800 Jan 1
, Yemen

The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the accounts of Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a similar way to how it is prepared now. Coffee was used by Sufi circles to stay awake for their religious rituals. Accounts differ on the origin of the coffee plant prior to its appearance in Yemen. From Ethiopia, coffee could have been introduced to Yemen via trade across the Red Sea. One account credits Muhammad Ibn Sa'd for bringing the beverage to Aden from the African coast. Other early accounts say Ali ben Omar of the Shadhili Sufi order was the first to introduce coffee to Arabia. According to al Shardi, Ali ben Omar may have encountered coffee during his stay with the Adal king Sadadin's companions in 1401.

Kaldi and his jumping goats


850 Jan 1
, Ethioipia

Kaldi or Khalid was a legendary Ethiopian goatherd who discovered the coffee plant around 850 AD, according to popular legend, after which it entered the Islamic world then the rest of the world.
First mention of Coffee

First mention of Coffee

900 Jan 1
, Ethioipia

The earliest mention of coffee noted by the literary coffee merchant Philippe Sylvestre Dufour is a reference to bunchum in the works of the 10th century CE Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, known as Rhazes in the West.
Dark bean spreads

Dark bean spreads

1490 Jan 1
, Yemen

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the late 15th century, by Sufi Imam Muhammad Ibn Said Al Dhabhani who is known to have imported goods from Ethiopia to Yemen.
Coffee makes its way to Egypt

Coffee makes its way to Egypt

1510 Jan 1
, Egypt

By 1414, the plant was known in Mecca, and in the early 1500s was spreading to the Mameluke Sultanate of Egypt and North Africa from the Yemeni port of Mocha.


1511 Jan 1
, Mecca

In 1511, Khair Beg, the Governor of Mecca, banned coffee as a dangerous drug that stimulated radical thinking in the people of the city. He believed that coffee was a dangerous intoxicant equal to wine, which is prohibited by the Koran. He sent his forces to capture coffee from the vendors and burned their stocks in the streets.
You now savor a cup

Coffee Ban Overturned

1524 Jan 1
, Istanbul

However, these bans were to be overturned in 1524 by an order of the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Suleiman I, with Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-İmadi issuing a fatwa allowing the consumption of coffee.

Coffee reaches Istanbul

Coffee reaches Istanbul

1554 Jan 1
, Istanbul

These coffee houses also opened in Syria, especially in the cosmopolitan city of Aleppo and then in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, in 1554.
Knights of St John

Knights and Coffee

1565 Jan 1
, Malta

Coffee was first introduced to Europe on the island of Malta in the 16th century. It was introduced there through slavery. Turkish Muslim slaves had been imprisoned by the Knights of St John in 1565—the Year of the Great Siege of Malta, and they used it to make their traditional beverage.
Venetian Cup

Venetian Cup

1580 Jan 1
, Venice

In 1580 the Venetian botanist and physician Prospero Alpini imported coffee into the Republic of Venice from Egypt and soon coffee shops started opening one by one when coffee spread and became the drink of the intellectuals, of social gatherings, even of lovers as plates of chocolate and coffee were considered a romantic gift.

He likes it!

Pope baptizes coffee

1600 Jan 1
, Rome

The 16th century was also the time when coffee was first introduced to the adoring throngs of Europe. A number of the clergy in the Catholic Church believed that the drink would corrupt their congregations with its great tasting bedevilment. They labeled it Satanic and pressed for it to be banned by the Church. However, upon tasting coffee, Pope Clement VIII declared: "Why, this Satan's drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it." Clement allegedly blessed the bean because it appeared better for the people than alcoholic beverages. The Year often cited is 1600. It is not clear whether this is a true story, but it may have been found amusing at the time.
Pieter van den Broecke | ©Frans Hals

Dutch does Coffee

1616 Jan 1
, Amsterdam

Pieter van den Broecke, a Dutch merchant, obtained some of the closely guarded coffee bushes from Mocha, Yemen, in 1616. He took them back to Amsterdam and found a home for them in the Botanical gardens, where they began to thrive. This apparently minor event received little publicity, but was to have a major impact on the history of coffee.

English drink something else besides tea

English drink something else besides tea

1652 Jan 1
, London

The first coffeehouse in England was opened in Oxford in 1652. In London, the first one was opened later that same Year in at St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, by an eccentric Greek named Pasqua Roseé. Soon they were commonplace.

Möchtest du Kaffee?

Möchtest du Kaffee?

1663 Jan 1
, Bremen & Hamburg

In Germany, coffeehouses were first established in North Sea ports, including Bremen (1673) and Hamburg (1677).

Parisien café

Parisien café

1669 Jan 1
, Paris

In 1669, Soleiman Agha, Ambassador from Sultan Mehmed IV, arrived in Paris with his entourage bringing with him a large quantity of coffee beans. Not only did they provide their French and European guests with coffee to drink, but they also donated some beans to the royal court.

Coffee in India

Coffee in India

1670 Jan 1
, Chikmagalur

The first record of coffee growing in India is following the introduction of coffee beans from Yemen by Baba Budan to the hills of Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

Blue Bottle Coffeehouse

War booty

1683 Jan 1
, Vienna

The first coffeehouse in Austria opened in Vienna in 1683 after the Battle of Vienna, by using supplies from the spoils obtained after defeating the Turks. The officer who received the coffee beans, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, a Polish military officer (possibly of Ruthenian origin - according to modern Ukrainian authors, opened the coffee house and helped popularize the custom of adding sugar and milk to the coffee. The coffee house was called 'Blue Bottle'.
Colonials prefer coffee over tea

Colonials prefer coffee over tea

1773 Jan 1
, Boston MA

After the Boston Tea Party of 1773, large numbers of Americans switched to drinking coffee during the American Revolution because drinking tea had become unpatriotic

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee

1857 Jan 1
, Vietnam

Arabica is the first imported coffee variety to Vietnam since 1857. The first is the trial planting in the northern provinces such as Ha Nam, Phu Ly, then expanding to provinces like Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh. Then spread to the central provinces. Finally, coffee grows in the Central Highlands and it is recognized that the Central Highlands is a good place to grow coffee.
Nippon kohe | ©Mizuno Toshikata

Nippon kohe

1888 Jan 1
, Tokyo

The first European-style coffeehouse opened in Tokyo, Japan in 1888, and closed four years later.


References for Story of Coffee.

  • Allen, Stewart Lee (1999). The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History. Soho Press.
  • Illy, Francesco & Riccardo (1989). From Coffee to Espresso
  • Malecka, Anna (2015). "How Turks and Persians Drank Coffee: A Little-known Document of Social History by Father J. T. Krusiński". Turkish Historical Review. 6 (2): 175–193. doi:10.1163/18775462-00602006
  • Pendergrast, Mark (2001) [1999]. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. London: Texere. ISBN 1-58799-088-1.