Coffee in Arabia – From Seeds to Cups

Besides the fact that coffee came from Ethiopia, Arabians are those with the greatest role in coffee tradition. For this reason, not explaining the history of coffee in  Arabia would be a big mistake.

You may grab a cup of fresh coffee and join me in this story…

In the 15th century, the coffee seed was brought from Ethiopia to Arabian peninsula. Although they were not familiar with all the advantages of coffee we know today, it seems that they still knew its potential.

They decided to use each of those coffee seeds and to grow them on their own. This is how coffee became a cultivated plant, from bush growing in the wild.

Although Arabians invested a lot of work in growing coffee, coffee production of that time was everything but mass production, as it is these days.

Roots of coffee production

The production of coffee was highly controlled, and exporting coffee beans was strongly forbidden. Coffee seed storages were kept secret. For them, coffee was an exclusive good and a status symbol,  not a source of income.

One interesting law of that time also shows how important status symbol coffee was. The law says that a woman can ask for divorce if her husband can’t afford enough coffee for their home.

At that time Yemen was one of the biggest  coffee production centers. Arabians managed to keep the secret of coffee until 16th century when it started spreading through Europe.

Today, coffee arabica (the coffee from seeds exported from Arabia) covers about 70% of world coffee production. Although arabica is more difficult to grow and more expensive  than other coffee species,  it’s still the leader in mass production. The reason being it’s specific taste and amazing quality of each coffee bean.

Coffee in a cup – Arabian invention

Coffee was first used mostly as food. But, today we drink our coffee from a cup. Arabians get credit for that.

After changing coffee into a cultivated plant and making it desired good, they have done one more amazing thing. They came up with their own, completely new process of coffee preparation we all use today.

First they would roast raw coffee beans to change its smell, taste and density. At the same time coffee would change its color and would spread that beautiful aroma. After this, they would grind it and prepare it with hot boiling water. The result was hot, aromatic non-alcoholic drink.

The Arabian process of coffee preparation was so perfect that it has remained the same to this day.