Coffee is a fairly recent discovery in the world
of beverages. There are several stories about
how it was first discovered.
One involves a traveling Muslim mystic from Yemen who
noticed erratic behavior in birds after they
ate coffee beans.
Another story involves a starving exile who out of
desperation boiled hard coffee beans to eat, but was
so revitalized on drinking the water that he
was sustained for days.
Our favorite story involves an Ethiopian goatherd
named Kaldi. He noticed the energizing
effect that coffee beans had on his goats.
We imagine dancing goats.
When he tried them, he was also energized. He took
them to a Muslim Imam who disapproved of
them and threw them in the fire. The goatherd
noticed a pleasant aroma from the fire and
collected the beans. He ground them
and soaked them in hot water.
And voila, coffee was born.
The earliest verifiable evidence we have of the
existence of coffee is from the middle of the 15th century where coffee was drunk in Muslim monasteries around the city of Mocha, Yemen. It spread from there to Egypt to Persia to Turkey. From Turkey it spread to Italy over trading routes across the Mediterranean. From there it quickly spread throughout the world.