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Starting in Mocha

"From Mocha, coffee was brought by Indian traders to be marketed to the East"

In the earlier time, coffee was the drink for the priests and the Sufis in the mosques. They took the benefit of the stimulant effect in coffee drink, currently known as caffeine, to keep awake when reading and interpreting the Holy Koran.

Until the middle of 15th century, coffee only grew in the Arabian peninsula, such as in Cairo, Mecca and Medinnah. Around the year of 1550, coffee entered Istanbul and became part of Persian’s culture as well as Indian and west African (Topik 2003: 26-7; Ukers 1935: 17-8).

By the middle of 16th century, the demand for coffee increased rapidly. Farmers in Yemen responded by growing the coffee, not far from the port of Mocha, Yemen (Wrigley 1988:1-4; Hattox 1985 : 12-26; Tuchscherer 2003 : 50). Mocha grew as an important port and became the center of coffee trade in Arabian peninsula.

From Mocha, coffee was brought by Indian traders to be marketed to the East, while the Egyptians sold it along the Red Sea. At the same time, Arabian and Turkish traders introduced coffee to the Turkish Ottoman Empire (Wrigley 1988 : 16-7; Hattox 1985 : 26-8; Tuchsherer 2003 : 52. 

At the same time, the light of Renaissance had brought a new spirit to the Europeans. They started traveling a lot to the outside of Europe, to prove Copernicus premise that the earth was round. In their journey they discovered many new territories.

One of the most phenomenal finding was Christopher Columbus’s discovery of a new continent called ‘the new world’ which later known as Amercia in the 15th century.

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The Europeans discovered the tropical on the way to the east where the sun shone throughout the year. Those places possessed with a diverse natural resources including spices that attracted most Europeans.

In the early of 16th century, the Portuguese and the Dutch brought the tea from China Europe and then developed it into a popular beverage in the European kingdoms. At the same time, other Europeans who traveled to the East and stopped by in the Arabian Peninsula found dark exotic drinks. Local people called it as “qahwa” sold at stalls and were found in the cities of Mecca, Medina as well as Cairo (Wrigley 1988: 12; Ukers 1922: 18-9).

After visiting in Egypt in 1517, Sultan Salim I brought coffee to the Constaniple and then to Damascus (1530) as well as to Aleppo (1531). In 1532, Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician and botanist, stopped by in the city of Aleppo and enjoyed drinking coffee. Rauwolf then were crowned as the European who drank coffee.

Another Italian botanist, Prespero Alpini after returning from Cairo (1580), brought a lot of new information about coffee in his book of The Plant of Egypt, he saw the coffee plant in Cairo and, its beans was called ‘bon’ or ‘ban’. The Egyptians boiled the beans and drank it like drinking wine. The drink was sold in public and called ‘caova’ (Uker’s 1922: 26).

In its development coffee experienced a dark age in Turkey. One of the Ottoman Empire successors, Sultan Murad IV (1623 – 1640) became prejudice that the coffee shop had turned into a medium for political debates that might threat the as well as its customers. They were chased and often beaten. As a result, many coffee shop owners migrated, brought the coffee outside Turkey and started to open coffee shop in Europe (Hokpins, 2006)

The Venesian merchants who controlled trade routes in the Mediterranean, actually had introdu,ed coffee to Europe around the 16th century, through Alexandria or Istanbul (Arrighi, 1994). In the history, the first European coffee shop was opened in Venice then followed in Italy in 1645, also in Holland (1645), England (1650), Hamburg (1679) and in Vienna (1683).

A French orientalist, Antonie Galland had translated the writings of Abd-al-kadir (1587), ‘Arabian Nights’. This writings had portrayed complete picture about coffee drink to the European.

The first coffee shop was opened in France in 1672, by an Armenian named Pascal. Seventeen years later, Procapio Cuto established Procape cafe which became a famous coffee shop Paris.

This coffee shop was frequently visited by the French Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Denis Diderot also Napoleon Bonaparte. The often stopped by to hold meetings in this place, therefore the coffee shops were strongly associated with the introduction of the French Revolution, as well as the of the modern world’s first Encyclopedia.

At the same time, coffee shops were opened in other European countries. The first coffee shop in Germany was in the city of Hamburg (1679) followed by Stuggart (1712). As in many European cities, coffee had quickly become a favorite drink in Germany. Most people were uncomfortable with this situation.

Johan Sebastian Bach, the great composer of the world and who then lived in the city of Leipzig, had been inspired by this trend to compose the Coffee Cantata in 1732. This composition illustrated a parody about most Germans who were not comfortable with the existence of coffee in their country. In order to prevent conflict, the king of Germany in 1777 had to declare that the beer still remained as the national drink of the Germany. 

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