Archeological findings suggest that the beverage
known as coffee originated in the Middle East around 800 A.D..
The first actual references to coffee in literature were made by Homer in the fourth canto of the Odyssey, in which he mentions a beverage with unusual characteristics. Around the year 1000, the great Arab physician Avicenna made a cursory description of the drink.

Coffee was originally used on the Ethiopian mountains by nomads and warriors of the Galla tribe. Some historians claim that the word "coffee" comes from the Ethiopian region "Kaffa", the natural habitat of the Arabica plant. Coffee indeed became a trade commodity thanks to Arab merchants, who in the 14th century distributed it to the whole of the Muslim world as a substitute for alcoholic beverages prohibited by the Koran. It was only introduced to Europe by Venice some centuries later; the 17th and 18th centuries saw the spread of the famous "Botteghe del Caffe' ", the predecessor of the modern café, meeting place of poets, intellectuals and artists, who would discuss politics and cultural matters while enjoying a cup of hot coffee and a dessert.
The Hapsburg empire became acquainted with coffee when the Turkish siege of Vienna was defeated in 1683 and 500 bags of coffee were discovered in the abandoned enemy camp.

The use of coffee spread throughout Italy as of the 18th century - today it is difficult not to find at least one historic venue in each town that has some link to the distribution of the product. The late 19th century witnessed the first "torrefazioni", specialised in coffee roasting, who were the exclusive suppliers of the botteghe del caffe'. The roasters invented the first blends, to give their products their own personal touch. After the Second World War, coffee roasters gradually broadened distribution to the public at large and to cafés: the industrial-scale production of coffee had begun. Today some 2,000 coffee roasters of varying dimensions operate in Italy.

1645 - The first Café opens in Venice.

1672 - The first Gran Cafe' opens in Paris.

1700 - The coffee plant is exported by Arab countries to the rest of the world.

1720 - Cafe' Florian is opened in Venice by Floriano Francesconi, the European example of the modern coffee shop.

1723 - France introduces the coffee plant to the Antilles.

1727 - Portugal exports the coffee plant to Brazil.

1730 - England introduces the plant to Ceylon, Jamaica, Cuba and Central America.

1730 - Spain introduces the plant to Colombia.



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