The Coffee Route from Yemen to London 10th-17th Centuries (Continued)
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4. The Transfer of Coffee to Europe
Through various channels of contact, Muslims inside and outside Europe played a major role in transferring new ideas, customs, foods, arts, various sciences and technologies. Most people in the US, Britain and Europe would associate the influence of Muslim cuisine with curry and donner kebab, as being meals introduced by the new immigrants. Very few would know of the Muslim origin of coffee and cappuccino. The story of the transfer of the tradition of coffee as a beverage, to Europe is just one example.
Figure 7a-b: Early 20th-century photos of coffee from Palestine: (a) A coffee-house in Palestine around 1900; (b) The traditional mode of grinding coffee in Palestine around 1905. (Source).
4.1. Coffee in Italy
Historical 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 after 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 coffee-houses 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.
Another source of transmission was the writing of travellers and diplomatic missions to the Muslim world. An example of the latter is Gian Francesco Morosini, an ambassador of the Venetian Republic to the Ottoman Sultan, in 1582. In a report from Istanbul, he described how in the East (Turkey) there were some business premises where the public used to meet several times a day over a dark hot beverage. Another source revealed that Paduan Prospero Alpino, a famous Italian botanist and physician, brought with him some sacks of coffee from the East (mostly from Egypt) and in his History of the Egyptian Plants, published at Venice in 1591, described the coffee tree and its fruit which he saw in the garden of a captain of the Janissaries .
Like many items imported from the Muslim world, coffee was initially rejected by the religious establishment. Pope Clement VIII (1536-1605) was urged to ban its consumption. The story is told that after tasting it, the Pope approved and blessed it . This approval gave the green light for the consumption of the beverage, opening the door for coffee to reach all European houses.
4. 2. Coffee in England
The English interest in coffee (as well as Turkish baths and flowers) took hold in the 17th century, when the West was fascinated with the prosperous Turkish lifestyle. The coffee beans came from Mokah on the Red Sea (Yemen) imported by the East India Company and from Aleppo by the Levant Company. Its early association with England was in medical use; a two-page pamphlet by "An Arabian Physician" (Dr Edward Pococke) appeared in Oxford in 1659 .
The first coffee-house in England has been dated to 1650, although drinking coffee started a few years earlier. Burn  reported that an Oxford student named Nathaniel Conopius was the first to make the coffee drink for his own use while staying in Oxford. He is known to have left Oxford University in 1648. In relation to the establishment of the first coffee-house, Burn also connected it to Oxford, with a Jewish businessman named Jacob opening the first house in 1650, at the Angel in the Parish of St. Peter, East Oxford.
According to Darby , the introduction of coffee was through a Turkish route. He reported that a certain Turkish merchant named Pasqua Rosee first brought it. This must have been before 1650, the date when a café named Pasqua Rosee's Head, after the Turkish merchant, was opened in St Michael's Alley, Cornhill and London. However, Ellis  put it after 1652, as he provided a detailed account about Mr. Pasquae Rosee. He was a Greek servant of a certain Mr. Edwards, a Turkish merchant who brought him to London. Mr Pasquae knew how to roast and make coffee the Turkish way. He was the first to sell coffee in a coffee-house in George-yard, Lombard-Street. Later, in 1658 another café under the name "Sultaness Head" was opened in Cornhill; and by 1700 there were about 500 coffee-houses in London .
Coffee-houses gained notorious popularity in Britain in the period between the 17th and 18th century. This popularity can be seen in the voluminous works of literature, dealing with the subject. From these remarkable works one can conclude that coffee-houses were used as a leisure venue usually associated with reading newspapers, playing games, smoking tobacco, as well as drinking tea and coffee. They were also venues for political and social debates of the hot topics of the day . Because of this latter function, the houses were first required to be licensed by a 1663 regulation. Later, in 1675, a proclamation described them as "seminaries of sedition" and ordered their closure, only to be allowed to re-open a few days later .
Coffee-houses were dubbed "penny universities" describing the social view of these premises as centres of knowledge, a sign that they were frequented by students, scholars, artists and people of talent. The penny referred to the price of a cup of coffee .
Another feature associated with English coffee-houses is the spread of the use of Muslim inspired signs, usually depicting a head of a Muslim person, posted outside the premises to attract customers. Portraits and names such as The Saracen's Head, The Sultan's Head or The Turks Head  decorated most English streets showing the British fascination with Muslims.
Related to this feature illustrating such a wide appreciation is the issuing of tokens, which spread particularly in the 17th century. Tokens were issued by businesses to counter the lack of small denomination currency. Even though they did not emerge only for promotional purposes, they were related to it. Tokens were prints representing the sign (logo) of the coffee-house or tavern depicting the portrait of the Muslim figure or name. These tokens were sold to loyal customers who collected them. A few of these signs still decorate the façade of some British taverns and inns.
4.3. Coffee in France
Antoine Galland, in his 1699 book De l'origine et du progrez du café , accepted the Muslim association with coffee, tea and chocolate. He reported that Monsieur de la Croix, the interpreter of King Louis XIV, had informed him that a certain Mr. Thévenot, who had travelled through the East, brought coffee to Paris. On returning to that city in 1657, Thévenot had used the beans he had brought for his own consumption and had shared coffee with his friends, amongst them Monsieur de la Croix. La Croix confirmed that since then he had continued to drink it buying mainly from Armenian merchants who settled in Paris, and by degrees established its popularity in that city. However the real boost to the spread of the beverage in Paris came after 1669. In that year Paris received Suleiman Agha, the Ambassador of Sultan Muhammed IV, who, with his entourage, brought along a considerable quantity of coffee beans. They not only treated their French and European guests to the coffee drink, but also gifted some beans to the royal court. During his stay (July 1669 to May 1670), the Ambassador firmly established the coffee drinking habit among the Parisians. Two years later, an Armenian named Pafeal, set up the first coffee-house in Paris, but without success. Other Armenians and some Persians tried their luck but without much success either. Finally, some Frenchmen opened spacious and elegant premises ornamented with lustre works, tapestry, glass and beautiful decor, selling coffee, with tea, chocolate, and other refreshments. They attracted from among the Parisians wealthy merchants, people of fashion and men of letters, and soon the number of coffee-houses in Paris alone exceeded three hundred.
Figure 10: The cappuccino coffee is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. It is said that the cappuccino was invented by mixing Turkish coffee, left in Vienna by the defeated Turkish army, with cream and honey.
Galland traced the first introduction of coffee into France back to 1644, the year when some Frenchmen from Marseilles, who had accompanied Monsieur de la Haye to Constantinople, brought back with them not only some coffee, but also the proper vessels and apparatus for making and drinking it. In 1671, the first coffee-house was opened in Marseilles in the Exchange District. The coffee-house was a success, becoming crowded particularly by Turkey's merchants and traders to the Levant who found it very convenient for discussing and settling matters relating to commerce. This success encouraged the appearance of other coffee-houses in Marseilles, spreading later through the whole of France.
4.4. Coffee in the rest of Europe
After Italy, France and England, the rest of Europe followed suit and embraced this new beverage. In Germany, for example, sources indicate that Leonhard Rauwolf, a German physician and botanist who visited the Levant in 1573, was among the first Europeans to mention coffee in his book published in 1582 . Rauwolf noted coffee in Ottoman Aleppo, and he called it chaube; he was closely followed by descriptions from other European travellers. In relation to Vienna, historic sources provide an account related to the military conflicts between Austria and the Ottomans. 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 armies as well as many other European volunteers, claimed this bounty and took it to their home land. However the first coffee-house to appear in Berlin was dated back to around 1720.
Figure 11: A Kipferl, the precursor to the croissant, a small wheat twirl-bread with poppy-seed. It is said that the croissant was invented to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman army in Vienna.
The Dutch managed to set up large plantations of coffee in their colony of Java in Indonesia. Although it is not known from where they obtained the seeds one can expect it to have been from any part of Muslim southeast Asia, and probably India. From Java, the Dutch directed a successful business, as they became importers and distributors of coffee beans to Europe. It is reported that the spread of coffee planting is attributed to the Dutch. They gave King Louis XIV of France a coffee tree for his Paris Royal Botanical Gardens, the Jardin des Plantes. However, such a suggestion needs to be treated cautiously as King Louis XIV also received gifts of coffee from the Turkish Ambassador, as mentioned above.
4.5. 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 Martinique and the colonies of the West Indies where the first French coffee plantations were founded.
Gabriel de Clieu brought coffee seedlings to Martinique in the Caribbean circa 1720. Those flourished and 50 years later there were 18,680 coffee trees in Martinique enabling the spread of coffee cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other islands of the Caribbean Sea. The territory of San Domingo saw coffee cultivated from 1734, and by 1788 it supplied half the world's coffee. The French colonial plantations relied heavily on African slave labourers. However, the dreadful working conditions of the slaves on coffee plantations were a factor in the soon to follow Haitian Revolution. The coffee industry there never fully recovered .
Coffee also found its way to the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The plant produced smaller beans and was deemed a different variety of Arabica known as Bourbon. The Santos coffee of Brazil and the Oaxaca coffee of Mexico are the progeny of that Bourbon tree. Around 1727, the Emperor of Brazil sent Francisco de Mello Palheta to French Guinea to obtain coffee seeds with which to start the cultivation. Francisco initially had difficulty obtaining the seeds but he captivated the French Governor's wife and she in turn, sent him enough seeds and shoots to start the coffee industry of Brazil. In 1893, coffee from Brazil was introduced into Kenya and Tanzania, not far from its place of origin in Ethiopia, 600 years before, thus ending its transcontinental journey .
Figure 12: Coffe Baum relief over the door of a Leipzig coffee shop showing a sculptural representation of a man dressed in Turkish-style clothing receiving a cup of coffee from a boy. The man is sitting in front of a coffee tree. Café und Museum "Zum arabischen Coffe Baum", Leipzig, Relief über dem Eingang. Photo taken in December 2007 by Andreas Praefcke. (Source).
Although coffee had been introduced to Brazil around 1727, its cultivation did not gather momentum until the country achieved independence in 1822 . After this time, massive tracts of rainforest were cleared for coffee plantations, first from the vicinity of Rio and later São Paulo .
Cultivation was taken up by many countries in Central America in the latter half of the 19th century, and almost all involved the large-scale displacement and exploitation of the indigenous Indian people. Harsh conditions led to many uprisings, coups and bloody suppression of peasants . The notable exception was Costa Rica, where lack of ready labour prevented the formation of large farms. Smaller farms and more egalitarian conditions ameliorated unrest during the 19th and 20th centuries .
5. From Turkish Coffee to Cappuccino and Croissant
The consumption of coffee in Europe was largely based on the traditional Muslim method of preparation of the drink. This consisted of boiling the mixture of roasted coffee powder, sugar and water. However, in 1683 a new way of preparing and drinking coffee was invented. The name "cappuccino" comes from the religious community of the Capuchin friars, possibly referring to the colour of their habits or to the aspect of their tonsured (white) heads, surrounded by a ring of brown hair. The Cappuccino coffee was inspired by a certain Marco d'Aviano, a priest from the Capuchin monastic order, who was sent to rally Catholics and Protestants against the Turks on the eve of the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The legend relates that 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 coffee turn brown resembling the colour of the Capuchins' robes. The Viennese named it cappuccino in honour of Marco d'Aviano's order. Since then, Cappuccino has been drunk for its enjoyable taste, though originally was also drunk to celebrate the European victory over the Ottomans.
Another symbolic item associated with coffee is the Croissant pastry, often eaten at breakfast. Popular culture has it that its invention goes back to 1686. Hungarian bakers made a cake in the shape of a crescent, referring to the crescents on the Turkish flags, to celebrate and later commemorate the defeat of the Ottoman army. This version of the origin of the croissant is supported by the fact that croissants in French are referred to as Viennoiserie, and the French popular belief that the Vienna-born Marie Antoinette introduced the pastry to France in 1770 .
Figure 13a-c: Front covers of three recent books on the history of coffee and its social use: (a) Coffee and Coffeehouses by Ralph S. Hattox (University of Washington Press, 2000); (b) Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast (Basic Books, 2000); and (c) Coffee and Coffee Houses by Ulla Heise (Schiffer Publishing, 1997).
It was shown in the long historical account that brought us from the 10th century to the 18th, from Yemen to the heart of major European cities, that the influence of Muslim civilisation extended beyond science, technology, art and architecture to European traditions of eating and drinking. The story of how coffee (and cappuccino) and coffee-houses came to Italy, France, England and the rest of Europe is but one example of many. The history of coffee and the intricacies of its social and cultural background is an informative model for cross cultural history between the world of Islam and its neighbours, especially the European continent.
From Eastern Africa, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible evidence for either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen, where coffee beans were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how coffee is now prepared. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. From the Muslim world, coffee then spread to Italy, and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.
- Abd-al-Qadir ibn Muhammed al-Ansari al-Jaziri al-Hanbali (circa 1558), ‘Umdat al-Safwa fi hill al-qahwa, 1826 edition by Sylvestre de Stacy in Chrestomathie arabe, 2nd edition, 3 vols., Paris.
- Arnold, N. and Patel, V. (1993), "Coffee is one of our favourite drinks. Find out where it is grown and how it first came to this country", The Guardian Education, September 7, 1993.
- Birsel, Salâh. (1975), Kahveler kitab. Istanbul : Koza Yayinlari, 1975 (Olaylar-belgeler-anilar ; 8).
- Burn, J.H. (1855), A Descriptive Catalogue of the London Traders, Tavern and Coffee-house Token, Arthur Taylor, London, 2nd edition.
- Chew, Samuel C. (1974), The Crescent ad the Rose, Oxford University Press, New York.
- Darby, M. (1983), The Islamic Perspective, An Aspect of British Architecture and Design in the 19th Century, Leighton House Gallery, London.
- Ellis, Aytoun (1956), The Penny Universities: A History of the Coffee-houses, Secker & Warburg, London.
- Ellis, John (1774), An Historical Account of Coffee with an Engraving, and Botanical Description of the Tree: To Which Are Added Sundry Papers Related to Its Culture and Use, as an Article of Diet and of Commerce. Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, London.
- Galland, Antoine (1699), De l'origine et du progrez du café, Édition originale par J. Cavelier, La Bibliothèque; reprint coll. L'Écrivain Voyageur, Paris, 1992.
- Hattox, R. S. (1988), Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.
- Ibn al-'Imad, ‘Abd al-Hayy ibn Ahmad, (1623-1679), Shadharat al-dhahab fi akhbar man dhahab li-'l-mu'arrikh Abi al-Fallah, Maktabat al-Quds, Cairo, 1931.
- Sweetman, J. (1987), The Oriental Obsession: Islamic inspiration in British and American Art, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (Cambridge studies in the history of art).
- Ukers, William H. (1935), All About Coffee, The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal Company, New York, 2nd edition.
- Willis, John E. Jr. (1993), "European Consumption and Asian Production," Consumption and the World of Goods, edited by John Brewer and Roy Porter, Routledge, London, pp. 133-147.
8. Further resources
- Akyazici Özkoçak, Selma, "Coffehouses: Rethinking the Public and Private in Early Modern Istanbul", Journal of Urban History, vol. 33, No. 6, 2007, pp. 965-986. [Read online here).
- Al-Arnaout, Muhammad M., Mudakhalat ‘arabiya balqaniya fi al-tarikh al-wasit wa-'l-hadith [Arabian and Balkanic connections in medieval and modern history], Damascus: Publications of the Union of Arab Writers, 2000. See chapter 2: Min al-tarikh al-thaqafi li-l-qahwa min al-Yaman ila al-Busna [About the cultural history of coffee from Yemen to Bosnia], online version here.
- Isin, Ekrem, "A Social History of Coffee and Coffeehouses," Selahattin Özpalabiyiklar (ed.), Coffee, Pleasures Hidden in A Bean, Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, 2001.
- Kafadar, Cemal, A History of Coffee, The XIIIth Congress of the International Economic History Association (IEHA), Buenos Aires, 22-26 July 2002, Session 64: "Commodities: understanding the global economy through the history of things, 1000-2000 CE" (see Introduction to session 64 by Sven Beckert and Cemal Kafadar).
- Law, William, The History of Coffee, including a chapter on chicory, London, 1850.
- Markman, Ellis, The Coffee House: A Cultural History. Orion Publishing, 2004, Hardcover.
- Milton, Ed. S., Coffee: A Cultural History from Around the World (Astonishing Facts About" Series), Astrolog Publishing House; illustrated edition edition, 2003, Paperback.
- [Turkishcofee.com], Social History of Turkish Coffee (retrieved 12.05.1020).
- Pendergrast, Mark (2001) . Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. London: Texere.
- Yasar, Ahmet Osmanli Kahvehaneleri: Mekan, Sosyallesme, İktidar, İstanbul: Kitap Yayinevi, 2009.
- [Video Documentary Film], The History of Coffee (Part1); The History of Coffee (Part 2); The history of Coffee (Part 3); The History of coffee (Part 4); The History of Coffee (Part 5). [Part 2 is about the the discovery of coffee in the Muslim world and its social history).
- Weinberg, Bennett Alan; Bealer, Bonnie K., The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, Routledge, 2002.
- [Wikipedia], History of Coffee (retrieved 12.05.2010).
 See Ellis John (1774), op. cit.
 Arnold, N and Patel, V(1993) ‘Coffee is one of our favourite drinks. Find out where it is grown and how it first came to this country', The Guardian Education, September 7, 1993.
 See Samuel C. Chew (1974), The Crescent and the Rose, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 184-185.
 J.H. Burn (1855), A Descriptive Catalogue of the London Traders, Tavern, and Coffee-house Token, Arthur Taylor, London, 2nd edition, pp. 109-110.
 M. Darby (1983), The Islamic Perspective: An Aspect of British Architecture and Design in the 19th Century, Leighton House Gallery, London.
 John Ellis (1774), op.cit.
 Sweetman (1987), op. cit., p. 49.
 John E. Willis Jr. (1993), "European Consumption and Asian Production", Consumption and the World of Goods, edited by John Brewer and Roy Porter, Routledge, London, 133-147; p. 133.
 Burn (1855), op, cit. p. 109.
 Aytoun Ellis (1956), The Penny Universities: A History of the Coffee-houses, Secker & Warburg, London.
 Other examples include Sultan Solyman's Head in Aldersgate Street (London, 1666), Sultan Morat's head in Barbican (London after 1666), and Turk's Head in Chacery Lane (London 17th century). For more details, see Burn 1855, op. cit.
 Antoine Galland (1699), De l'origine et du progrez du café, Édition originale J. Cavelier Paris: La Bibliothèque, 1992 (coll. L'Écrivain Voyageur).
 W. H. Ukers, All About Coffee, op. cit., p. 2.
 Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World, Basic Books, 2000, p. 16.
 Kenneth Davids, Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying, New York, St. Martin's Press, 2001, p. 13.
 M. Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds, op. cit., p. 19.
 Ibid, pp. 20-24.
 Ibid, pp. 33-34.
 Ibid, pp. 35-36.
 Ibid, p. 10 and Simon Millar, Vienna 1683, Osprey Publishing, 2008, p. 93; quoted in [Wikipedia], Battle of Vienna.
 [Wikipedia], Croissant.
* The members of the FSTC Research Team comprises of Mohammed Abattouy, Salim Al-Hassani, Mohammed El-Gomati, Sali Shahsivari, Salim Ayduz, Savas Konur, Cem Nizamoglu, Anne-Maria Brennan, Maurice Coles, Ian Fenn, Amar Nazir and Margaret Morris.
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by: FSTC Limited, Thu 29 July, 2010