Why coffee is a global commodity requires a history lesson about coffee. Coffee beans were originally found in the mountains of Yemen and the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia in the thirteenth century. It is in the southwest where it has been cultivated for over a thousand years. It is also there that it became the drink of men as they socialized in coffee houses. It also became a drink that was banned by Muslim clerics for a period of time because of the effects of the caffeine on the men.Some of the men in these coffee houses became merchants of coffee beans and plants, a commodity that was bartered on or sold to merchants from Kenya and Sudan at first. These bean plants were raised in Turkey and Egypt next.
It is here the plants began to be grown on plantations where workers cultivated the soil and trimmed the trees so they would not over-bear. Too many berries on the shrub causes deterioration of the entire plant. It is also from these places that the growing of coffee beans began to spread all over the world. India was the next country to add coffee growing plantations.From these regions coffee spread to Italy and further north into all of Europe where, in the 16th century, the Dutch and Portuguese began growing coffee plants in large green houses in Holland. The Dutch were able to grow a greater amount for distribution some years later. The Dutch went to Central America, around Cape Horn through Drake Passage to Indonesia and on to other nearby islands in the Pacific.
Indonesia was growing their coffee, which was Robusta bean coffee. The English brought plants to America and different places in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.As the sale of coffee beans and plants spread northward, the King of Portugal sent Francisco de Mello Palheta to obtain a smaller variety of beans called the Bourbon in French Guinea. Having difficulty getting the beans he asked French Governor’s wife if she obtain some of them. In 1727, she sent him seeds and shoots, which he smuggled to Brazil. This commenced the coffee industry of Brazil. In 1893, these became the Santos variety of Arabica beans in Brazil.
Today, Brazil is the greatest exporter of coffee beans from South America. Costa Rica, Columbia and many other countries in this region also grew these transplanted coffee beans in cultivated soil.Today, most Arabica coffee beans come from around the globe including Columbia, Hawaii, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Uganda and Mexico as well as South and Central American countries. Many claim however, that the best coffee beans come from India. Both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans have been cultivated into specific varieties, blended and or flavored. All this creates more choices for coffee drinkers throughout the world.