The Growing Coffee Culture in the Unite States

We are going to tell you one of the greatest stories ever told… the story of coffee.   We begin our journey in the Horn of Africa. Coffee is fabled to have emerged from the Ethiopian Kaffa province.  Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd was astonished at the liveliness of her goats after they had grazed on red coffee cherries. History tell another story. Slaves captured in the area that is now Sudan and shipped to Yemen and Arabia through the then major port, Moka (now synonymous with coffee), ate the succulent flesh of these cherries. It is certain that coffee was grown in Yemen as early as the 15th century and probably much earlier.

At the time, Moka was also the main port of embarkation for the crossing to Mecca and was one of the liveliest cities in the world. The Yemeni authorities encouraged the consumption of coffee, which was considered preferable to that of qat, a shrub whose buds and leaves are chewed for their stimulating properties. The first cafes were opened in Mecca and were called "Kaveh Kanes." They quickly spread to the Arab world to become popular places where chess and backgammon were played, gossip was exchanged, songs were sung, and music was played and danced. Each establishment was sumptuously decorated and had its own unique character. Nothing like it had existed before: a place where you could do business or meet in a comfortable environment and everyone could go for the price of a coffee.

Arab cafes soon became centers of political activity and were banned. Coffee was banned several times in the following decades, but still reappeared. A better solution was found: coffee was taxed.

The usefulness of coffee in the global economy cannot be underestimated. It is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world, ranking for many years immediately after oil as a source of foreign exchange for developing countries. Its culture, processing, trade, transportation, and marketing employ millions of people around the world. The economies and policies of many developing countries depend on coffee.


The first mention of coffee consumption in North America dates back to 1668 and, soon after, cafes opened in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities. The 1773 Boston tea party was planned in a café, the Green Dragon. The New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York began their activities in cafes, in what is now called Wall Street.

It was in the 1720s that coffee was grown in the Americas for the first time. It is a surprisingly heroic tale:

Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu was a French naval officer stationed in Martinique. In 1720,  he returned on leave to Paris. He bought a coffee tree from France which he took with him when he returned back to his naval base. The tree was kept on deck in a glass cage. According to the logbook of Mr. Mathieu de Clieu, the trip was full of peril. Pirates of Tunis threatened the ship. It was soon  hit by a strong storm and the coffee tree needed to be tied to the deck.  It that was not enough, a jealous enemy tried to sabotage the small tree. After a violent fight, a branch was torn off, but the tree survived the attack.

Finally, the ship arrived in Martinique, and the coffee tree was planted at Preebear, surrounded by a hedge of thorns and watched over by guards. Over the next few years it grew and multiplied, and in 1726 the first harvest was ready. According to the records, in 1777 more than 18 million coffee trees were growing  in Martinique.  Coffee became the new commercial culture for the New World.

The Dutch are credited with spreading coffee through Central and South America. Coffee first arrived in the Dutch colony of Suriname in 1718.  It spread from Suriname to French Guiana and then to Para in Brazil. In 1730, the British introduced coffee to Jamaica, where it was planted in a picturesque  area called the Blue Mountains. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is considered some of the finest in the world. In 1825, coffee was introduced to Hawaii, which now produces one of the best coffees in the world and the only one grown in the United States.

From the 20s to the 60s

Coffee imports into the United States started to expand in the early 20th century. Annual coffee consumption was 11 pounds (about 5.5 kg) per person per year. It reached a new peak after the Second World War in 1946 with a national consumption of 20 pounds (about 10 kg) per person per year.  Gradually, coffee lost its popularity to the many other drink choices that  appeared on the market (sodas in particular).

Coffee in the 1990s

In the 1990s coffee was enjoyed mostly at home.  A  small cafe (which has since become the coffee giant Starbucks) took a gamble on the idea of coffee-on-the-go.  Starbucks also contributed to the adoption of flavored coffee drinks by the general public.

Coffee Today

From its humble beginnings, coffee has become an essential aspect of everyday life in the US  A survey conducted in June 2012 found that 76% of consumers had bought coffee in the month before the survey, mostly ground coffee (53%), but also instant coffee (21%), coffee ready to drink, drinking (20%), coffee in pods (17%) and coffee beans (17%).

With a market share of 16.8%, coffee pods are the second most popular option for Americans to drink their daily coffee. The market share of roasted coffee, instant coffee, and ready-to-drink coffee is expected to decline in favor of coffee pods. Coffee pods were expected to account for 20% of the US coffee market in 2018.

Today, over 60% of Americans drink coffee everyday - which works out to more than 146 Billion cups a coffee a year.  American coffee lovers have embraced the bold and delicious flavors from exoctic locations.  Cafe Joe offers a wide array of amazing coffee to fill the hearts and cups of American coffee lovers: Cuban espresso, dark roast coffee, whole bean coffee, Colombia dark roast coffee, Costa Rica Dark Roast coffee, French Press, Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules along its variety packs to mention only a few.

The United States has become the largest consumer of coffee in the world and Seattle is the new capital of coffee. A city known for its rainy weather, Seattle gave birth to the new American coffee culture or "latte" culture that swept the United States and helped improve the quality of coffee in the country.

Quality coffee is readily available anywhere in the United States.  As the US coffee culture continues to evolve, it has been embraced in other parts of the world. The newest techniques and machines enjoyed in the US are popping up in countries with long established coffee traditions such as Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia. As coffee continues to spread from nation to nation, it is possible to find excellent coffee in all major cities of the world.  With each passing day the world will drink more coffee and the quality of the coffee will continue to improve.

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