Legend or the most common story that tells us about the beginnings of coffee starts in the plateaus of Ethiopia. The story centers a goat herder named Kaldi, in 6th century Kaffa province of Ethiopia. Legend has it that Kaldi noticed his flock of goats became so energetic that they wouldn’t sleep at night after they had eaten the berries and leaves of an unknown plant.
Kaldi then reported his finding to the local monastery, where the monks themselves made a drink with the berries. After roasting, grinding and various different trials they found that a a unique drink is obtained from the berries.They noted that this beverage kept them alert through long hours of evening prayers. Word of this beverage spread and it was soon drunk in coffee houses in the holy city of Mecca and Medina.
By the 15th century the propagation of coffee began in the Arabian peninsula, it was being grown in Yemen and by the 16th century in Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Syria. Not only was coffee enjoyed in homes but also in coffee houses, which became very popular as a hub of culture and information, it was often referred to as “the school of the wise”
The following century, European travelers caught wind of the ‘Wine of the Araby’ and soon began taking it back home. By the 17th century coffee spread throughout Europe. Many were suspicious of the dark, bitter new beverage and asked the pope to intervene, The pope decided to taste the beverage and decided he liked it so much, it got the papal approval!
Very soon coffee began to replace breakfast beverages like wine and beer, coffee houses sprung up in Germany, Holland, England, France. By 18th century there over 300 or more coffee houses in London alone!
As demand grew for this beverage, so did plantations around the world. By the end of the 18th century coffee became one of the world’s most profitable crops!