Today´s world is full of coffee, it is omnipresent. We see it, smell it and drink it at home, at work, on the way and to relax. The different variations of drinking and serving coffee are impossible to count, and everyone who feels attached to this brewed drink has his own habits and preferences. Coffee has a fascination on people that can hardly be compared to any other beverage.
The history of the coffee bean itself is quickly explained. Legend says, an Ethiopian goatherd noticed a certain energy on his animals after they have been eating from specific bushes. He was fascinated by the impact and started experimenting. Later on, he teamed up with a monk, and together they developed the process of drying and boiling the beans to create a beverage. That was the first cup of Coffee anyone ever had. Probably one of the worst as well, but it was a start.
Quite quickly the coffee plant made its way to conquer the world. Through the mountains of Yemen, where the first plants were seeded, the coffee plant was cultivated on all continents within a period of less than 200 years. The use and effect of caffeinated beverages made it very attractive to all kinds of people.
It was the invention of the coffeehouse, that brought the societal impact to life. The first coffeehouse were opened in the early 16th century in my family’s hometown, Damascus, in the Ottoman Empire, followed by other coffee houses in Cairo, Aleppo and Istanbul. They became a place of gathering and joy after hard days of work, as well as a place for political engagement exchanging news. For the leaders of the ottoman empire, this was an explosive mixture, as it was people from all kinds of societal background who met in these coffee places and started bundling their engagement. Suddenly, the phrase of “having a cup of coffee” got a subliminal meaning and described a certain political and social attitude.
Shortly after, in the 17th century coffeehouse made their way into Europe. After the first opening in Venice and Oxford, London became the capital of coffeehouses quite quickly. Same as in the major Ottoman Cities, the London Coffeehouses became gathering places for public debates. This social importance of coffee places led the foundation for today´s appearance of cafés all over the world and also Lulu’s Coffee when we started. We acknowledge that coffee houses are a fundamental part of every city worldwide. Though every place has its own unique history they all share common characteristics. Coffeehouses are attached to a people’s lifestyle. They are place of retreat and relaxed atmosphere. They offer the perfect spot for working and having chats and elaborate discussions. It is not for nothing, that the term Coffee Break is commonly known and brings relief whenever you hear.
The Ethiopian farmer? He has given name to the biggest Coffee Chain in Ethiopia: Kaldi´s Coffee.