But where did coffee actually come from? One origin which is certain is the Abyssinian region of Kaffa in Ethiopia. Probably it also derives its name from this region, though many authorities believe the name goes back to the Turkish Khavè or the Arab Qahwah, meaning stimulant. It was, therefore, due to the expansion of the Arab empire that coffee spread throughout the Islamic world and in the fourteenth century the first coffee-house was opened at Constantinople. But when did the habit of coffee-drinking take root in Italy? In the second half of the fourteenth century the great sailing ships, bringing all sorts of merchandise to Italy, began to discharge the first consignments of coffee beans at the ports. Venice was the first city to taste this new and special beverage. In 1763 there were, believe it or not, 218 cafés in which it was possible to partake of the beverage. And today? Today it is possible to drink coffee anywhere in the world, and each country has developed its own particular method of making the beverage.
Coffee has become an object of study and research, at Vanderbilt University even an institute of coffee has been set up. More than 50 research reports have been presented to the American Chemical Society on its effects. According to these studies coffee enhances the effects of painkillers in cases of migraine, three cups a day keep off asthma attacks, it is antidepressive and improves the level of attention: how many other useful effects might it have?