History of Coffee

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” Cassandra Clare

History of Coffee

It could be said that coffee has replaced tea as the hot drink of choice in the UK. It is a drink that can wake you up or pick you up and is enjoyed more and more.

For many, coffee is much more than just a drink; meeting up for a coffee has become a social occasion. Coffee shops are springing up in every city, town and village in Britain is testament to how important the consumption of coffee has become in everyday life.

In these days of skinny lattes, frappuccinos and double strength espressos, it is sometimes hard to imagine that just a couple of decades ago coffee shops were virtually unheard of in the UK. The impact of 1990s and a demand for better coffee led to an increased public interest in the concept and soon chains such as Starbucks and Costa were springing up across the country.

Today’s coffee lovers can take their pick from any number of different blends, roasts, strengths and flavours. Not so long ago, options were more limited. That is not to say that coffee hasn’t long been enjoyed in the UK, but the sheer choice and variety that we now take for granted is a relatively modern phenomenon.

To understand our modern thirst for coffee, we need to look back into history and the discovery of the coffee bean itself. Exactly who, when and where coffee was discovered, remains unclear and there are myths and legends surrounding the history of the bean.

The most popular of these stories suggests an Ethiopian shepherd was surprised at the effect chewing coffee berries had on his Goats. They became livelier and more active afterwards.  He sought to find a way of enjoying these energy-giving properties himself. Whether or not this is true is unlikely, but what is clear is that the history of coffee dates back to at least the 15th Century and does probably appear first in Ethiopia.

The first coffee trees seem to have been found in a province known as Kaffa, in the Horn of Africa. The coffee ‘berry’ is thought to have been chewed by native Africans long before being officially ‘discovered’. The slave trade saw the berries travelling from Africa to Yemen and Arabia, via such ports as Mocha – now a name synonymous with a rich mix of coffee and chocolate.

The first recorded evidence of coffee being roasted and consumed  dates back to the mid-15th Century, where it was brewed in Yemen’s Sufi monasteries. Traders from Yemen began to cultivate the bean and it is thought that the world’s first coffee house was opened in Istanbul in the mid 1500s.

The stimulating brew was not entirely popular at first.  Orthodox religious leaders in the Middle East banned the drinking of coffee in 1511, although these bans were overturned by 1524, a similar ban was introduced in Egypt in 1932, where religious leaders closed coffee shops and sacked the workers. It was not until the 19th Century that Egyptian religious leaders relaxed their attitudes towards the drink, by which time drinking coffee had become common throughout  much of the world.

Back at the turn of the 16th Century, coffee had spread to other countries in the Middle East as well as to countries such as Turkey and Morocco, the coffee tree began to be planted even further from its African home, first in Italy and then across wider Europe and into  Asia and the Americas.

The Dutch word for coffee (Koffie) was first used in English towards the end of the 16th Century. By 1675 there were more than 30,000 coffee houses in the UK, although these would have had little resemblance to the modern US-style coffee lounges we know today. Oddly, women were not allowed to enter many of England’s coffee houses, while the men gathered there in much the same way as they might gather in public houses.

Coffee beans were introduced to the Americas with great success and Brazil remains the world’s largest coffee producer today. Coffee remains a major export for many of the world’s poorest nations and the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance movement have done much to improve conditions for the communities and landscape where the cultivation of the coffee beans take place.

Hanes Coffi

Hanes Coffi

Gellid dweud bod coffi wedi disodli te fel hoff ddiod boeth y Deyrnas Unedig.  Mae’n ddiod sy’n gallu eich deffro chi neu eich adfywio chi, ac mae’n cael ei fwynhau’n gynyddol.

Ym marn llawer, mae coffi yn llawer mwy na dim ond diod; mae cyfarfod am goffi wedi dod yn achlysur cymdeithasol.  Mae’r ffaith bod siopau coffi yn agor yn aml ym mhob dinas, tref a phentref ym Mhrydain yn dangos lle mor flaenllaw y mae yfed coffi yn ei gael ym mywyd bob dydd pobl.

Yn yr oes sydd ohoni, gyda bri ar latte tenau, frappuccino ac espresso dwbl, mae hi weithiau’n anodd dychmygu nad oedd y fath beth â siopau coffi yn y rhan fwyaf o’r Deyrnas Unedig rhyw ddegawd neu ddwy yn ôl.  Fe wnaeth effaith y 1990au a galw am goffi gwell arwain at gynnydd yn niddordeb y cyhoedd yn y cysyniad, ac yn fuan roedd cadwynau fel Starbucks a Costa yn agor canghennau ledled y wlad.

Gall hoffwyr coffi heddiw ddewis o blith amrywiaeth eang o goffi wedi’i gyfuno neu ei rostio mewn ffyrdd gwahanol, a phob math o gryfderau a blasau. Yn gymharol ddiweddar, roedd y dewis yn llawer llai.  Nid yw hynny’n golygu na fu galw am fathau arbennig o goffi yn y Deyrnas Unedig tan yn ddiweddar, ond mae lefel y dewis a’r amrywiaeth sy’n gyffredin erbyn hyn yn ffenomen gymharol fodern.

Er mwyn deall ein hawch modern am goffi, mae angen i ni droi’n ôl at hanes a darganfyddiad ffa coffi. Mae’n parhau’n annelwig pwy, pryd a ble y darganfuwyd coffi, ac mae mythau a chwedlau ynghylch ei hanes.

Mae’r stori fwyaf poblogaidd yn awgrymu bod bugail o Ethiopia wedi synnu pan welodd yr effaith a fu ar Eifr a gnôdd yr aeron coffi.  Roedden nhw’n fwy sionc a bywiog yn dilyn hynny.  Ceisiodd ganfod ffordd o fwynhau’r rhinweddau adfywiol hyn ei hun. Mae’n annhebyg bod hyn yn wir, ond mae’n amlwg bod hanes coffi yn mynd yn ôl i’r 15 ganrif o leiaf, ac mae’n debygol ei fod yn ymddangos gyntaf yn Ethiopia.

Mae’n ymddangos bod y coed coffi cyntaf wedi cael eu canfod mewn talaith o’r enw Kaffa yng Nghorn Affrica.  Credir bod yr ‘aeron’ coffi wedi arfer cael eu cnoi gan Affricaniaid brodorol ymhell cyn iddyn nhw gael eu ‘darganfod’ yn swyddogol.  I ganlyn y fasnach mewn caethweision, aeth yr aeron o Affrica i Yemen ac Arabia, drwy borthladdoedd fel Mocha – sydd erbyn hyn yn enw enwog ar gymysgedd cyfoethog o goffi a siocled.

Mae’r dystiolaeth gyntaf o goffi’n cael ei rostio a’i yfed yn dyddio’n ôl i ganol y 15 ganrif, lle cafodd ei fragu ym mynachdai Sufi yn Yemen. Dechreuodd masnachwyr o Yemen amaethu’r ffa, a chredir bod tŷ coffi cyntaf y byd wedi agor yn Istanbul yng nghanol y 1500au.

Nid oedd y ddiod ysgogol yn boblogaidd gan bawb i ddechrau.  Gwaharddodd arweinwyr crefyddol Uniongred y Dwyrain Canol yr arfer o yfed coffi yn 1511, er bod y gwaharddiadau hynny wedi cael eu dileu erbyn 1524.  Cyflwynwyd gwaharddiad tebyg yn yr Aifft yn 1932, lle caewyd siopau coffi gan arweinwyr crefyddol, gan ddiswyddo’r gweithwyr.  Nid tan y 19 ganrif y newidiodd arweinwyr crefyddol yr Aifft eu safiad ar y ddiod, ac erbyn hynny, roedd yfed coffi wedi dod yn arfer cyffredin ledled y rhan fwyaf o’r byd.

Ar droad y 16 ganrif, dechreuodd coffi ledaenu i wledydd eraill yn y Dwyrain Canol, yn ogystal â gwledydd fel Twrci a Moroco.  Dechreuwyd plannu coed coffi hyd yn oed ymhellach o’i gynefin yn Affrica – yn yr Eidal yn gyntaf, ac yna mewn mannau eraill yn Ewrop, Asia a’r America.

Defnyddiwyd y gair Iseldireg am goffi (Koffie) yn y Saesneg tua diwedd y 16 ganrif, a cheir y cyfeiriad cyntaf at goffi yn y Gymraeg tua’r un adeg, yn ôl Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru.  Erbyn 1675 roedd dros 30,000 o dai coffi yn y Deyrnas Unedig, er y byddai’r rheiny’n dra gwahanol i’r lolfeydd coffi Americanaidd modern sy’n gyfarwydd i ni.  Yn rhyfedd, nid oedd croeso i ferched yn nifer o dai coffi Lloegr, tra bod dynion yn ymgasglu yno yn debyg i’r modd y bydden nhw’n mynd i dafarndai.

Cyflwynwyd ffa coffi yn America gyda llwyddiant ysgubol, a Brasil yw’r cynhyrchwr mwyaf o goffi erbyn heddiw. Mae coffi’n parhau i fod yn gynnyrch allforio pwysig i nifer o wledydd tlotaf y byd, ac mae mudiadau Masnach Deg a Chynghrair y Fforestydd Glaw wedi gwneud llawer i wella amodau i’r cymunedau a’r tirwedd lle amaethir ffa coffi.