A LONG EXCITING TALE, A LEGEND WITH ROOTS IN THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD…
The Ethiopian legend says that Kaldi, a goat shepherd, noticed that his goats became very active and could not sleep at night after eating fruits from a certain tree. He then decided to try out the leaves of the bush and felt full of energy and excitement.
Kaldi went to the Abbot of the monastery next to his pastures, holding some branches of the mysterious tree. After the Abbot heard the whole story, he decided to cook the branches to sadly get the bitterest drink he ever tried. He threw the pot into the fire and surprisingly smelled an exquisite aroma. The idea to get a drink out of the roasted "cherries" came to him, and this is how coffee, the drink, came to life.
Soon, this finding was spread across the Arabian Peninsula, and it was then when the whole longer story started.
The Arabian Peninsula
Another story says that Sudanese slaves used to chewing berries to survive their hard journey. According to this version, this is how coffee reached Arabia from Ethiopia.
Religion also has an important share in the coffee story. Islamic legend mentions that it was "Sheikh Omar" who discovered coffee, finding it while living as a recluse in Mocha, a well-known spot of coffee production in Yemen.
Sheikh Omar boiled some berries and found out that the resulting brew enjoyed a unique stimulating and healing effect at the same time.
In a nutshell, by the 15th century, Arabs started the coffee trade, they were the first to do it, and Yemen was the center of this activity. By the 16th century, coffee became famous in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Soon, coffee was called "the Arab Wine".
Getting confused about the origin of coffee is easy, since many of the old legends that talk about the farming of coffee plants and drinking of coffee emerge from the Arab countries. It is not clear how coffee reached Yemen from Ethiopia, but some tell that the Yemenites were almost surely the first coffee growers in the region and even worldwide. The only thing that seems certain is that it originated in Ethiopia, from where it traveled to Yemen about 600 years ago, and from Arabia it began its journey around the world.
Coffee was sort of mysterious to Europeans. By the 17th century, this drink paved the way to Europe and became prominent. The new "invention" had also foes who called it "the bitter invention of Satan". However, in 1615, Pope Clement VIII accepted to try it before making the final decision of prohibition. He found it so delicious that he granted it Papal consent.
Drinking coffee in public became very common in England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland, and coffee houses spread all around Europe despite the debates.
The New Land
In the mid-1600's, coffee reached "New York". However, the latest discovery was still rivaled by tea until 1773 when the American mind changed towards coffee that became the favorite drink, because of huge taxes imposed on tea by King George.
Coffee: an international invasion
Despite the strivings of Arabs to monopolize coffee, coffee trade gradually expanded and reached Germany, India, and other regions worldwide. Only one century was enough for coffee to become a common crop, trade, and drink, all around the world.
Did you know?
"Chaoua" was the first word that referred to "coffee" in English, starting 1598. The word "coffee" in English, as well as in other European languages, derives from the Turkish "kahve". Nevertheless, the original source is Arabic "kahwa". Others say that the real origin is the Ethiopian "kadda", the land where this plant was initially discovered. Mostly, Arabs are still the ones who gave the drink its common name.