Coffee Legend
and History

The popularity of coffee has endured for centuries,

transcending geographical and political boundaries.

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History of Coffee - Origin of Coffee
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World Coffee Consumption

Legend has it that coffee was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi in the high plateaus of Ethiopia. While his herd was feeding in a new location, Kaldi observed his goats nibbling on bright red berries. He sat and watched in amazement as the goats began to dance with glee. Kaldi gathered some of the berries and ate them and was suddenly filled with energy and alertness. Exited about his find, he took some cherries to a local monastery where a monk named Bilal listened to Kaldi's story. Bilal proclaimed the cherries evil and threw them in the fire to cleanse them. The beans began to roast and the aroma enticed the two to rake the beans from the burning embers. Bilal, placed the beans in a cup of water to cool the beans, as they were very hot. The two then crushed the beans in the water to dilute the taste and sipped the water. The two drank the first cup of coffee. Today, coffee continues to grow wild in Ethiopia.

Through trade, dating back as far as 800 B.C. and perhaps during the Ethiopian occupation of Yemen in the early sixth century, coffee found its way across the Red Sea to be cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula.

Initially, coffee was used as a medicine and as a beverage associated with religious ceremonies. From the holy cities of Mecca and Medina at the center of the Islamic world, the use of coffee spread to Egypt, Persia, and Syria. During periods of Muslim expansion between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, coffee appeared in Turkey, the Balkan states, Spain, and North Africa. Turkish bridegrooms were required to promise coffee for their wives-to-be; failure to provide this necessity of life could have resulted in divorce.

By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this delightful and compelling beverage--this drink of Islam--was enjoyed at coffee houses throughout the Middle East and in southern Europe. An institution had been born.

Despite efforts by early producers to control their wonderful commodity, coffee was smuggled to India. From there, the Dutch began cultivating Coffea arabica in Java on the Indonesian archipelago. And, in the eighteenth century, the French were transporting coffee trees to the Caribbean.

Today, coffee is grown on plantations and estates throughout the tropical regions of the world, and it is enjoyed as a beverage by coffee lovers worldwide. Few beverages offer such a universal appeal as coffee.

It's said that Beethoven used 60 coffee beans to brew each cup of coffee--counting the beans before brewing.

Turkish bridegrooms, as part of the wedding ceremony, would promise always to provide their wives with coffee. Failure to do so would have been "grounds" for divorce!

The botanical species, Coffea arabica, is the original coffee plant. It only can be grown successfully between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. It was first cultivated in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.