The Origin of Coffee, where did it all begin??

Did you know that Mozart’s Coffee was the first in-house coffee roaster in Austin, TX over 25 years ago? We know that Mozart’s has played a big role in bringing fresh roasted coffee to Austin, but how did coffee make its start as being one of the most popular beverages in the world? A PBS article, found here, had a lot to teach us about coffee’s origins.

Coffee has made its way deep into American Culture. Whether you enjoy your cup freshly brewed from locally roasted beans in your coffee maker at home, enjoy a shot of espresso on the go, or sip on a latte next to the beautiful views of Lake Austin on our patio at Mozart’s, we know you wouldn’t be checking out this story if you didn’t have some love for, or at least curiosity about coffee.

Anything that has been around for centuries is sure to be shrouded in mystery and folklore, and coffee is no exception. There is a famous Ethiopian legend that coffee was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi. He came upon his goats one day, bouncing around and energetic after eating the red fruit from a nearby tree. Upon seeing this display, he took the fruit back home, tried it himself and was energized and alert all night. He then shared it with his local monks, they shared it with each other, and the spread of the caffeinated awakening had begun.

While there is much mystery behind coffee’s origins, we do know it had different preparations hundreds and hundreds of years ago that look much different from the hot beverage we know today. Before a coffee bean is cured and dried, it is surrounded by a cherry-like fruit which reddens when ripe. This fruit at one time was mixed with animal fat and used to make a protein-rich bar-shaped snack. At another time, it was turned into a pulp and fermented to create a wine-like concoction. Additionally, around 1000 A.D., a beverage mixture was created using the whole coffee fruit. Coffee beans weren’t roasted and used for a drink resembling what we make today until around the 13th CE. Regardless, that’s a lot of years of caffeination!

This 13th century drink that resembled what we know as coffee today originated in Arabia. It became popularized in Muslim communities as it helped keep them awake during long prayer sessions. These popular beans were thought to remain in Africa and Arabia until the 1600s when tradition says an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan brought fertile coffee beans from Mecca and they eventually made their way to Europe.

A few hundred years later in the 1600s the Dutch founded coffee estates in Sri Lanka, Ceylon, and Java. The French followed suit in the Caribbean, the Spanish in Central America, and the Portuguese in Brazil. Also in the 1600s Europe saw the popularization of coffee houses in Italy and France.

Sometime around the 18th Century coffee made its way to the New World, but wasn’t popularized until the Boston Tea Party of 1773. At this time it was considered patriotic to the Revolution to go from tea to coffee. Later Civil War soldiers relied on coffee to stay energetic and awake for battle, thus it continued to gain popularity.

By the time our nation came to greet the late 1800s, coffee was popular in many places across the world. Looking to capitalize on the trend John and Charles Arbuckle, brothers from Pittsburgh, procured Jabez Burn’s new self-emptying coffee bean roaster and started to sell already-roasted beans by the pound. Their coffee was called “Ariosa” and western cowboys became one of their bigger clients in the American West. Not long after James Folger began selling to gold miners in California. This set the stage for some other still-recognized coffee companies to emerge including Maxwell House and Hill Brothers.

The journey was a long one that spanned over hundreds of years, but from the caffeinated goats in the legend of Kaldi all the way to our iced lattes enjoyed by Lake Austin at Mozart’s, coffee has made its way into our lives and our culture. If after hearing this story you need to get a hold of some beans asap, check out our beans for sale online at:

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