Through simple trade, coffee made its way into Europe through Malta, which during the mid-sixteenth century had strong trade links with the Ottoman Empire. Coffee consumption slowly made its way from the traders and prisoners into Maltese high society and from there into the general population.
“Black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love”.
London wasn’t too far behind, with its first coffeehouse opening in 1652, by Pasqua Rosee the Greek servant of a British merchant. Having lived in Smyrna on the Aegean coast, Pasqua was said to brew the best coffee in the Ottoman Empire, which was as “black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love”.
Throughout this time the consumption of coffee had spread, but the cultivation seems to have remained in Yemen and Ethiopia. From here coffee beans were exported on land over the trade routes. There’s a reason why Ethiopia consistently ranks among the best in bristol coffee shops and around the world. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is thought to be the variety closest in flavour to the original wild plant and has a mild character, offset by a subtle gamey aftertaste.