Ever wonder how coffee was first discovered?
If you simply just love coffee for the sake of coffee, you may not have even bothered to think about it's origins. It's kind of like thinking about the discovery of the wheel. While different, it's no less important. At least for those that love their coffee as much as we do.
There are a few tales out there about the discovery of coffee that are mostly just...stories. In truth, no one knows for 100% certainty the exact moment that coffee came to be. However, we would like to share with you one of our favorite legends.
How did it all supposedly start?
It's widely known that the origins of coffee can be traced all the way back to the Ethiopian plateau. Its heritage can be traced back centuries to the ancient coffee forests in this region.
Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi first discovered coffee berries in this region around 750 AD. He noticed that his goats acted very strange and began to dance around after eating berries from a particular tree. The goats became so energetic that they didn't want to sleep during the night.
So, Kaldi took some of these berries to a local Islamic monastery to examine his findings. The abbot of the monastery supposedly thought them useless and threw them into a fire. As the berries roasted, a pleasant aroma began to waft from the fire. The abbot removed what was left of the berries and decided to taste them. They tasted rather pleasant, so he then decided to grind some of them to make into a drink. The first cup of coffee was born.
Low and behold, the abbot discovered that this drink kept him alert during his long hours of evening prayer. He shared this energizing drink with other monks at the monastery, and word of these magical berries began to spread around.
As news of this berry traveled east across the Arabian peninsula, it thus began its long journey around the world.
Where did it go from there?
Most everything about coffee began on the Arabian peninsula. By the 15th century, coffee was being grown and traded in the Yemeni district of Arabia which later became known as Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.
Coffee was widely consumed in homes in this region as well as in new 'coffee houses' that had popped up all around the area. Here, travelers could come from all over the world and listen to music, watch performers, play games, and keep up with news. These coffee houses became such popular centers for gathering that they became known as "Schools of the Wise."
European travelers that had been to the near east came back with stories of this unusual black beverage they had tasted. So, by the 17th century, coffee had spread to Europe and continued its journey across the continent.
As more people were becoming aware of this mysterious new beverage, so did their fear and suspicion. It was referred to in some cases as the "bitter invention of Satan." There was so much fear, in fact, that the Pope was called in to examine it. He found it so tasty that he gave it papal approval.
There were over 300 coffee houses in London by the mid-17th century. People began to replace beer and wine as their breakfast beverage of choice with coffee. Those that drank coffee instead of alcohol began the day alert and energized, and not surprisingly, the quality of their work greatly improved.
Coffee was brought to New Amsterdam (later known as New York) in the mid-1600's by the British. However, tea was the favored drink in the New World until about 1773 when the revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee.
By the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops. Since then, coffee has been widely grown on plantations all across the globe to accommodate our ever growing desire for this tasty beverage. With some failed attempts and successes, coffee is mass produced all along the zone bordering the equator in lush tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. After crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world and has become a billion-dollar industry.
Thomas Jefferson was known to have said "Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world."
We couldn't agree more.