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Main article: History of coffee

The following is a timeline of notable incidents in the history of coffee.


  • The ibrik is developed as a means of quickly brewing coffee in a few minutes. Prior to this invention, coffee was steeped for half a day before it was ready to drink.



  • 1683 - William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania Colony in the American Colonies, bought a supply of coffee in New York for 18 shillings, nine pence per pound. This purchase is the first instance of coffee appearing in the official records of an American colony[1].
  • September 12, 1683 - The Polish army routed invading Turks who were laying siege to Vienna. Georg Franz Kolschitzky, who was a key figure in the victory, discovered a large hoard of coffee left behind by the fleeing Turks. With this coffee, he established what is considered to be the first European coffee house. Following the establishment of his coffee house, the popularity of coffee would rapidly spread across Europe.



  • The root of the chicory plant was first roasted and used as a coffee substitute in Holland.
  • Coffee is first introduced to Celebes (modern-day Sulawesi in Indonesia) from the island of Java.


  • 1785 - James Bowdoin, the governor of Massachusetts, first introduced chicory to the United States.



  • 1806 - In an attempt to make France into a completely self-sufficient nation, Napoleon eliminates coffee imports. Chicory was introduced as a complete substitute for coffee. While this system did not last more than a few years, the French continued to use chicory to blend with their coffee. This practice would migrate to the still French-influenced New Orleans and is still considered typical of New Orleans-style coffee.
  • 1806 - The first French patent on a drip coffee pot that brews without boiling is granted.
  • 1806 - The coffee percolator is invented in Paris by American Benjamin Thompson.


  • 1825 - Acting on an idea from the poet Johnan von Goethe, Friedrich Ferdinand Runge first isolated caffeine as the cause of insomnia in coffee drinkers. This discovery would lead to the first attempts at decaffeination.
  • 1825 - After visiting coffee houses in England, Chief Boki, governor of Oahu, stopped in Brazil to pick up coffee seedlings to plant in Hawaii. Using these seedlings, agriculturalist John Wilkinson successfully planted a coffee orchard on Oahu.


  • Under British rule, India begins to grow coffee for export.


  • July 24, 1869 - Botanist George Henry Kendrick Thwaites writes of a fungus affecting leaves on a coffee tree. This fungus would become known as coffee rust (hemileia vastarix)[2].
  • November 6, 1869 - Based upon the observations of George Henry Kendrick Thwaites, Rev. Miles Berkeley published the first description of coffee rust (hemileia vastatrix)[3].


  • 1893 - Coffee trees are first cultivated in Kenya when missionaries imported Bourbon coffee trees from Reunion Island in Brazil. These trees, descendents from trees discovered in Ethiopia, would be used to develop the French Mission varietal which is predominant in Kenya today.



  • 1901 - Luigi Bezzera patents what is considered to be the design for the first espresso machine.
  • 1905 - Desiderio Pavoni begins manufacturing espresso machines based off of Bezzera's original design.
  • 1906 - Ludwig Roselius develops a commercially viable method of extracting caffeine from coffee beans.
  • July 8, 1908 - Melitta Bentz (born in Germany, January 31, 1873) creates the first paper coffee filter.
  • September 1908 - The United States Patent Office issues a patent for decaffeinating coffee to Roselius, Meyer, and Wimmer.


  • 1922 - The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Co. publishes All About Coffee, by William Ukers. This 796 page book would go on to become known as one of the most important coffee references.


  • January 1933 - In Kenya, the Coffee Act of 1933 is enacted, establishing the Coffee Board of Kenya. Prior to this act, auctions for Kenyan coffee took place in London. This legislation would establish the national system of auctions in Kenya.


  • 1947 - Achille Gaggia develops a modification to espresso machines which, instead of using steam pressure to drive the water through the coffee, used a manually pulled lever to cause a piston to press the hot water through the coffee. Modern espresso makers are still mostly based upon Gaggia's model.


  • 1952 - In Kenya, the Mau Mau Uprising begins. While the rebellion is eventually quelled, coffee production would be turned over to Kenyans as a result. The Kenyans would then hand over the duty of their coffee production to the Chinese in 1958.


  • 1961 - The FAEMA company (Fabbrica Apparecchiature Elettromeccaniche e Affini or, in English, "factory producing electrical and mechanical equipment and similar") develops the E61, an espresso machine which heated water for use in brewing the espresso by passing it through the tank of older water before it got to the brew head.
  • September 28, 1962 - The first International Coffee Agreement is drafted by the United Nations. This treaty would pave the way for the creation of the International Coffee Organization.


  • 1979 - The Swiss Water Process for decaffeinating coffee beans is introduced by Coffex. At the time, it will be the only commercial decaffeination method that does not use solvents.



  • June 29, 2004 - An auction lot of Esmeralda Special sets a record for online auction price by selling for $21.00 a pound. This record would stand until 2006, when a new harvest of the same coffee would sell for $50.25 a pound.
  • May 29, 2007 - The online auction price record is broken yet again by a lot of Esmeralda Special, selling at $130.00 a pound.


  1. William H. Ukers (1922). “Introduction of Coffee into North America”, All about Coffee, 105. ISBN 0810340925.
  2. The Gardeners Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (via APSnet Education Center)
  3. Plant Disease Lessons - Coffee Rust