Coffee - the beginning of a success story

Whether Fred Feuerstein was allowed to enjoy coffee is not clearly documented historically, but many legends surround his discovery. According to the best-known story from the 9th century, we owe our current coffee enjoyment to shepherds from Kaffa in Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia), whose nocturnal goats deprived them of sleep. They complained to the monks of the nearby monastery about the nocturnal disturbers of the peace. The monks then found cherry-like fruits on the pastures of the animals and prepared an infusion from them in order to explore their effects.  

But no matter which legend is consulted, they all have one thing in common: they point to Ethiopia as the homeland of the coffee species Coffea Arabica. The spread to other continents thus happened only by human hand.   

medieval coffee grinder - comandante unbounde

Where does the term coffee come from?

The term coffee has its etymological origin in the Arabic terms "kahwe" or "qahwa". The term probably derives from the region of Kaffa. "qahwa" also means stimulating drink, but was also used in the meaning of wine.

The first cultivation of the coffee plant

We owe the cultivation of the coffee plant to a sheikh with the melodious name Gemaleddin Mufti of Aden. He had seeds from Abyssinia planted in Yemen in the 15th century. Via Mecca and Medina, the drink was spread throughout the Arab Empire by pilgrims. Through the Ottoman Empire, it was soon known throughout the Orient. In 1573, Leonhart Rauwolf, an apothecary from Augsburg, traveled through the Near East and was the first to bring Europeans news of the Arabian coffee ritual. The Bavarian compatriot described the new discovery in his travel report as a "good drink [...], as black as ink and especially very serviceable in stomach ailments." (translated from Early New High German). In 1616, Dutch travelers to the Orient introduced a coffee plant to Holland and still in the 17th century established coffee cultivation in Ceylon as well as in Indonesia. 

Coffee cherry unbound

The First Coffee House

The first coffee house was opened in Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 1554. Hard to imagine nowadays, but enjoying coffee was a delicate matter back then. Under Murad IV, numerous coffee houses were torn down and coffee drinkers were literally persecuted. Strangely enough, there was an enormous increase in visits to barbers during this period - their stores were in fact well-disguised coffee houses. Yes, coffee drinkers have always been inventive. 

Many other European cities followed the lead of Constantinople, and coffeehouses sprang up in Venice, London, Amsterdam and Hamburg, among other places. In 1685, Vienna also joined this list and developed its very own coffee house culture. Filter coffee and coffee with milk were served for the first time and the Kipferl found its place next to the hot drink. The coffeehouse increasingly became the center of public life.  

After coffee has gradually replaced beer soup as a breakfast drink and thus contributed significantly to less alcohol consumption, it is no longer possible to imagine our lives without it - cheers to coffee!  

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Coffee cultures: The wave spills over 

Can you - sitting on her chair and sipping coffee - spontaneously think of a country where they don't drink coffee? - Our gray cells really have to work hard for this question. The hot beverage is as firmly anchored in our contemporary culture as an earworm by DJ Ötzi. Even though there are countless variations in preparation and an immense variety of flavors, coffee is still a product that unites us all to some extent, no matter how different our cultures may be.  

By far the most coffee is consumed in the USA and Brazil. If you put the harvest volume in relation to coffee consumption, the Ethiopians are clearly ahead: they have the highest own consumption of all coffee-exporting countries and thus more than live up to their reputation as the "motherland" of coffee. And who would have thought it: Japan now imports even more coffee than Italy and France (many an Italian is now turning in his grave).  

Coffee developed in its triumphal march from a mere pick-me-up and mass product in the 19th and 20th centuries to a specialty that today fascinates coffee drinkers all over the world. The first wave of coffee consumption, in which cheap mass-produced goods caused coffee consumption to increase rapidly and brought innovations such as the filter coffee machine onto the market, was followed by a wave of more conscious coffee consumption. Consumers paid more attention to preparation and quality. Coffee house chains sprang up, led by Starbucks, which opened its first store in Seattle in 1971. Drinking coffee again became more and more of a social event and the to-go cup an expression of a hip lifestyle. The coffee bean was now given the same attention and devotion as a precious grapevine. The foundations of specialty coffee were laid during this period. 

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Each country took its own path in the development of coffee culture

In the U.S., the "American Dream" concept also took hold in terms of coffee enjoyment. The coffee classics were soon joined by sophisticated creations, with Frappuccino and Iced Latte being the most harmless newcomers. Purist coffee enjoyment tended to take a back seat, in stark contrast to the Italian trend. In the land of dolce vita, the emphasis is on tradition. A legally regulated upper limit for the price of espresso at the bar shows us the high value placed on the hot beverage - Italians wouldn't be themselves without their beloved caffè. The enjoyment of coffee is firmly anchored in the country's culture and it's hard to imagine life without it. The Italians actually owe their tradition to a clergyman, namely Pope Clement VIII. Previously demonized in the truest sense of the word ("bevanda del diavolo"), the Pope, according to the stories, removed this reproach and found coffee to be delicious. Cappuccino and latte macchiato prevailed as breakfast drinks with a dolce, or something sweet. The rest of the day, a true Italian enjoys only espresso, or caffè. So that it doesn't become monotonous, the Italians came up with variations such as the caffè macchiato (with milk foam) for the afternoon cappucchino drinkers among us, or the caffè correto (usually with grappa) with the necessary energy boost. 

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Last part of the coffee story: Third Wave

The latest development in coffee culture is known as the third wave and is currently very much in vogue. It follows the general development towards an increased awareness of quality, transparency and regionality in processing. This is where we at unbound come in with our concept. Coffee stands for itself as a product and is appreciated for its diversity. Important aspects are the "trace back to farm" seal, i.e. traceability back to the producer, as well as best taste and uniqueness.  

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