Coffee history in 1600s
1600 The British East India Company is founded for trading spices and luxury goods in Asia, but over the next couple of decades the Brits are trading coffee as well.
Iron coffee roasters are being developed and used by the Arabs in Mesopotamia; they are shaped as an iron spider on legs and sit on an open fire roasting the coffee beans.
Around this time pewter serving pots are also starting to be used.
1603 Captain John Smith, a British adventurer authors a travel book titled Travels and Adventures in which he mentions the Turkish drink known as coffa.
History of coffee in America….the beginning
1607 Captain John Smith brings coffee to the Americas. He is also one of the founding members of the English settlement colony in Jamestown, Virginia.
It’s possible that Smith wasn’t the original importer of coffee to North America as Canada might have got in there first according to different accounts.
1615 Venice becomes the European hub for coffee after it’s imported from the port of Mocha.
Coffee is growing so much in popularity now that it’s referred to as the wine of Arabia.
1616 A Dutch merchant named Pieter van der Broecke is working for the Dutch East India Company and manages to get his hands on some coffee bushes from Mocha after drinking what he describes as “something hot and black.”
Pieter takes these coffee bushes back to a botanical garden in Amsterdam and attempts are made to grow them; however, they didn’t grow as the coffee plant prefers much warmer climates.
All is not lost though as the Dutch go on to successfully grow the crop in Java and Ceylon.
1623 Coffeehouses are closed in Istanbul as another paranoid governor believes people are using them as places to plot against him.
The Turks refuse to give up drinking coffee and carry on in secret. If caught the punishments are unbelievably harsh, ranging from being beaten with a stick (if you were lucky) to being forced inside a leather container and thrown into the sea to drown…all for drinking coffee!
Coffee comes to the UK
1637 England’s very first cup of coffee is brewed by a Creton Scholar studying at Balliol College in Oxford by the name of Nathaniel Canopius.
1644 In France, Marseille receives its first shipment of coffee from Turkey courtesy of Pierre de la Roque, who is accompanying M. de la Haye, the French ambassador to Constantinople.
Pierre not only brings back coffee beans but also China dishes and napkins used by the Turks that are beautifully embroidered with gold, silver and silk.
1645 It’s thought that the first coffee shop in Italy opened this year in Venice and coffee is in general use throughout Italy by the end of the year.
Coffee is now so popular that it’s being sold by Lemonade vendors alongside chocolate and liquor.
1650 Baba Budan is a Muslim pilgrim who discovers coffee and decides to smuggle coffee beans from the port of Mocha back to India.
Budan plants the beans in the hills of Chikmagalur in Karnataka, and these hills are now called Baba Budan Hills in his honor.
Also in 1650, according to other history accounts, it was Jacob a Jewish immigrant from Turkey who was the first person to open a coffee shop in England (Oxford, again) and not Canopius back in 1637.
1652 London, England, gets its first coffeehouse, opened by Pasqua Rosee, a Greek servant of the Turkish goods trader Daniel Edwards.The coffeehouse is opened in St Michael’s Alley in Cornhill, and soon becomes the place to be seen as men prefer drinking in the coffeehouse rather than the taverns. And who could blame them, taverns back then were not the most pleasant places to conduct business, especially when surrounded by rowdy, drunken men.
The coffeehouse’s popularity is soon noticed by sharp-eyed entrepreneurs who are keen to get in on the action, and other coffeehouses are soon opening up around London.
However, only men are still allowed in the coffeehouses of London and Europe at this time, but the forward thinking Germans did not discriminate and women were welcome to sit with their men and enjoy a cup of coffee.
1654 Another coffeehouse in Oxford is opened, this time by a Jewish Jacobite named Cirques Jobson.
Jobson opens his coffeehouse on the corner of Queen’s Lane and the High Street and his coffeehouse is reputed to be the oldest in Europe as it’s still open today. So if you ever go to Oxford make sure you pay a visit to the coffeehouse, but also explore the rest of Oxford as it’s a beautiful place steeped in history.
Jobson not only offers coffee but also chocolate as a beverage, to cater to those with a sweet tooth no doubt.
1657 The coffee phenomenon takes off in Paris after a French traveler named Jean de Thevenot brings back coffee beans from the East.
Thevenot gives the beans to Mr de La Croix, King Louis XIV’s interpreter who informs the French orientalist Antoine Galland of the beans.
Galland later goes on to translate an Arabic manuscript about where coffee came from and its origins.
1658 The Dutch and the Dutch East India Company focus on driving out the Portuguese from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) so they can monopolize the cinnamon market. At the same time they also take over the coffee cultivation that the Arabs have established.
1660 In America’s New Amsterdam (now of course renamed New York by the Brits) Dutch traders import coffee to the area and the first license to sell the beans is issued, firmly securing America’s place in coffee history.
1663 There are now 82 coffeehouses in London, England, and all now have to be licensed and a fee of twelve pence is to be paid.
Coffee or beer with your breakfast?
1668 Coffee now becomes the beverage of choice at breakfast time for New Yorkers instead of beer. Yes you read that correctly, beer used to be the beverage that was drunk at breakfast time.
It’s believed that customary tipping began this year in the English coffeehouses, where customers would slip the server money to insure promptitude or Tip for short.
1669 Soleiman Agha, the Turkish Ambassador to Paris visits Paris and introduces coffee to the court of Louis XIV. Soleiman ensures that Parisian society fully embraces coffee drinking.
1672 The first coffee shop to open in Paris is by an American named Pascal, who originally started selling coffee from a tent at the St. Germain Fair.
The petition against coffee
1674 England’s coffeehouses are still not allowing women to drink in them, and married women are now getting fed up with their men spending so much time in them that they decide to do something about it.
So a group of women from London present The Women’s Petition Against Coffee requesting the closure of coffeehouses. They declare that drinking coffee is making their men impotent, and they feel they are also being left alone too much.
The men respond defensively, of course, to the petition with The Men’s Answer to the Women’s Petition Against Coffee, claiming that coffee makes their erections more vigorous……you’ve got to laugh.
1675 There are now said to be approximately 3,000 coffeehouses in England.
December 29th: even though King Charles II is earning revenue from coffee sales, he reacts in response to the women’s petition and orders the suppression of coffeehouses.
But the suppression may be more to do with the King worrying about the level of gossip circulating the coffeehouses about him and his government.
1676 January 8th: just two days before the proclamation is to occur and fearing a revolt, King Charles II gives in to public protest and that of his own ministers and reverses the coffeehouse closures.
The reversal is not without certain conditions, of course, and business taxes are increased….what a surprise.
1677 Hamburg in Germany opens its first coffeehouse.
1686 An Italian named Procopio Cuto opens the Cafe Procope in Paris, which is still in existence today as a restaurant.1688 Edward Lloyd opens Lloyd’s Coffee House on Tower Street, London.
The coffeehouse is popular with sailors, ship owners and merchants and is soon known as the place to go to for marine insurance.
Lloyd’s Coffee House later becomes Lloyd’s of London, the famous world’s specialist insurance market.
1696 Adrian van Ommen, the Dutch Governor of Malabar in India sends arabica coffee seeds to the Dutch Governor of Batavia (now Jakarta in Indonesia).
It’s thought this is the year that New York’s first coffeehouse is opened by John Hutchins. The coffeehouse is called the King’s Arms and stood on Broadway between Trinity churchyard and today’s Cedar Street.
The King’s Arms is the only coffeehouse in New York for many years and for this reason becomes known as THE coffee house.
1698 The birth of the London Stock Exchange has its roots in an old London coffeehouse called Jonathan’s, located in Change Alley.John Castaing is a Huguenot broker and spends lots of his time at Jonathan’s where he starts writing up stock prices, bullion prices and exchange rates; his prices are relied upon by many of the other coffeehouses in the area also.
Learn about the history of coffee in the 1700s