Coffee Cultivation by the Dutch
In the latter part of the
16th century, German, Italian, and Dutch botanists and travelers
brought back from the Levant considerable information regarding the new
plant and the beverage. In 1614 enterprising Dutch traders began to
examine into the possibilities of coffee cultivation and coffee
trading. In 1616 a coffee plant was successfully transported from Mocha
In 1658 the Dutch started the cultivation of coffee in Ceylon, although
the Arabs are said to have brought the plant to the island prior to
1505. In 1670 an attempt was made to cultivate coffee on European soil
at Dijon, France, but the result was a failure.
In 1696, at the instigation of Nicolaas Witsen, then burgomaster of
Amsterdam, Adrian Van Ommen, commander at Malabar, India, caused to be
shipped from Kananur, Malabar, to Java, the first coffee plants
introduced into that island. They were grown from seed of the Coffea
arabica brought to Malabar from Arabia. They were planted by
Governor-General Willem Van Outshoorn on the Kedawoeng estate near
Batavia, but were subsequently lost by earthquake and flood. In 1699
Henricus Zwaardecroon imported some slips, or cuttings, of coffee trees
from Malabar into Java. These were more successful, and became the
progenitors of all the coffees of the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch were
then taking the lead in the propagation of the coffee plant.
In 1706 the first samples of Java coffee, and a coffee plant grown in
Java, were received at the Amsterdam botanical gardens. Many plants
were afterward propagated from the seeds produced in the Amsterdam
gardens, and these were distributed to some of the best known botanical
gardens and private conservatories in Europe.
While the Dutch were extending the cultivation of the plant to Sumatra,
the Celebes, Timor, Bali, and other islands of the Netherlands Indies,
the French were seeking to introduce coffee cultivation into their
colonies. Several attempts were made to transfer young plants from the
Amsterdam botanical gardens to the botanical gardens at Paris; but all
In 1714, however, as a result of negotiations entered into between the
French government and the municipality of Amsterdam, a young and
vigorous plant about five feet tall was sent to Louis XIV at the
chateau of Marly by the burgomaster of Amsterdam. The day following, it
was transferred to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, where it was
received with appropriate ceremonies by Antoine de Jussieu, professor
of botany in charge. This tree was destined to be the progenitor of
most of the coffees of the French colonies, as well as of those of
South America, Central America, and Mexico.
consumption can lead to iron deficiency anemia in mothers and infants.
Coffee also interferes with the absorption of supplemental iron.
Interference with iron absorption is due to the polyphenols present in
Although the inhibition of iron absorption can cause an iron
deficiency, iron is considered a carcinogen in relation to the liver
and can increase risks of hepatocellular carcinoma, more commonly known
as liver cancer. Polyphenols contained in coffee are therefore
associated with decreasing the risk of liver cancer development.