The history of coffee

We do not known exactly when coffee was discovered first, but the archeologists have found evidences of the use of coffee as a medicine in the Arabic world in early writings around 900 BC.

A common legend assigns the discovery of coffee to an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi (around 300 AD). He observed that his flock was very active when the animals ate certain red berries.
He decided to taste them and learned the energetic effect of coffee berries. Little by little the habit to use coffee berries as energetic food spread and people learned that a tasty drink could be prepared by roasting the berries and then brewing them.

From Ethiopia the use of coffee spread to the Near East, when the first coffee plantations started in Yemen. Later the cultivation spread to Arabia and Egypt, where drinking coffee (or “Kahweh”) soon became a daily habit.
Only from the early 17th Century did coffee become popular in Europe and its popularity grew very quickly. At the beginning of 1600 coffee houses sprang up everywhere, especially in Italy, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany.


Before – in 1570 -, coffee had been introduced in Europe by a Venetian physician, Prospero Alpini. Venice was the first Italian town to appreciate it and to have public places where to taste the drink. Soon coffee houses became very popular, the oldest, Cafè Florian, has been offering the precious drink until present times under the porches of Piazza S.Marco. In Italy, among the aristocrats coffee became soon a precious gift to be offered as symbol of friendship or love. Coffee culture spread across the Italian peninsula, and other cities had their coffee houses: among them Caffè Greco in Rome, Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua, Caffè San Carlo in Turin. Famous people and men of letters used to spend their time there, thus conferring those places further fame and appeal.
The first domestic appliance to prepare coffee at home was invented in 1691 in Napoli: the famous caffettiera napoletana . People used that metallic tool, clean water and 4-5 grams of finely grounded coffee to prepare three or four cups of coffee at the same time, and taste the drink at home: soon an aromatic cup of coffee at the end of the meal became a ritual in Italy.

Coffee was thus freed from the reputation of an “aristocratic drink” and its diffusion spread across all social classes. From an exclusive moment, it became a daily habit in which you gave yourself up to the pleasure of a fortifying drink. Espresso coffee was combined with other ingredients; most famous coffee based drinks have Italian names: Espresso, Cappuccino, Macchiato. Across the centuries Italy has become the official ambassador of the Espresso philosophy.

Nowadays Italy leads coffee import – export activities and some among the world most important and appreciated roasters are Italian. N&W products are part of the Espresso philosophy: the technologies for the drink preparation have been developed in order to respect the refined taste of our customers and the tradition of the true Italian espresso, even if this respect has not prevented us to find innovative solutions that meets worldwide tastes and expectations.

In everyday life, at work or during free time, we always find the right moment to indulge in this great little pleasure. So, shall we have a coffee?