The History of Coffee around the World
The British may be known for "Tea Time" but the Dutch are responsible for spreading coffee around the world.
Coffee's journey around the world began in Ethiopia, where it was discovered, through trade to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where it grows very well. Coffee was exported from the Middle East through a port named 'moca' - giving its coffee that name.
In the 1600s the Dutch dominated the world's shipping trade and they brought coffee to their colonies. Names we know today as origins of the world's most famous coffees; Java, Sumatra and Timor, in and around modern day Indonesia.
The Dutch also planted coffee in Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka off the south coast of India. Ceylon had a thriving coffee industry from the mid to the late 1600s when a coffee leaf blight, a fungal disease for which there was no cure, decimated the entire industry. Ceylon was a British colony at this time and tea plants from the Assam region of northern India were planted to provide the growing demand for tea to England, much of which had previously been imported from China. Sri Lanka is a thriving tea producer today.
By the 1700s the Dutch had planted coffee in the South American country of Surinam, which borders modern day Brazil. From there it became widely established throughout South America and made South America the coffee center of the world.
The Dutch brought coffee to Japan in the late 1800s where it competed with tea but never overtook it. Today the Japanese enjoy some of the world’s most rare and expensive coffees from Jamaica and Kona Hawaii.
British traders completed Coffee's trip around the world by bringing coffee to the African nation of Kenya, just south of Ethiopia where it was originally discovered.