We all know that coffee is portrayed in range of forms: ground, whole beans, instant or even freshly prepared and ready to drink. But we rarely know where this bean comes from – which is really the seed of a fruit that has gone through the fermentation process. This gives it the ability to have characteristics that when roasted and infused with water, can be described by its peculiar aroma, which is globally recognized. Whether it’s because we started drinking it at home to wake up or on those relaxed afternoons, we often meet, chat or wind down in the renowned places we call our coffee shops.
The world of coffee has several legends of its beginnings and the most famous comes from Ethiopia, which is widely considered the cradle of coffee. Many experts say that Ethiopia is the only place where coffee grows natively, and the legend of Kaldi is told again and again. Kaldi was a goat herder who discovered the coffee after observing how energetic his goats behaved after eating some cherries. Later he brought these cherries to the monastery and shared them with the monks who exclaimed that they were the work of the Devil and threw them into the fire. The aroma of the beans that were roasted in the fire was heavenly and the beans were torn from the fire and crushed to extinguish the embers. Realizing their mistake, they placed them in a jar and covered them with hot water for their conservation. Later, the monks drank the brew and helped them stay awake during night devotions. Although this story is funny, it was probable that the people of the nomadic Galla tribe discovered the coffee plant for the first time, along with its invigorating properties. This was then used for ceremonies and special cases.
What is clear to experts is that the first coffee plant came from Ethiopia. Native tribes milled the coffee cherries together, to give energy to the warriors for battle. During these ancient times, it was thought that the stimulating properties of coffee were a kind of religious ecstasy. The drink gained a mystical reputation, wrapped in secrecy and associated with priests and doctors.
The cultivation of coffee began in the fifteenth century. For many centuries, the Yemen province of Arabia was the only source in the world. The demand was very high and the beans that left the Yemen port of Mocha were very protected. The fertile plants were not allowed to leave the country.
Despite the restrictions, Muslim pilgrims to Mecca smuggled coffee plants to their countries of origin and coffee crops soon took root in India.
The rest is history, with the creation of coffee shops we’re able to consume the famous instant coffee and now the world is buzzing with a new generation of ‘coffee geeks’. The coffee world grows more and more every day – there’s always is something new to learn from this bean!