The European love affair with coffee

 Coffee soon arrived in Europe on board some of the many sailing ships that navigated the Mediterranean. It made its first appearance in Venice between the 16th and 17th centuries thanks to Prospero Alpino from Padua, a well-known botanist and doctor, who brought some bags over from the East.

The first places dedicated to the pleasure of these drinks opened almost simultaneously, first in Venice in 1640, then in Marseille in 1654 followed by Paris around 1680, in London in 1662 and in Frankfurt in 1689.

When the drink arrived at the court of Louis XIV, the King fell in love with it so much that he wanted to prepare it personally. Cafè Procope, one of the first coffee shops to open in Paris in 1686, was a popular destination for many well-known personalities of the calibre of Diderot and Voltaire, so much that throughout Europe it represented a symbol to emulate.

By the mid-17th century, there were over 300 coffee houses in London, many of which attracted like-minded patrons, including merchants, shippers, brokers and artists.

Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favoured drink in the New World until 1773, when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George III. The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference in favour of coffee. 

By the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops, on the road to becoming the second most consumed beverage in the world and creating what is today a billion-dollar industry.

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Noble tree legends

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