Wednesday, June 29, 2011

History of Coffee - Venice 1616

By the year 1600 coffee had become the favorite drink of the Arab world, all the way from Constantinople to Cairo and from Damascus to Mecca.

Coffee was first introduced to Europe through Venice around the year 1616. It was natural that Venetians should first bring coffee to Europe due to their advanced commerce. Their fleets sailed every sea and visited all lands. From their great warehouses and supply yards, exports from the Levant, Africa and the Indies flowed into Europe.

Like the Arabians, the Italians first considered coffee a medicine, but not for long. Coffeehouses soon appeared, and by 1690, dozens of shops on the Piazza di San Marco of Venice served the coffee beverage.

The coffeehouse or caffé was the gathering place of the upper classes. Though the flourishing of the caffés could not compare with the luxurious coffeehouses of Constantinople or the Levant, throngs of merchants, lawyers, physicians, courtiers and nobles met to sip coffee and exchange tidbits of scandal and gossip.

“The most famous of the Venetian caffés was the Caffé Florian, which was opened in 1720 by Floriono Francesconi”, narrates Professor Andres Uribe, in his book "Brown Gold", the amazing story of coffee.

Yours truly,

Mariano Ospina

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