» The world of coffee » Origins
coffee plant originates in southern Abyssinia. By
the fourteenth century the plant had reached Egypt
and Arabia, and the coastal regions of southern
As has been the case for other plants and seeds,
the history of the discovery and spread of coffee
is connected to a chronicle of war, colonisation
The spread of coffee around the world was accompanied
by many wars and colonial developments, with the
involvement of the various peoples responsible for
coffee’s diffusion around the globe.
Coffee came to the western world during the latter
half of the seventeenth century when the Turks were
defeated and forced to break the siege of Vienna.
In the camps of the fleeing Ottoman Turks, sacks
were discovered containing strange, dark beans which
the people had never seen before. However, there
was a Pole who had lived long in Turkey who knew
what they were for. This Pole opened the first coffee-shop.
Coffee reached Italy in about 1570, so the Venetians
were the first to taste this beverage.
Coffee came to Italy thanks to the well-known Paduan
botanist and physician, Prospero Alpino, who brought
some sacks back with him from the East. After its
arrival in Europe and the opening of the first coffee-shops
in Vienna, Marseilles and London, the demand for
coffee grew, as did production.