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ORIGIN OF THE WORD COFFEE
There are several theories regarding the origin of the word COFFEE.
– According to one of them, it comes from the Ethiopian province of KAFFA, the area from which the coffee bush originates.
– Another theory says that it comes from the Arabic word KAWAH, which means strength.
CAFETO PROPAGATION ACROSS THE WORLD
If you ask people on the street which country coffee originates from, most will mention any South American country like Colombia, Brazil etc. while the truth is the plant is native to Africa and more precisely ETHIOPIA (old ABISINIA). How the coffee bush (cafeto) travelled the length and breadth of the world is worthy to be the plot of a novel.
Coffee, as we have said, a native of ETHIOPIA was taken by slavers and Muslim pilgrims to KENYA and YEMEN (old ARABIA). The Arabs guarded their hegemony in the coffee market, and the sale of grains that were not completely dry was prohibited, so that they could not germinate and be planted in other regions.
When the Dutch sailors went to Indonesia, former Dutch colonies, via the Cape of Good Hope, instead of heading east directly, they diverted towards the East African coast and the port of MOKA (YEMEN) was a stop that became a part of their route.
It was from this port and by Dutch ships that the first seedlings (secretly) left for East Indies in 1690, first to CEYLAN and then to JAVA.
In India it appears that coffee arrived thanks to a Muslim pilgrim called Baba Budant, from the region of Mysore, who, on his way back from Mecca and having tasted coffee, took some seeds which he hid in his clothes and brought them to his country.
In the year 1706 coffee seedlings came to Amsterdam, to the botanical garden.
In 1714, after the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, the Burgomaster of Amsterdam offered a coffee seedling to the King of France, Louis XIV, who entrusted the care of it to the botanist Antoine de Jussieu, who planted it in the Garden of Plants in Paris.
At that time the governor of Martinique, Marine Infantry Captain Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, on his trips to Paris, promotes the popularity coffee in French society. The captain is knowledgeable about flora, climate and volcanic character of the land between Eastern and West Indies and dedicates to looking for the cafeto bush in the area of Antilles, but without success. The captain considers that the conditions that exist in Martinique are good enough for growing coffee, so he asks Paris Botanical Garden to give him some seedlings, but is turned down. Realising the economic importance of Martinica being able to produce coffee, he decides to steal a seedling. It is in 1723 that the Governor of Martinique embarks on his ship in the port of Nantes with a cafeto bush and heads for Martinique.
When the Dutch become aware of the fact that the cafeto is bound for Martinique, they try to kill it to prevent it from reaching its destination and putting the predominant position of the Dutch in the coffee market at risk. They resort to all kinds of tricks, they even try to water it with salt water but do not achieve their objective since the Captain keeps the plant very well protected in a small greenhouse.
On his journey the captain is attacked by Tunisian pirates in the Atlantic and in the heat of battle the greenhouse is destroyed.
After a month of calm, water becomes scarce and Captain Crie shares his rations with the plant. When they were only a day and a half away from their destination, a terrible storm caused a great amount of water to enter the vessel and covered the coffee bush, but miraculously the cafeto survived.
The coffee tree was finally planted in the fertile lands of Martinique and after the first bloom, the first grains were collected and distributed among the inhabitants of the island.
From Martinique, coffee travels to Haiti and then to the Dominican Republic during the uprising of slaves.
Coffee also reaches Puerto Rico from the hands of the French in 1755.
The coffee first arrived in Guatemala thank to the Jesuits who first took it to the area of Antigua the capital and then to the south.
In the late eighteenth century, coffee was brought to Cuba by Dm Antonio Jalabert and in 1779 the Jesuits took it to Costa Rica.
From Costa Rica coffee spread to Venezuela and at the end of the eighteenth century to Colombia.
The introduction of the Coffee tree in Colombia was very difficult because although there was a law by the Spanish government imposing planting cafetos, Colombians refused to obey it, since from the time a coffee tree was planted until the first harvest one had to wait for 3 or 4 years. So, in order to be able to survive, they planted potatoes, corn etc. which were annual plants. One day a Jesuit had an idea to promote growing coffee trees and it was none other than making his parishioners (as penance for their sins) plant a number of coffee trees on their land. This was the beginning of the development of a large source of revenue to Colombia. Therefore it is said that the largest economy in Colombia (coffee) comes from the sins of Colombians who, judging by the number of coffee trees, must have been numerous.
At that time Brazil wished to enter the coffee market, but it needed to obtain more coffee seeds. To achieve its goal the Emperor of Brazil takes advantage of the request of the French and Dutch Guiana to mediate in a conflict of borders and sends Colonel Palette, a clever military man, with the aim of obtaining the seeds. The colonel makes use of his attractiveness and seduces the wife of the governor of French Guiana who, as a parting gift on completing his mission, gives him a bouquet of flowers inside which there are several branches of coffee bush with a few grains. These beans were the beginning of the way which has made Brazil the largest producer of coffee in the world today.
Brazilian coffee arrives in Hawaii by the hand of the missionary Samuel Rufles in 1818.