Instant coffee. Single-origin. Decaf. Latte. Espresso. Americano. Coffee is the second most popular beverage in the world second only to water. In the U.S. alone, more than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed per day but the top spot for coffee lovers in the world goes to Finland, where each person consumes an average of 12 kilograms of coffee beans per year, according to the International Coffee Organization. In fact, coffee is of such importance in human lives that it’s even included in most military rations. But where did our love for this energy-boosting java juice come from? And how exactly did it spread across the globe? You’re watching Explore Mode and today we are diving into the history of coffee. The story of the birth of coffee is unclear and unverified but it seems to narrow down to two origin stories. On takes place in Ethiopia and the other takes us to Yemen. Let’s go to Africa first. Legend says that around 850 AD in the region of Kaffa, Ethiopia, a young goatherd called Kaldi noticed that when his goats ate a small red berry they became highly active. Intrigued, Kaldi plucked some berries for himself and noticed that he too felt energized after eating them. He wanted to share the effects of these magic berries, so he took a few to a nearby monastery but the head monk, intimidated by their strange influence, rejected them and threw them into a fire. The result was a hypnotizing aroma that captivated the monk. So after the fire was stoked they picked up the roasted coffee beans that were left among the embers, ground them and produced the first-ever cup of coffee. Now to the other origin story. Legend says that in ancient Yemen there was a man called Sheikh Omar who was famous for his healing powers. For reasons unknown, Omar was banished from his community to a cave in the desert. Hungry and desperate Omar ate the red berries from a nearby bush but was taken aback by their bitter flavor. Keen on making the most out of his meager meal, Omar roasted the beans, ground them up and boiled them with water, producing an energizing liquid that sustained him for days. When his community learned of his magical concoction he was invited to return. Now both of these accounts make for good stories, but we can’t know for sure if that’s how he first cup of Joe actually came to be, but it seems, according to historical evidence, that the crown for the first cup of coffee goes to both Yemen and Ethiopia. The plant itself is native to Ethiopia, while the first real evidence we have of its roasting and brewing as we consume coffee nowadays comes from Yemen. See, early records show that during the 15th century coffee was consumed among Muslim communities around Yemen, specifically the Sufis, because it helped them stay up for long religious ceremonies. The coffee they consumed was brought by merchants from Ethiopia. During the 1600s the beverage quickly began spreading to Europe. The Netherlands was the first country to open coffee plantations in Sri Lanka in the early 1600s. The Dutch East India Company began importing coffee from then Java and Ceylon in 1711. Pretty soon other European countries followed suit. In the 1700s the French took it to the Caribbean at the same time as the Portuguese introduced it in Brazil. In the Late 19th century, the Spanish had taken it to Central and South America. It’s no wonder that coffees from these regions are nowadays considered to be among the best in the world But aren’t all coffee beans the same? Not quite. Time for an Express Explore Explanation. Start the clock. There are many types of coffee beans but the ones that are most common are Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. They all grow in what is known as The Coffee Bean Belt, a region located between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer that have the ideal climate and temperature for coffee to thrive. According to the International Coffee Organization, 20 billion pounds of coffee are produced in the Bean Belt per year. The most common type of coffee bean is the Arabica. Historians believe it was the first type of coffee to be cultivated as it comes from the Ethiopian highlands. Nowadays, 60 percent of the coffee consumed around the world is Arabica. It’s mostly grown in Latin America and it’s known for its sweet, fruity and slightly acidic taste. However, it takes Arabica coffee plants 7 years to fully mature and be ready for harvest, making it pricier than its other bean brothers. The second most common type of coffee bean is Robusta. This is the one you’ll probably see in super markets and your neighborhood grocery store. They’re grown in Africa and Indonesia and it’s fairly common due to its high caffeine concentration, making it perfect for espressos and an energizing cup of Joe. But that also makes coffee from Robusta beans more bitter in taste. Liberica and Excelsa beans are grown in certain parts of Southeast Asia and therefore make up a really small percentage of the coffee consumed in the world; This also makes them pricier than Robusta and Arabica beans. Currently, Brazil is the world’s largest coffee exporter, pumping out 45 million bags per year of mainly Arabica beans. Coffee really stuck in Europe. The wine and beer people would customarily have for breakfast were slowly replaced by Jitter Juice. But although coffee has become the West’s favorite energy booster, people forget it was once considered the devil’s drink. Because of coffee’s Islamic origins, it was shunned by Christians in the West. They were suspicious of its effects and considered it a pagan drink. It wasn’t until 700 years after its discovery, when the drink began to pick up in popularity, that the issue was brought up to then Pope Clement VIII. Catholic devouts were hoping their leader would denounce the drink immediately but, to their surprise, the Pope took a “don’t knock it until you try it” approach and decided to take a sip before completely banning the so-called devil’s drink. His verdict? Coffee was here to stay. But to convince his followers that coffee would not make it easier for a demon to possess them, the Pope actually baptized coffee beans in order to officially pronounce them Satan-free. And since, it’s been a coffee free for all in the West. The first coffee houses in the world appeared during the 15th Century in the Arabian Peninsula and they were called “qahveh khaneh”. Coffee houses were a place where people would gather to play games, listen to music or even have heated political debates. At the same time, as coffee grew in popularity among Europeans during the 1600s, so did the appearance of coffee houses there. But unlike taverns or bars which were the place where men would gather to discuss politics and daily conundrums, coffee houses were considered a space for intellectuals. In Britain, coffee houses were called “penny universities” because for a penny you could get a cup of coffee and engage in cerebral conversations with businessmen and scholars fraternizing at the shop. But early coffee houses weren’t open to everyone. The British and French banned women from entering their premises, only the Germans saw no problem with ladies and gentlemen taking part in discussions together. But it wasn’t just about intellectual conversations, many people at the time believed that coffee was a very potent remedy for, well, everything apparently. Take a look at this coffee ad from 1652. It claims coffee can treat “headaches, the cough of the lungs, dropsy, gout, and scurvy.” Oh, and apparently it also helped “prevent miscarriages in childbearing women.” Some beverage this was. By the 18th Century, coffee had become THE drink in every country it had been introduced to but people still couldn’t get enough of the drink. In 1901, a Japanese-American chemist called Satori Kato created the first version of instant coffee, he even patented his invention in 1903 but his creation didn’t really catch on. The mass production of instant coffee is attributed to George Washington, a Belgian inventor who owned production facilities in Brooklyn, New York. His product was called “Red E Coffee.” Instant coffee played a starring role right at the end of the First World War. In 1918, the U.S. military was buying 37,000 pounds of coffee per day. And on occasions where soldiers had no access to water, they would just pour the instant coffee packet into their mouths and munch on the caffeine powder for energy. Americano coffee was born in the Second World War when Americans stationed in Italy became homesick for the way they had their cup of Joe. See, Italians had two ways of consuming java at the time, espresso or cappuccino. Both of these options were too thick and bitter for American GIs, who were used to drip coffee. So Italian coffee shops, in solidarity with the coffee thirsty Americans, began selling their espressos with a cup of hot water for them to dilute the espresso shot. Eventually, they began mixing water with the espresso for the G.I.s and began calling the drink an Americano. Today, coffee continues to reign supreme. The global coffee industry earns an estimated $60 billion annually and Starbucks alone has 29,865 shops quenching the coffee-thirst of 78 markets around the world. No matter where we are from, we can all agree that a good cup of coffee can make our day. And you? How do you like your coffee? Thanks for watching Explore Mode, if you liked this video hit the thumbs up button. If you want to explore even more with us, check out the video we made on Navajo Code Talkers. Before you leave, make sure to hit the subscribe and bell button so you get a notification whenever we upload a new episode. See you next week, and in the meantime, keep your explore mode on.