In the year 1602 the Dutch government established the “Dutch East India Company” (VOC; Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie) as a chartered company and granted it a 21-year monopoly on the Dutch spice trade. This was the first model of what we consider today a multinational corporation.
During the late 17th century, coffeehouses spread all over Europe and the Dutch, English and French started to trade coffee from different Arab ports. The Arabs had forbidden the trade coffee in fertile beans or plants, of course, they wanted to keep their monopoly, but when coffee became very popular in Europe around the 1690, and political problems in the Arab countries threatened coffee imports, different European countries tried to get coffee plants or seedlings for trading purposes.
The coffee plants were introduced in Batavia (today Jakarta) Indonesia in 1696. In 1711 the first coffee exports were shipped from Java to Europe. The first coffee shipment was around 450 kg. Ten years later the export had already grown to 60.000 kg.
Originally coffee was cultivated only in Java, but in 1870, the Dutch expanded growing areas of Arabica to Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi and Timor. In northern Sumatra, coffee was first cultivated near Lake Toba in 1888; and then in the Mountains of Gayo, near lake Tawar, by 1924.