A Whirlwind Tour of Coffee Throughout History

Coffee is one of the beverages that we drink on a daily basis, but have you ever stopped for a little bit to think how coffee came to be and what made it so popular to begin with? One thing to note about coffee is the fact that the most recent writings about it seem to place its origins at some point in the 10h century.

According to the mythos, it seems that the origins of coffee seem to come from Ethiopia, where a sheep herder lost a few sheep during one day. While trying to recover them from the wilderness he encountered a coffee tree and that’s when he wanted to try it out. From here onward people started to eat the coffee beans instead of grinding them, it’s only a few years later when people actually began grinding coffee and as you can expect this was a major breakthrough (although it required some clean up, which wasn’t a problem before).

Coffee soon started to cover a lot more than Ethiopia and that’s when it spread to the neighboring regions in Africa, with the Middle East being soon to follow. At first, the monasteries in Yemen started to be very interested in the properties that coffee had for meditation but from there people started to trade coffee and that’s when the exposure of this popular drink has managed to reach astounding new levels.

Soon after that most of the Africa and Western as well as Southern Asia was consuming coffee. It wasn’t until the 16th century that coffee actually managed to reach Europe and it first came from the Balkans. Just like many other regions, at first they used it mostly for medical purposes but soon people in Italy and France started to realize the potential.

There are many dark stories regarding coffee as well, with some rulers in the middle east actually having to stop coffee shops from functioning because people were focused more on having fun there rather than being productive. This lead to a coffee ban that didn’t really last that long.

While coffee was already very popular in most of the world by the 17th century, it didn’t reach the Caribbean region and the Americas until early 18th century. That’s exactly when the colonials saw the potential that came from coffee and started cultivating it. In less than 50 years after coffee was first brought to the Americas where were no less than 18000 trees found in plantations all over the country.

As you can see, coffee has a very interesting story with a wide range of amazing twists and turns. What we do know is that many people rely on it to get the focus and energy they need during the day so in many ways it can be seen as a necessity. You are bound to like the amazing results that coffee has managed to bring to the table throughout the years, but one thing is certain, this continues to be one of the most popular drinks in the world. People will continue to cultivate and drink coffee in the future for sure, all thanks to its amazing properties and great health boost, that’s for sure!

The Best Coffee Shops in NYC

While there are quite a few people in NYC who are considered caffeine addicted, and they don’t care where their java comes from, there are others who prefer to purchase the best of the best. Some of the best coffee shops you can find in NYC are highlighted here.


If you would like the way you order coffee to be similar to how you order a high-end cocktail, then you definitely need to pay a visit to Stumptown. Expresso and drop are just two of the brewing options at this unique coffee bar. You can also choose from Bee House, Chemex, Filtron, Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Vacuum Pot, AutoPress, French Press and more. If you get a bit confused with all the options, donít worry, the baristas, who are more like your concierge professionals, will help you fully enjoy your coffee experience.

La Colombe

Even though you will find five different locations of La Colombe in NYC, this is not just another sub-par chain. This is pretty evident when you pay them a visit and see the long lines of repeat customers waiting for their daily cup of Joe. Offering bottled cold brews, cortados and lattes, you will also find a number of delicious pastries and savory treats. Everything is made to order, so you can feel confident your drink and treat will be fresh and delicious.

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle is actually a global brand and has shops in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles and more. You can walk into any location all over the world and find yourself in a completely white room that is full of marble table tops, the blue bottle logo and beans that are roasted less than 48 hours ago. There are a number of pour over stations that provide made-to order drip coffee and a number of snack items including sweets, cookies and ham and cheese baguettes.


If you frequent the neighborhoods that Birch is located in, such as UES, SoHo, Flatiron or UWS, you know that the brand serves up some of the best coffee in the area, not to mention serving some of the best slices of cake as well. The beans are source from Asia, South America and Africa and the roast created is truly magical. In addition to superior tasting coffee, you will also likely love the Birch environment. While the shops are somewhat small, they offer an entirely free library and conversation starters that you can post to your table.

Queens Kickshaw

Found in Astoria, this coffee shop offers one of the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches you will ever find in the city. However, if you pair this sandwich with the Counter Culture coffee, the results truly are amazing. While Queens Kickshaw is more of an eatery than coffee shop, the communal atmosphere and specialty coffee make it worth a try if you are in the neighborhood.

There are more than a few coffee joints in NYC, take some time to try a few to find one that suits your tastes. Explore the options beyond Starbucks, you may be surprised at what you find.