Coffee unites people, transcends cultures.
The story of coffee travelling to Asia is legendary. From prized seeds smuggled by pilgrims to large plantations by the colonists coffee has found its way into different Asian countries and seeped itself into the unique culture.
Coffee travelled to India on a pocket strapped on to the chest of Baba Budan, a Muslim pilgrim, travelling from the port city of Yemen that overlooks the Red Sea to his homeland. Mocha was the trading hub for coffee. Baba Budan was introduced to coffee in the form of Qahwa, a dark and sweet liquid. He found the drink to be refreshing and smuggled a few coffee beans to India. On his return, Baba Budan planted the seeds in the courtyard of his hermitage on the hills of Chikmagalur, Karnataka. The coffee plants gradually spread to the hills which later came to be known as Baba Budan Hills.
Coffee first arrived in Japan in the 16th and 17th century with the Dutch and Portuguese. Coffee has seeped into the culture and history of the land of the rising sun since the days of the Samurai. It has been a rich ingredient in shaping the Japanese social milieu and for many processes of transforming the bean to brew has itself acquired an art form. The term kouhii in Japanese finds its origin from the Dutch words Koffie and hence represented by the foreign word alphabet katakana. Over the years it has rooted so much into Japanese culture and it has acquired its own Japanese kanji characters- deriving from pronunciation of the Dutch term.
Coffee was not indigenous to the Indonesian archipelago. Coffee was introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company. They were interested in growing the plants and sought to break the Arab monopoly in coffee.
In the Philippines first tasted coffee from the coffee tree introduced by a Spanish Franciscan monk in 1740 in Lipa and Batangas. From Batangas and Lipa, it spread to other parts like Ibaan, Lemery, San Jose, Taal, and Tanauan. Batangas wealth mostly derived from its numerous coffee plantations and Lipa became the coffee capital of Philippines.