What does a goat have to do with coffee?

What does a goat have to do with coffee?

What does a goat have to do with coffee?

The answer is – everything. According to a popular legend, around the ninth century, a goat herder named Kaldi frantically searched the Ethiopian highlands for his beloved goats. He found them frolicking in the strange bushes, jumping wildly and yelling. It did not take long for Kaldi to realize that his goats were eating small red berries.

And so the humble coffee bean began its journey. Taking a handful of berries, the boy went to visit the nearby monastery, to ask for advice. The monks, however, did not share Kaldi’s excitement. Instead, they proclaimed the red berries a Devil’s creation and threw them into the fire. The story would probably end here, but as the seeds within roasted in the fire, the potent aroma caught the monks’ curiosity. They gathered the roasted beans from the ashes, ground them, and tossed them into hot water. They tried the brew, and the rest is history – or shall we say, a coffee story.

Coffee started gaining in popularity in the Arabian Peninsula and the Ottoman Empire, first as an energy-rich snack ball (mixed with fat) and later as wine. The actual name coffee derives from the word qahwah which is the Yemeni term for wine.

Although there are other Yemenite origin stories for coffee, when a mystic was traveling through Ethiopia running into some energetic birds who had been eating berries from the bunn plants.

All these stories are widely understood as apocryphal as the discovery of coffee cherries and the roasting and steeping of beans likely did not happen on the same day, but rather over a long period of time. 

The pits of the cherry-like berry won their place in European society in 1615, when Venetian merchants brought them home from Istanbul. Thirty years later, the first coffee houses were opened in Italy and spread from there to the rest of the continent. Today, there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries that are involved in coffee processing or production.

Coffee is one of the most widely traded agricultural commodities on earth. An average person drinks about 1.6 cups of coffee per day.

It is always worth knowing the history behind your morning cup of coffee.

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