Time Out Melbourne

A brief history of coffee

In twelve centuries coffee went from making goats extra peppy to becoming  Australia's drink of choice

9th Century: Ethiopian goat herder discovers coffee after noting his goats got livelier after munching on the bright red beans.

15th Century: Coffee becomes widespread in Egypt and has reached the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa.

1615: Coffee appears in Europe, initially used as an aid to digestion but soon as a beverage where it allows “fruitful discussions without the delirious effects of alcohol”

1645: First coffeehouse opens in Italy

1668: Coffee replaces beer as New York's City's favourite breakfast drink.

1713: The Dutch gift France’s Louis XIV a coffee bush whose seedlings will go on to produce 90 percent of the world's coffee.

1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in US.

1788: Coffee arrives in Sydney via Captain Cook and co.

1822: The first espresso machine made in France.

1880: Coffee production begins in Australia with plantations in far north QLD and north NSW.

1885: Australian coffee wins awards in Paris, Marseille and Rome.

1901: "Instant" coffee invented in Chicago by chemist Satori Kato.

1907: Brazil accounts for 97 per cent of the world's coffee harvest.

1908: Coffee filter and filter paper patented by German housewife Melitta Bentz.

1920: Declining commodity prices worldwide wipe out Australian coffee industry until WWII.

1933: Dr. Ernest Illy invents the first automatic espresso machine.

1938: Nescafé or freeze-dried coffee invented.

1942: Widespread hoarding during WWII leads to coffee rationing in Australia.

1946: Modern-day espresso machine created by Italian Achilles Gaggia using a spring powered lever system

1963: United Nations negotiates International Coffee Agreement, establishing worldwide coffee export quotas.

1971: Starbucks opens first store in Seattle, starting a frenzy for fresh-roasted whole bean coffee.

1995: Coffee officially becomes world’s most popular beverage 400 billion cups a year!

2008: Starbucks makes a partial withdrawal from the Australian market, due to challenges presented by Australia’s sophisticated coffee culture”.

2012: Coffee now Australia’s fave drink – 2.1 billion cups served a year!

Updated on 6 May 2013.

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