An Exploration Into The History of Coffee


Although no one is quite sure when coffee first made its introduction into mainstream consciousness, many historians believe that the first cups of coffee were brewed as early as the 10th Century. There are many reports and legends that circulate the reasons for its first use. The origin of coffee seems to come from Ethiopia. According to one of the most popular theories, legend says that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the potential of these rare beans.

As the story goes, Kaldi discovered the unique effects of coffee beans after he saw that some of his flock were consuming the berries from a unique tree. After several minutes, he noticed his goats were so energized they didn’t want to sleep, which was a rarity for his flock. As he made his way back to his town, he reported these sighting to the abbot at the local monastery. Of course, he brought with him a sack of these “magical” berries. After giving the abbot these berries, the abbot decided to brew himself a cup of what is considered the world’s first cup of coffee.

Upon consuming this concoction, the abbot found it to have strange, yet satisfying, effects. He found that upon consumption, he was highly alert throughout the long hours of prayer that followed. The next day, the abbot shared his experiences with other members of the monastery. Soon, these magical effects spread across the land. Through a complex network of conversations, word of coffee beans made its way to the Arabian peninsula. From here, coffee began its long journey to our cabinets.

coffee-fair-tradeThe first official cultivation of the coffee trade began in the 15th Century along the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee was being shipped to outlying areas, and by the 16th Century, coffee export reaches Egypt, Turkey, Persia and Syria.

As its popularity grew, coffee was not only enjoyed in the comfort of homes, but the first coffee houses began to pop-up throughout these regions; specifically in the Near East. As today, the popularity of coffee houses boomed and these establishments soon became the center of local social encounters.

It wasn’t until the 17th Century that European countries began to experience the energizing effects of coffee. Of course, many Europeans feared this dark beverage. Some even went so far to call it the “bitter invention of Satan.” With local clergy condemning coffee, Pope Clement VIII was asked to review this demon drink. However, his experience was a positive one. In fact, he became such a fan of the energizing effects of coffee, he gave these magical beans the official papal approval. From here, coffee made its way into the hearts – and minds – of users across the world, and eventually, into our homes and lives.