Although coffee has been enjoyed for centuries, nobody really knows when or how it was actually discovered. There are some legends about the origin of coffee; however, there is no way of knowing if there is any truth to any of them.
One legend is about a goat herder named Kaldie in 9th century Ethiopia that witnessed his goats were more energetic after eating some berries from a certain tree. After reporting this to the local monastery the abbot made a drink with the berries and found that he too felt more alert. After that, word traveled first to the Middle East and then the rest of the world, ultimately beginning our love for coffee.
The first mention of coffee is from 10th century Persia. By the 16th century, it had spread to the rest of the Middle East and on to Italy and the rest of Europe. It was enjoyed by people in their homes and also the many coffee houses that started opening.
Although coffee seemed to be loved by most who tried it, there was some that called it the “bitter invention of Satan” and some religious leaders in the Middle East and Europe that banned the drink. When coffee was first introduced to Venice in 1615 it caused a lot of controversies until Pope Clement VIII tried it himself and enjoyed it so much, he gave it his approval. Coffee was brought to New York City and the US in the mid-1600s although it didn’t become the drink of choice until 1773 after the Boston Tea Party
With the popularity of coffee also came the demand to cultivate it in areas other than Arabia. It was the Netherlands who were the first country in Europe to start up coffee plantations. Their plantations in Indonesia supplied Europe’s need for coffee until the 1800s when Brazil became the largest exporter of coffee.
Once the coffee was being produced on a larger scale, it became more accessible to the average person and was no longer a drink just for the wealthy.
Brazil has stayed on as the largest producer of coffee presently with Vietnam coming in second. Coffee became the world’s largest export by the end of the 1700s and presently comes second only to oil.
We may not know exactly how or when coffee was first discovered but it has been the most popular drink worldwide for at least 400 years.
It’s amazing to think about people gathered in coffee houses to socialize and have a hot cup of coffee back in the 17th century the same as we still do today. Although the conversation topics have changed, the idea behind it has stayed the same. Or perhaps we still discussed the weather and our partners then as well.
Somehow, not only is coffee delicious but it seems to bring people together. So, whether we owe our love of coffee to some goat herder over a thousand years ago or not, I’m sure most of us are thankful to have that delicious drink as a part of our lives.