As coffee became increasingly popular, the fact that it was only cultivated in Arabia began to prove a bottleneck. Arabia was keen to continue controlling the global supply, and guarded the plants jealously, but in the late 17th century the Dutch finally succeeded in getting their hands on some seedlings which they tried to plant in India. This initial attempt failed, but they managed to cultivate the plants in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia. The coffee plants thrived, and soon production spread to nearby islands.
In the early 18th century, the Mayor of Amsterdam gave a young coffee plant as a gift to the French king, Louis XIV, who ordered it planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. A few years later, Gabriel de Clieu, a young French naval officer, managed to take a seedling from this plant and smuggle it to Martinique where it was duly planted and thrived. That single plant is credited with being the parent of the 18 million coffee bushes that were to cover the island over the next few decades, and which also became the foundation of many of the Caribbean and South and Central American bushes.
In a little over a century, coffee was firmly established as a valuable commercial crop. Travellers and traders began to carry the seeds around the world, and new bushes were planted across the globe in different environments. By the end of the 18th century, coffee was well on its way to becoming the global crop it is today.
Here at the Wholesale Coffee Company, we’re keeping up with the proud history of coffee by supplying top quality coffee and coffee accessories at great wholesale prices. For more information, please visit www.wholesalecoffeecompany.co.uk.