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Coffee Diaspora

BEFORE THE BEAN

The coffees emerged from the African continent – Ethiopia and Republic of Congo (then a Belgian colony) – way back, borne on the waves of trade and commerce, and of course an addiction for the magic brew which gave clarity of thought. The ‘original’ arabica coffee, as one may call it, emerged from Ethiopia during what some think was the 6th century, and went to Yemen to be cultivated for export and to a lesser extent, local consumption. In the 1500-1600s coffee was exported up from Yemen to Turkey, from where coffee fever took hold of Western and Northern Europe (the average Fin consumes 12kg of coffee per year; the most coffee per capita in the world). From there, coffee was brought to the United States; at the same time, it is thought that arabica was smuggled to India.

A route through which Latin America received arabica was through the Caribbean. Seeds had been brought…

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