From the 19th century,
coffee became the world’s
most popular drink
The Arab world jealously guarded its coffee plants and their precious fruits. Exports were strictly prohibited. The coffee trade remained in the hands of the Arabs for a long time, until the early 17th century, when a group of intrepid Dutch merchants were bold enough to smuggle coffee beans to Europe.
The Europeans grew coffee in greenhouses and orangeries before ambitious colonials started growing it on the island of Java, in Colombia and in Kenya. Coffee, which was by then an international commodity, became the “drink of the people” in many countries during the 19th century. The story of Lavazza also began at this time: it was founded in Turin in 1895. What had started back in the year 850 with a mysterious plant has now become the world’s second-most popular drink after water.