The story of coffee is as rich and complex as its flavor profile. In its initial 100 years, this enigmatic beverage went from an unknown wild berry to an esteemed drink that would eventually captivate the world.
The Beginning of Coffee
Legend traces coffee's roots to the Ethiopian plateaus, where the goat herder Kaldi first discovered its energizing effects around the 9th century. Noticing his goats dancing after eating red berries from a certain tree, Kaldi decided to try them himself. The revitalizing effects were immediate. Sharing this discovery with a local monastery, the monks used the berries to concoct a drink that would keep them awake during evening prayers. This might very well be the world's first cup of coffee.
Word spread to the Arabian Peninsula, where by the 15th century, coffee was not only being cultivated but was also becoming integral to the region's social and cultural fabric. In the city of Mecca, coffee began its journey as a social unifier. Yet, its potent effects stirred controversy. At different times, coffee was lauded for its medicinal properties or vilified and banned as a heretical substance. But love for coffee always prevailed.
Growing Popularity of Coffee
By the late 15th century, the port city of Mocha in Yemen became a significant trading hub for coffee. Mocha beans, as they were called, were zealously guarded. The export of fertile beans was forbidden. However, as the allure of coffee grew, this trade secret couldn't be contained for long.
The 16th century saw coffee houses, or 'qahveh khaneh,' spring up in cities across the Middle East, from Persia to Turkey. These establishments were not just places to enjoy coffee but were also venues for music, intellectual discussions, and even chess. The enchanting aroma of coffee began attracting Europe, and by the late 16th century, Venice saw its first coffeehouse.
The first century of coffee had set the stage. From a mysterious berry in Ethiopia to a prized possession in the Middle East, and a budding interest in Europe, coffee's journey had just begun. Its global conquest would accelerate in the centuries that followed, but its roots will forever remain grounded in its humble beginnings.
Check out our blog post over how coffee was discovered: https://sumatocoffee.com/blogs/coffee-connections/coffee-was-discovered-by-goats