History of Coffee

The story begins around 1440 when an Ethiopian shepherd that was looking after his herb of goats notice that during the night the animals would jump and move around instead of sleeping and resting. The shepherd was amazed by this facts and he told the story to some monks settled near the place. They understood that the goats had eaten some plants that caused these effects; they inspected the place and observed some shrubs just stripped of their leaves by the animals. Once they tasted the fruits they verified the effects realizing that sleep was driven away.

Thus, they learned how to boil it in water to drink it when they had to pray all night. The news was spread and the usage of coffee extended to Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.

Rauwolf introduce it in Europe in 1582 and in 1645 its usage became common in southern Italy. The first coffee shop was opened in Marseille, France in 1671; then in London by 1678 and Berlin in 1721. In Madrid, Spain the first coffee shop was located on Carretas Street.

In 1714, the Captain of Infantry Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu concealed a sample of a coffee plant that was offered by Holland to the king Luis XIV of France and preserved in the royal greenhouses. After his arrival into the new world the captain planted it the downhill’s of Mount Pelé’s in Martinique and in Santo Domingo.

Introduction of Coffee in Cuba

The first coffee plant was brought to Cuba in the 18th century by Don José Gelabert. In 1748 he founded the first coffee plantation in Cuba, in Wajay at the outskirts of Havana City. The seeds came from Santo Domingo, today’s Dominican Republic.

The fast growing of the coffee plantations in Cuba was caused by the arrival of French planters that emigrated from Haiti due to the 1791’s revolution. They found excellent lands and climate conditions for the coffee cultivation in mountainous areas of the country. That was how these great country estates appeared in Cuba, and soon became into powerful centres of coffee production.

The Coffee Boom

The Cuban coffee boom occurred during the three first decade of the 19th century. This cultivation was establish in Cuba and reached the first place of exports, relegating Haiti to a second place.

The main coffee areas were located in Santiago de Cuba, Las Villas, Candelaria and Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio. Now on these areas we can find very interesting and valuable ruins showing the influence of the French culture in that region.

But, at the ends of 1830, it was losing strength because Spain interceded on commerce. The metropolis imposed high taxes and prices to importers like United States; whom due this situation they turned their eyes toward incipient producers of that time like Brazil, Colombia among others countries from Central America.

In 1894, Frenchmen were criticized by the Spaniards and Americans, that posture stop the immigration and Haitians and French men left the country abandoning the coffee estates, those facts caused the deterioration of coffee production in Cuba.

The Coffee, our days

Although Cuba lost its leadership as coffee exporter, a high quality of cultivation and grain benefits was kept, transferring this tradition as a ritual from generation to generation until our days.

In our days, the production of gourmet coffee of refined quality is exclusively directed to well selected markets. That’s why the most exquisite connoisseurs know about the existence of this weird jewel, the Cuban Coffee.

After the triumph of the revolution this has taken a new impulse, and at present times coffee grains of very high quality are exported and different varieties from the Arabian species is cultivated.