7 COFFEE

D 1000 by the 13th century muslims were drinking

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Unformatted text preview: flock. Witnessing Kaldi’s goatly gambol, a monk plucked berries for his brothers. That night they were uncannily alert to divine inspiration. ESCAPE FROM ARABIA (Circa 1000 to 1600) Coffee as we know it kicked off in Arabia, (Yemen) where roasted beans were first brewed around A.D. 1000. By the 13th century Muslims were drinking coffee religiously. The “bean broth” drove dervishes into orbit, kept worshippers awake, and splashed over into secular life. And wherever Islam went, coffee went too: North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and India. Arabia made export beans infertile by parching or boiling, and it is said that no coffee seed sprouted outside Africa or Arabia until the 1600s—until Baba Budan. As tradition has it, this Indian pilgrim/smuggler left Mecca with fertile seeds strapped to his belly. Baba’s beans bore fruit and initiated an agricultural expansion that would soon reach Europe’s colonies. EUROPE CATCHES THE BUZZ (1615 to 1700) (1615 “The Turks have a drink of black color....I will The bring some with me...to the Italians”. Thus a merchant of Venice introduced Europe to coffee in 1615. But the end product didn’t amount to a hill of beans to many traders—they wanted the means of production. The race was on. The Dutch cleared the initial hurdle in 1616, spiriting a coffee plant into Europe for the first time. Then in 1696 they founded the first European-owned coffee estate, on colonial Java, now part of Indonesia. Coffee’s colonial tradition thrived on the island of Java, where Indonesian workers here (following slide) cull a day’s harvest for rejects. Shortly after coffee as a drink reached 17th-century Europe from Arabia and Turkey, the Dutch made Java synonymous with coffee through their profitable plantations. Other European nations followed suit, planting coffee empires around the world. around A SWASHBUCKLING SCHEME SWASHBUCKLING (Circa 1714 to 1720) Louis XIV received his Dutch treat around 1714—a Louis coffee tree for Paris’s Royal Botanical Garden. Several years later a young naval officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, was in Paris on leave from Martinique, a French colony in the Caribbean. Imagining Martinique as a French Java, he requested clippings from his king’s tree. Permission denied. Resolute, de Clieu led a moonlight raid of the Jardin des Plantes—over the wall, into the hothouse, out with a sprout. Mission accomplished, de Clieu sailed for Martinique. He might have thought the hard part was over. He would have been wrong. CROSSING THE ATLANTIC CROSSING (Circa 1720 to 1770) On the return passage to Martinique, wrote de Clieu, a On “basely jealous” passenger, “being unable to get this coffee plant away from me, tore off a branch.” Then came the pirates who nearly captured the ship; then came a storm which nearly sank it. Then water grew scarce and was rationed. De Clieu gave half of his allotment to his stricken seedling. Under armed guard, the sprout grew strong in Martinique, yielding an...
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