Arabica coffee is believed to have originated in Abyssinia and was introduced to Arabia over a thousand years ago. It is also believed that in the early years, the Abyssinians left Arabia for Abyssinia taking the seeds with them, in which case they would have come from Arabia. Whether the origin is Arabia or Abyssinia, Arabs must be given credit for discovering and promoting the use of the drink and the propagation of the plant. The first cultivation in Arabia is believed to date back to 575 AD.
Indian tradition recognizes BaBa Budan, a Muslim pilgrim to Mecca, with the introduction of coffee in southern India around 1600. The area where he settled is now known as the Baba Budan Hills and is still an important coffee-producing area in Mecca. southern India.
In 1699, coffee was introduced to Java from India. The plants were moved from Java to Amsterdam in 1706 and eight years later, the Paris Botanical Garden provided seedlings in Amsterdam. In 1723, the plants, the descendants of those in the Botanical Gardens of Paris, were taken to Martinique by the French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu. Of these, one plant survived, and Arabica coffee was established in Martinique. Its spread to coffee-producing areas in the Western Hemisphere followed rapidly.
In 1728, the governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes, introduced coffee to Jamaica in Hispaniola, now Haiti, in St. Andrew's Parish. The natural conditions proved to be the most favorable, and the product proved to be of very good quality. Cultivation expanded rapidly and by 1800, 686 plantations were in operation. In 1814, exports totaled 15,199 tons. With the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, followed by emancipation in 1838, the industry declined rapidly, primarily due to a lack of labor. By 1850, only 186 plantations were in operation and exports had dropped to 1,486 tons. In the last hundred years. The pattern of coffee grown on a plantation scale has changed, and the industry has been maintained mainly by smallholders.