The discovery of coffee is dated back to the 11th century. It is said that the first who recognized coffee were the shepherds of Ethiopia, who noticed that their goats “danced” after they ate coffee berries. Therefore, the Ethiopians took the leaves of the coffee plant, which they called “magical fruit” and boiled them with water to create a drink that was thought of as a medication, because of its refreshing effects.
The voyage of coffee continued in the 15th century, when coffee was planted in Yemen and by the 16th century coffee was not just known in Yemen but also in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. In the 17th century, coffee came to Europe but was generally sold as medication in pharmacies.
As time passed, various coffee cultures developed. There are different kinds of coffee like the thick and strong Turkish coffee, which made it into the UNESCO Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity list. In the contrary the Argentinean Café lagrima consists of steamed milk and foam with a small drop of coffee. The differences of the coffee culture is furthermore reflected in the way coffee is consumed. Coffee shops are an important centers of discussion in the Middle East and in Japan, coffee is seen as an indulgence.
The coffee scene in Japan is young in comparison to other countries. At the end of the 18th century Japanese had the chance to try coffee for the first time. Coffee was introduced by the Dutch, but did not become popular until the end of the 19th century, when the first coffee shop opened in Tokyo in 1888. Unfortunately, the developing coffee culture slowed down during World War II.
Nonetheless, the coffee scene in Japan is growing. The mix of traditional and contemporary is fascinating and reflects Japanese lifestyle. Especially the Omotesando and Harajuku areas of Tokyo, which are famous centers for charming coffee shops in Japan. Besides the big brand coffee houses, coffee is served in the spirit and tradition of kissaten. Originally kissaten were tea rooms, but today, not just tea, but also coffee is served. The coffee is carefully prepared and aims to give the guests a moment of refreshment and rest from the outside world.
Coffee around the world is diverse. There are a variety of preferences in the types of coffee, but also in the atmosphere of coffee shops. Coffee is not just a drink, but a culture.