Theres what looks to be an interesting article on coffee in the March/April issue of American Scientist. Ill have a copy of the mag in about a week as soon as my friend finishes reading it. :)

The brief on the article as quoted from:

The Rise of Coffee

From humble origins in Africa, this plants flavorful seeds started as a botanical curiosity and expanded to a worldwide staple

Fernando E. Vega

From its humble origins in Africa, coffee has risen to worldwide prominence, giving a lift to countless tired individuals every day. Vega recounts the tale of coffees breakout cultivation of over 10 million hectares, from just a few seeds of two species, through Yemen and Cairo to Europe and then to Asia. He has collected botanical drawings of coffee from the 1700s-1800s to illustrate how the plant has advanced from a curiosity to a staple. Vega also describes how the chemistry of coffee processing produces distinctive aromas and tastes. Recent work on the coffee genome may help decipher what gives this "black wine" its vibrancy.

Java "Coffee as Science?" phile