The history of coffee is fascinating and full of many legends. The origin of its name is uncertain: according to some, it comes from the Kaffa plateaus in Ethiopia, which surface is covered by the Coffea plant; others think that the term coffee comes from the Turkish Kahve, which in turn derives from the Arab Qahwa, meaning drink obtained from plants. Certain is that we find many references to coffee already in ancient times. It is for example mentioned in the First Book of Kings in the Bible. Indeed, David brings “some roasted grains”, that is coffee beans as conciliation gift. Even Mohammed experienced the benefits of the drink, when suddenly affected by sleeping sickness: thanks to the black potion sent to him by Allah by means of Archangel Gabriel, he regained strength and health, and managed to “unseat forty knights and please as many women”.
Starting from the 14th century, the first scientific testimonies on therapeutic features start. Avicenna, great Arab doctor, prescribes it for example as a medicament. From the 16th century, big quantities start to be exported into the Western world, but due to high demand and tax charges weighing on prices, coffee is also relocated to other parts of the world: The Dutch farm it in Java, the French in Martinique and the Antilles, English, Spanish and Portuguese in Africa, Asia and America. Finally, diffusion of coffee in India happens through a pilgrim, who visited the Mecca and smuggled seven seeds from there.