Why is Coffee Called Java?

January 20, 2010 at 1:47 am 8 comments

I love coffee.

I started drinking it in college, like most people, for the caffeine boost. Over time, I got really attached to the flavor. I went through a coffee obsession phase, trying coffee from different parts of the world with different tastes and different roasting techniques.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but there really are coffee connoisseurs out there. Premium coffee retailers and distributors have tasting rooms where they constantly inspect and taste coffee.

They sip it, swirl it around in their mouth and then spit it out. It must meet their strict approval to make it to the stores. If you think I’m exaggerating, click here to get a taste on the Starbucks blog. They even talk about coffee that is aged 3 to 5 years before being roasted.

Aging coffee probably reminds you of something else, wine. It turns out the coffee industry is a lot like the wine industry. Experts taste coffee the way connoisseurs taste and rate wine. They also share a similar vocabulary for describing flavor notes, hints of: caramel, chocolate, nuts…etc. Wine is classified by it’s region and grape (species). Coffee is also classified by region and species.

Historians believe that coffee plants were first cultivated in Ethiopia, around the year 850. In the next 50 years, coffee seeds were taken to the Arab world. The Arabians saw a future in coffee trade and guarded the seeds closely, but a few seeds were smuggled to the Dutch. Early in the 17th century, seeds made their way to Indonesia, being planted in Sumatra, Bali and the island of Java.

Java is one of the earliest coffee plantations and still an exporter of coffee today. Calling coffee, “java” is similar to referring to wine by it’s region, such as “I’ll have a glass of Champagne.”

On a related note, check out another coffee related secret: How to Properly Pour a Cup of Coffee.

Written By: Chad Upton

BrokenSecrets.com [Available on Kindle]

Sources: Coffee, Java Coffee, Indonesian Coffee, Coffee Bean, Champagne

Entry filed under: Demystified, Food and Drink, Geek. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. zaradzki  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Note there are other words designating coffee like kawa that are basically derivatives of the word java.

    http://grabacupwithstan.com/2010/01/14/lost-in-translation/

    Reply
  • 2. Mr. P  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    It’s sorta strange that coffee has so many different names, isn’t it? I mean, I can’t think of another drink that does. Even water, which we all drink, all the time, is pretty much always called water. Or, occasionally, by it’s molecular structure — H2O.

    Maybe we should start calling coffee by it’s molecular structure.

    “Yo man, I gotta get to my exam, pour me a tall cup of H3N6O12Hl3Chl14”

    Reply
  • 3. zaradzki  |  January 21, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Have you seen ‘The bucket list’? Great movie with a fun fancy named coffee storie

    Reply
    • 4. Chad Upton  |  January 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      I haven’t seen it. But, I just moved it to the top of my netflix queue.

      Reply
  • 5. Caffeine Free Coffee Beans Discovered « Broken Secrets  |  March 9, 2010 at 12:44 am

    […] noticed from my video about properly pouring coffee, my various Starbucks secrets or my post about why coffee is called java, I love […]

    Reply
  • 6. Sheila Greenwalt  |  November 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    why do we call coffee, coffee?

    Reply
  • 7. pembawa pete  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I am a javanese, work as Java programmer, and I like Java (coffee)

    Reply
  • 8. saksham009  |  October 14, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Why they call it java and why java is represented by coffee beans or cup of coffee? see complete story here and more unknown facts
    http://technikes.com/why-they-call-it-java-and-why-java-is-represented-by-coffee-beans-or-cup-of-coffee/

    Reply

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