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Today, most people around the world—representing all age groups and demographics—cannot go about the day without their daily dose of coffee. Everyone, from employees to people who stay at home, depends on coffee to get through the day. This beverage has been with us for centuries, but there’s still a debate about origin of coffee.
Where did coffee originate? When was coffee invented? Want to know about the legends of coffee?
Let’s get started with then.
First Discovery in Ethiopia
Who invented coffee?
The beloved beans were first discovered by goat herder Kaldi in 9th century AD. According to legend, Kaldi came across coffee after observing that his goats became so energized after consuming the berries from a particular tree that they refused to sleep at night. Kaldi discovered the cause of the commotion to be a small shrub (or, according to some legends, a group of shrubs). Kaldi also felt the energizing effects of the coffee cherries and went to take the berries for himself.
Then he gave the beans to a monastery. One monk threw his coffee beans into the fire, calling them “the Devil’s work.” Following the legend, the monks were drawn in by the aroma of roasting beans. They tried to preserve the beans in a hot water-filled ewer after taking them out of the blaze and crushing them to put out the flames.
More monks were drawn in by the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee. They gave it a try and felt the uplifting results for themselves, and soon the legend of coffee began to spread far and wide.
The Spread of Coffee in the Arabia Peninsula
Coffee became the preferred beverage among Muslims during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and eventually, it spread to Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. This modern beverage underwent a revolution in the 1200s. The Muslim population of Arabia started brewing coffee at this time for its stimulant properties. The drink was used at the time to keep them awake during lengthy prayer sessions.
Then, as coffee gained popularity, it was not only consumed at home but also in the numerous qahveh khaneh (aka public coffee houses) that started to spring up in cities all over the Near East.
From the Middle East to Europe
Even though coffee may have originated in Ethiopia and spread rapidly to the Middle East, it has now made Europe its home after hundreds of years. So, when was coffee discovered in Europe?
Coffee first reached Europe in Hungary in 1526, when the Turks invaded the country during the War of Mohács. The same Turks who fought the Europeans during the Siege of Vienna brought coffee to the territory within a year (1529).
Pope Clement VIII declared the beverage to be satanic in 1615. But after closer examination, he gave in to the beverage’s glory, baptized it, and branded it a Christian drink.
Like Arabia, this popularity led to coffee shops which then developed into social hubs where people could have stimulating conversations and political debates. Over 300 coffee shops existed in London by the middle of the 17th century, and many of them attracted customers who shared common interests, such as businessmen, shippers, brokers, and artists.
The Rise in Plantation Across The World
Intense competition existed to grow coffee outside of Arabia as the demand for the beverage grew. During the second half of the seventeenth century, the Dutch, at last, received seedlings. The first Dutch coffee farms were established in Malaba, India, using the plants that were taken. To increase coffee production, coffee plants were transported to Batavia, the former Indonesian capital, in 1699. After a while, the Dutch surpassed all other coffee suppliers in Europe.
Coffee Makes It to America
Coffee arrived in New Amsterdam, which the British later renamed New York, in the middle of the 1600s. Later on, Gabriel de Clieu, a young naval officer, acquired a seedling from the King’s plant in 1723. He transported it successfully to Martinique despite a difficult journey.
The seedling not only flourished after being planted but it is also credited with causing the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique over the following fifty years. The fact that this seedling gave rise to all coffee trees in the Caribbean, South, and Central America is even more astounding.
This is where we end our folklore coffee guide.