A coffee journey around the world
The history of coffee dates back to at least the 13th century, in Ethiopia, but the earliest firm evidence of coffee drinking appears in the mid 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen.
By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
In the second half of the 16th century, the first cafés, reserved for important personages, opened in Constantinople and it did not take long before these exclusive clubs became the preferred meeting places for diplomats, artists, authors and intellectuals. From there, it was just a short step into Europe.
The vibrant trade between Venice and the Muslim world brought a large variety of African goods, including coffee.
The Venetians were the first to import this new trend, in about 1600, and the first café was established in that city in the mid 17th century. It was a raging success and, within just over a century, there were hundreds of them. The first European coffee house was opened in 1645 in Venice, not far from De’Longhi’s home-town of Treviso.
The rest of Europe soon followed in the Venetian footsteps, including England, where tea had until then been the most commonly enjoyed hot beverage. Coffee houses soon became important as meeting places for men of business and culture alike. In Germany, the spread of this new drink met with some difficulty as the people tended to favour beer, but they were won over by coffee in the end. The United States saw the arrival of coffee in the late 1600s, as the new colonialists brought with them the trends and fashions of Europe.
Espresso, as we know it today, originated at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901, Luigi Bezzera produced the first espresso coffee machine.
The coffee culture in Italy has evolved over time, so an espresso can now be savoured in various contexts: at a bar in the morning, or while chatting with friends at a pavement café. But an espresso also means a break or a moment of relaxation in the comfort of your own home every time you want a good, steaming hot cup of coffee.