee in colonies in the Indian Ocean, producing and distributing coffee in Europe with enslaved labor. Some coffee plants are sent from the Amsterdam Botanical Garden. In 1699, experimental cultivation begins in Java and later in Sumatra. In 1706, seedlings are planted in the Amsterdam Botanical Garden.

Between 1714 and 1715

French monarch Louis XIV receives coffee plants as a gift from the mayor of Amsterdam, which are cultivated in the gardens of Versailles. From these seedlings, the French take coffee to the Sandwich and Bourbon islands.


The Dutch introduce coffee to Suriname, in the northeast of South America, turning the region into an important production hub.

Around 1720

Floriano Francesconi establishes Café Florian in Piazza San Marco, Venice, which remains to this day as a tradition. Gabriel Mathieu De Clieu, a French navy captain, brings coffee seedlings to Martinique. Despite difficulties on the long journey, the captain shares his own water supply to keep the seedlings alive. They adapt well to the local climate, giving rise to vast plantations, precursors of cultivation in America.


In 1727, at the request of the Portuguese Crown, Francisco de Melo Palheta carries out an expedition to Guiana to obtain coffee seeds for Brazil. Cultivation begins in Pará with a seedling brought from French Guiana by Palheta. Later, cultivation expands to Baixada Fluminense and Vale do Paraíba in 1760. Palheta, a Brazilian army captain, is said to have seduced the governor of Guiana’s wife, who gifted him coffee seedlings and seeds. Coffee becomes strategic for Brazil, which increases the importation of enslaved Africans to work on Fluminense farms.

18th century

In the 18th century, coffee begins to be produced on a small scale in Mexico, the Guianas, Venezuela, and Colombia. Also in the 18th century, records appear in Europe of coffee being prepared with cloth filters, a method that persists in various parts of the world. Still in the 18th century, women were forbidden to frequent coffeehouses in the Middle East and much of Europe.


The English begin plantations in Jamaica, originating the renowned Blue Mountain coffee. The Exchange Coffee House is founded on Broad Street in New York. In 1734, Johann Sebastian Bach composes the Coffee Cantata. Coffeehouses had already become places for music appreciation.

Around 1760

Seedlings from Goa are taken to Rio de Janeiro, where coffee is cultivated in Gávea and Tijuca by João Alberto Castello Branco.


The first coffeehouse in Switzerland is inaugurated. In 1773, the “Tea Boycott” in Boston makes coffee the official drink of the United States of America.


After progressing through the Paraíba Valley, coffee establishes itself as an essential product for Brazil and reaches Campinas, consecrating it as the epicenter of São Paulo coffee cultivation.


Brazil consolidates itself as a major coffee-exporting power, with 26 million cultivated coffee plants.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline


The first projects for French press-style coffee makers emerge.


The Santos-Jundiaí Railway is inaugurated, connecting the main export port to the coffee-producing area.


Brazil becomes the last country to abolish slavery. Formerly enslaved people from coffee plantations are freed without policies for integration, employment, housing, or education. The coffee workforce becomes primarily composed of immigrants, in a process related to whitening policies in Brazilian producing states.

20th Century

The 20th century marks a transformation in coffee consumption. The beverage, previously limited to public spaces, intellectual circles, and wealthy families, spreads and becomes the most consumed worldwide. Coffee begins to be enjoyed in workers’ homes, during work breaks in factories, and in popular establishments.



Invention of the espresso from the coffee machine developed by Italian Luigi Bezzera.


Ludwig Roselius launches the first decaffeinated coffee.



Santos Dumont carries out his first flight with the 14 BIS, reinforcing his image as the world’s largest coffee producer, known as the “Coffee King,” promoting his “Santos” brand throughout Europe.


Creation of the paper filter.


Opening of the first coffeehouse in Tokyo, Japan, with a Brazilian name.


Coffee cultivation becomes the main activity of Latin American economies.


The collapse of the NY Stock Exchange and the economic crisis strongly impact the global coffee economy. Financing from foreign banks is halted, and prices plummet, leading the sector into a major crisis.


Invention of the Italian-style coffee maker.


Inspired by Italian Luigi Bezzera, creator of espresso coffee, Francisco Illy develops the automatic espresso coffee machine.

Expresso Machine

1939 – 1945

World War II impacts the production and consumption of all food, including coffee.


The first coffeehouses are inaugurated in Korea.


Foundation of the International Coffee Organization, responsible for overseeing the export quota system.


In the USA, espresso coffee begins to gain popularity.

Coffee Lovers


Expansion of coffee cultivation in Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast) and Vietnam.


The spread of coffeehouse chains begins. Automatic espresso coffee machines spread around the world.


Global consumption surpasses the 100 million bag mark.


Eco-friendly and sustainable coffees become a market demand. Daterra, a Brazilian company, obtains the first ISO 14001 certification.


Certifications such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Kapeh, and Organic become essential requirements for production, demanded by more developed countries during marketing.


Brazil remains the world’s largest coffee producer for over a century, covering 1/3 of global coffee consumption. Next come countries such as Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexico, and Uganda. There are more than 10 distinct preparation methods and countless ways to enjoy coffee around the world.

The History of Coffee around the World - Timeline

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