A History of Coffee
1652 - The first coffeehouse opens in England, where a cup of coffee is sold for a penny. Today, the average price for an espresso-based beverage in the U.S. is $2.45.
1773 - Following the Boston Tea Party, the Continental Congress declares coffee the official national beverage. Americans are now the world's leading coffee fanatics, consuming 400 million cups daily.
1790 - The first wholesale coffee roasting company in America is established--which leads to the first newspaper advertisement for coffee that appears the same year in the New York Daily Advertiser.
1903 - German coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius discovers that a shipment of coffee beans that had been soaked in water lost most of its caffeine, but retained its flavor. That realization leads him to produce the first decaffeinated coffee, Sanka Coffee. Twenty years later he introduces it to the U.S., where it's still distributed today by Kraft Foods.
1938 - Nestlé introduces Nescafé, the first “drinkable” instant coffee, and helps establish coffee's first wave. More than 70 years later, Nestlé remains one of the leading national retailers of instant coffee.
1946 - Achille Gaggia invents the modern espresso machine. The 2011 Coffee Statistics Report says 30 million Americans drink specialty coffee beverages such as espresso and espresso-based drinks daily.
1962 - The first International Coffee Agreement is negotiated by the United Nations. Today, coffee is the second most valuable commodity in the modern global economy, with annual sales of $70 billion.
1972 - Filterfresh invents the first single-cup coffee brewing machine. Last year a popular single-serve system called Senseo produced total sales of $536 million.
2010 - Starbucks is still going strong after establishing coffee's second wave in the early '90s and carrying it to the third, rebounding from the economic downturn with total net revenues up 9.5 percent to $10.7 billion.
2011 - Gourmet coffee characterizes the industry's third wave. The Coffee Statistics Report shows a 20 percent annual increase in sales of specialty coffee (nearly 8 percent of the $18 billion U.S. coffee market). --K.R.