2.3.1 Coffea species
The formation of culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centres. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became popular meeting places for artists, writers, and socialites and were also the centre for much political and commercial activity.  Coffee houses also served tea and chocolate.
All commercial coffee species originate from Africa and belong to the genus Coffea. The high quality Coffea arabica species originates from the rainforests in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. One theory suggests that the Ethiopians took it to Yemen when they conquered the country by AD 500. Another hypothesis says that Arab merchants brought it initially to Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula, where it was cultivated and has contributed to the prosperity of the seaport of Mocca. This explains why Arabica coffee is associated with the name Mocca. although the prime centre of origin and diversity is on the African continent.
C. canephora varieties, including Robusta coffee, grow at lower altitude and fit well in the equatorial, warm and wet tropics below 1000 m: they occur naturally in the western Congo basin. Robusta coffee is resistant to coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) and. therefore, with the expansion of coffee production in the world it replaced Arabica in the areas where coffee leave rust was devastating the production. As for Arabica. some early Brazilian coffee was labelled after its major port of export. Santos.
There exist also two additional minor coffee species. Coffea libeiica originates from West Africa around Liberia. C. excelsa comes from the more continental and drier parts of Central Africa, mainly the Central African Republic. Genetically, the latter two species are now considered as a single complex. Nevertheless, practically all present cultivars are descendants of early coffee introductions from Ethiopia to Arabia (Yemen), where they were subjected to a relatively dry ecosystem without shade for a thousand years before being introduced to Asia and Latin America.
The early history of coffee growing followed the major colonial routes dominated by France, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal.,The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The material that followed these routes is of narrow genetic basis. One such cultivar 'Bourbon' originates from Bourbon (now Reunion) Island, the then French colony, and formed the basis of a larger part of Arabica plantations worldwide due to its excellent cup taste. Unfortunately, this cultivar is susceptible to coffee leaf rust. Many crossing programmes used Bourbon to cross with Hybrido de Timor, a natural inter-specific cross between C.arabica and C. canephora, but having a lower cup quality.