We all see coffee sold in stores, cafes and on the go; dark roasts, light roasts, espresso, whole beans, and ground – but where did it all come from?
Like its flavor and aroma, the history of coffee is rich and potent. In present day Ethiopia the coffee shrub, Coffee Arabica, grew wild. The fable of its discovery is a farmer observed animals eating the red fruit off a tree. Perhaps the animals may have been attracted to the tree because of the white sweet smelling flowers that bloom when the coffee berries are ripening. Regardless, the farmer noticed the frolicking goats and vivacious behaviors among birds. Eventually, farmers began harvesting it for human consumption.
The beginning of coffee as a commodity developed slowly. It is known in the thirteenth century, that a technique was developed for roasting coffee beans; and by the fifteenth century the first coffeehouses opened in Mecca, located in present day Saudi Arabia. At that time, production of coffee was restricted to the Arabian empire, because Arabs would not allow unsterilized beans or plants to leave their ports. For two hundred years they maintained this monopoly, which resulted in coffee only being grown in Arabia and Africa.
Coffee’s initial spread was the work of an Indian pilgrim, Baba Budan, who brought the beans to Europe in the seventeenth century. However, coffee’s success in Europe is attributed to Venetian traders who acquired beans in 1615. The following year, Dutch growers in Ceylon, Sri Lanka established the first European coffee holdings; followed by Malabar in India, and Java in present day Indonesia. By the end of the century Dutch colonies were the main suppliers of coffee in Europe.
In the new world, coffee was introduced by Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, an officer in the French Navy. As recorded in his own journal, he acquired a coffee tree in Paris in 1720. It was placed in a glass case on deck to keep the tree warm and protect it from salt water. During a violent storm the plant had to be tied down, and when drinking water was rationed, de Clieu guaranteed that the tree drank first. The ship arrived in Martinique and the tree was planted. It grew and multiplied. By 1726, de Clieu’s tree produced the first harvest. In 1777, just 50 years after that initial harvest, there were between 18 and 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Coffee’s existence in Central and South America rapidly expanded in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The 20th century revealed an ever increasing demand for coffee in the U.S. By 1946, the U.S reached an annual per capita consumption of 19.8 pounds. Coffee had become a hallmark within American culture.
In the twenty-first century, more than fifty countries produce over one-hundred varietals of coffee beans. Its significance in the world economy provides jobs for millions of people. For producing countries, coffee ranks second to oil as a source of earnings in foreign exchange. Today there are great opportunities for grass roots level ‘micro-roasters’ who source their beans responsibly and seek to provide their customers with an extraordinary cup of coffee.
About The Owner
Hello, my name is Mason Parker. I am the owner and roaster for Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting. I am a New Hampshire native. I have healthy passion for enjoying an exceptional cup of coffee. However, my greatest passion of all does not involve coffee. In fact, it might surprise you that my greatest passion is to talk to people about my relationship with Jesus Christ.
As a boy, I was taught a lot about Jesus while I attended a private school. I was specifically taught that He performed many miracles and that He truly was God. Yet, I do not remember anyone ever teaching me the importance of knowing Jesus personally. I do not recall anyone encouraging me to make a decision: recognize my sinfulness, turn away from it and follow after Jesus. I had not been told that I needed to accept Him to be my Savior. After my family left that church, when I was around ten years old, I probably only attended a church a half dozen times up until I was 23 years old. I didn’t care much about God or what His plan was for my life. I remember trying to do good things during my teen years, but I found it too hard to be good. Not only was it difficult, there didn’t seem to be much reward for doing so. When I went off to college, I tried hard to live a good life, but quickly I was caught up in the social aspect of college. This led me to severely neglect my studies. One of my choices was to join a fraternity on campus. During my time there I began to be caught up in living for today and living to please myself only. Late one night, as I was in my room alone, I knelt down beside my couch to pray to God. This was unusual for me to say the least. Up until that point I had only prayed a few voluntary prays to God throughout my whole life. As I began to pray that realization dawned on me. I thought, “I have never really desired to talk with God or have Him in my life.” As I pondered this notion, I also thought of a few of the Ten Commandments that I learned in my early school days. I realized that I had broken the few I knew. Then I came to the conclusion that if I broke the ones I knew then it was safe to say that I had broken ones I didn’t know. It was with this new revelation of my current situation that brought me to the point of brokenness. I suddenly thought to myself, “Why would God listen to my prayers right now? I never sought Him in my life and I didn’t even bother to try to keep His commandments.” It was at that moment I remembered that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. So I said to God, “I don’t know how it all works, but if you can forgive me for the things I’ve done I’ll do whatever you want.” It was at that moment all my cares and the pressure and weight of my sin disappeared. I confessed my sin to Jesus. I asked Him to forgive me of what I had done. I put my trust in Him to be my Savior, my only hope for eternal life. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” At that moment I experienced that very thing in my life. I was now a born-again Christian. Even though this happened, my life was still very much the same. I was still in school and living in my fraternity, yet I had a peace in my life now that could not be explained. Though my actions were still sinful, God had saved me. He remains faithful and was not going to give up on me.
Within a few months I failed out of school. What seems like a bad thing God used for good as His word says He does. I moved back to Merrimack, NH, and started working with my father. I knew something had changed in my life but I didn’t know what that was. I had a hunger for God and began seeking out anything that was spiritual. I tried different churches, but it seemed like God wasn’t there. I tried martial arts, yet God wasn’t there. I tried to just do good works for people, yet God wasn’t in that either. And all along the way my actions and behaviors were of someone who was not living a life pleasing to God. I felt very much like a hypocrite acting one way, yet on the inside being torn up over the things I was doing. Finally, three years after receiving Jesus as my Savior, I decided to try out a local Bible believing church. As soon as I walked through the doors, I knew this was where I needed to be. As I sat in the crowd I realized people actually had Bibles out. The preacher not only was reading the Bible, but he was explaining it word by word. He was discussing what had happened during that time period and declared the Bible to be 100% true. After teaching the Bible verses, he explained that these truths could be directly applied to our lives today; he proceeded to give a few examples. I kept going back. After two years, the church leadership asked me to come on staff as the pastoral intern. This truly was a work of the Lord seeing how I did not have a college education, let alone a Bible education. In addition, I had no real experience in church ministry, seeing how I had only been attending two years. This could never had happened without God teaching me His word, growing me to be more godly, giving me favor in people’s eyes, and blessing me in many ways I could not even begin to explain.
All of this is wonderful, but it would never have taken place unless I first received the greatest gift God can give to us: the salvation of our souls. It is not done through good works or by going to church. You don’t achieve it by accomplishing great things. It is not something we can merely hope for because God is merciful. No, instead it is a gift given and a gift does no one any good unless it is personally received. It is received by recognizing that we do not measure up to God’s perfection and we transgress His laws; also known as sin. It is because of our sin we deserve to be separated from God. God is just and righteous; disobedience to His laws must be punished. Though as a loving merciful God, He did not want us to be separated from Him forever, so He provided a way to escape His punishment. That way is only through His Son Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus came and died for our sins in order to take our punishment so we do not receive it. He rose again from the dead to prove He is God and to show that through placing our trust in Him to be our Savior we can and will have eternal life with Him.
Now, I am married to my wonderful wife, and we have been blessed with terrific children. Even though I own my own coffee roasting business, I still eagerly teach the Bible to all who will listen. Telling people about Jesus is still by far my greatest passion. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” That is what Jesus said He came to do and it just so happens that is exactly what He has done for me.