Coffee was discovered by the Muslims sometimes around the 10th century. It was first used and cultivated in Yemen. Instead of eating the beans, the Yemenis boiled them creating the famous drink of Al-Qahwa. There is also consensus that the first users of coffee were the Sufis who used it as a stimulus to stay awake during late night Thikr (remembrance of God). Coffee spread to the rest of Muslims of Yemen and eventually to all the Muslim world through travellers, pilgrims and traders. It reached Makkah and Turkey sometime in the late 15th century and Cairo in the16th century
Coffee in Italy:
Historic sources indicate that coffee arrived in Europe through Italian links. The active trade between Venice and North Africa, Egypt and the East transported Muslim goods including coffee to this leading European port. After discovering the taste of coffee, Venetian merchants were convinced of its commercial potential and subsequently embarked on its importation since 1570. As with any new custom, the rich were the first to indulge in this beverage. At a later stage, coffee was sold in the markets of Venice; eventually becoming widely available for the general public. The first Coffeehouses of Venice opened in 1645. By 1763 Venice had no less than 218 coffee outlets. Eventually, coffee became the object of trade between Venice and Amalfi, Turin, Genoa, Milan, Florence and Rome, from where it was transmitted to the rest of Europe.
Coffee in England:
The first coffee-house that appeared in England has been put to 1650 when a businessman named Jacob opened a house at the Angel in the Parish of St. Peter, East Oxford. According to Darby the introduction of coffee was made through Turkish connections. He reported that a certain Turkish merchant named Pasqua Rosee first brought it. He was the first to sell coffee in a coffeehouse in George-yard, Lombard-Street and London. Later, in 1658 another cafÃ© under the name `Sultaness Head’ was opened in Cornhill. By 1700, there were about 500 coffeehouses in London.
Coffee in France:
Galland traced the first introduction of coffee into France back to 1644. This is the year when some French men from Marseilles brought back from Istanbul, not only some coffee, but also the proper vessels and apparatus for making and drinking it. In 1671, the first coffeehouse was opened in Marseilles in the Exchange District, spreading later to the rest of France.
Coffee in the rest of Europe:
After Italy, England and France, the rest of Europe followed suit and embraced this new beverage. In Germany, for example, after the defeat of the Turkish Army besieging Vienna in 1683, it left behind sacks of coffee beans. The European armies defending the city, which included German and Polish as well as many other European volunteers, claimed this bounty and took it to their home land. However, the first coffeehouse to appear in Berlin was dated back to around 1720.
The Dutch obtained the seeds from parts of Muslim south East Asia and managed to set up large plantations of coffee in their colony of Java in Indonesia. From Java, they directed a successful business, as they became importers and distributors of coffee beans in Europe.
Coffee in the Americas:
The introduction of coffee to the Americas is attributed to France through its colonisation of many parts of the continent, starting with the Martinique and the colonies of the West Indies where first French coffee plantations were founded.
From Turkish Coffee to Cappuccino and Croissant:
The consumption of Coffee in Europe was largely based on the traditional Muslim preparation of the drink. This consisted of boiling the mixture of coffee powder, sugar and water. However, since 1683 a new way of preparing and drinking coffee was invented. The Cappuccino coffee was inspired by a certain Marco d’Aviano, a priest from the Capuchin monastic order, who was fighting against the Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Following the victory of the Europeans, the Viennese made coffee from the abandoned sacks of Turkish coffee. Finding it too strong for their taste, they mixed it with cream and honey. This made the colour of coffee turn brown resembling the colour of the Capuchins’ robes.
he Viennese named it Cappuccino in honour of the Marco D’Aviano’s order. Since then Cappuccino have been drunk for its enjoyable taste as well as a symbolic celebration of the European victory against the Ottomans.
Another symbolic item associated with coffee is the famous Croissant cake, often taken at breakfast. Chew reported the legend behind the invention of this widely consumed pastry, which goes back to 1686. Hungarian bakers made a cake in the shape of a crescent, as an Islamic, to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman army.
This article demonstrates that the influence of Muslims on Europe extended beyond science, technology, art and architecture. It affected traditions of eating and drinking. The story of how Europeans discovered coffee and cappuccino is but one example of man