The history of coffee

28.1.2014

When the new Paulig website have now been launched, it is a good moment to walk all the way back to the history of coffee. Paulig’s history begins in year 1879 but the story of coffee goes further back to 800 bc. when Ethiopian businessmen mentioned about the raw material in their trade agreements. In the mid 1200 century the Arabs discovered that coffee beans could be roasted. The refreshing feature of coffee had been noticed already before and people extracted a beverage similar to alcohol from the raw coffee cherries.  As all the biggest coffee lovers may know, according to the well-known legend there was a man called Kaldi who worked long days as a goat herd. He noticed that after eating red cherries from a specific tree the goats got highly spirited and didn’t want to sleep at all even after a long day. When Kaldi told this to an abbot at the nearby monastery the abbot got excited an extracted a beverage from the cherries. This new potion kept him awake even after the evening prayer. It became popular among the monks. What a beverage! 

Coffee like wine has a strong social meaning, even back in history. While drinking coffee you meet friends, tell stories and exchange gossip. It has been that way all the time from the time when Arabs established coffee houses which were called “qahveh khaneh”. These coffee houses became the center of social intercourse and some even referred to them as the school of wise.

The curious Europeans also found the black gold (not oil this time) and wanted their share of the expensive raw material. The Arabs tried their best to protect the production of coffee but as known Europeans where a persistent bunch of people. The explorers got some plants in their hands and transported them to Europe in 1600 century. Coffee found its way to Venice in 1615 and even the pope Clement VIII fell in love with this energizing drink that some lover level priest tried to prohibit. The coffee got the Papal approval and was spread to the whole continent.

To the Swedish-Finnish Empire the coffee came in the end of 1600 century. The first coffee house was opened in Stockholm in year 1708. From the capital coffee was spread to the people in a scale so large that the ruling class was worried and tried to control the distribution with importing bans and high taxation. At that time coffee where bought as beans which were roasted and grinded at home. So it was over hundred years but then something interesting happened. A  German man called Gustav Paulig opened his coffee factory.