Coffee is more than just a drink. It is a cultural phenomenon that has shaped the history, politics, and society of many regions around the world. But did you know where it came from? What does the Islamic World have to do with Coffee? We’ll explore the fascinating history of coffee in this article.
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Islamic Origin of Coffee
In the 15th century, Yemenis made a significant discovery: they found that coffee beans from the coffee plant could be roasted, ground, and brewed to create a refreshing beverage. Ethiopians also lay claim to this discovery, but Yemen was the first place where coffee beans were exported from the Red Sea region, and it became closely associated with coffee production in the Ottoman Empire’s geographical perception.
Relation between Islam and Coffee
According to Islamic tradition, the initial consumers of this drink were Sufis who aimed to stay awake all night for their religious devotion, known as dhikr, or the act of invoking God. Once the coffee was found, the practice of drinking it quickly spread to the Holy CIty of Makkah.
Pilgrims returning from Mecca introduced coffee to the cities like Cairo and Damascus. By the mid-16th century, it had made its way to the heart of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul. From then on, coffee became a widespread phenomenon within the empire, enjoyed by both sultans and the general population.
Coffee Houses in the Ottoman Empire
The first coffee house/shop in the world (Kiva Han) is said to have appeared in Ottoman Istanbul back in 1475 AD during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. However, during the 17th century, coffeehouses became a common sight in every Ottoman city, and some villages even boasted their own.
A 17th-century Ottoman travel writer, Evliya Çelebi, vividly described coffeehouses in major cities, some of which could accommodate up to 1,000 customers at once.
How did Coffee reach Europe & Americas?
By the early 18th century, Europeans had successfully introduced coffee plants, which were smuggled out of Ethiopia, to their colonies in the Caribbean Sea. By the end of the century, coffee beans from the Americas began to replace those from Yemen, even in the Ottoman Empire’s markets.
Last updated on October 10th, 2023 at 06:23 pm
Sarim Ashrafi is the founder and editor-in-chief of Islamic Chronicles. With an unwavering love for Islamic history, he weaves captivating narratives that transport you through the rich tapestry of the Islamic world.