Coffee has become a worldwide go-to for caffeine consumption, however, its exact origin isn’t quite known. There are many legends that claim to tell the true story of how coffee was discovered. To shed some light on some of them and to honor National Caffeine Awareness Month, which is celebrated in March, Tristar Inc. reviews the history of coffee.
Ethiopian Legend has it that the coffee we know and love today can trace its lineage back to coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. It is said that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the effects of the coffee bean.
Kaldi figured it out when his goats ate the beans and were too energetic to sleep at night. Kaldi then shared his discovery with a local monk who made a drink with the beans and found it that it not only kept him up longer but also made him more alert. The monk shared it with other monks and the monastery and word quickly moved east. Coffee beans then reached the Arabian Peninsula, which allowed them to be distributed across the world during the 15th and 16th centuries.
By the 17th century, European travelers brought back stories of this dark black beverage that they referred to as “wine of Araby” and it didn’t take long for coffee to become popular across Europe.
Coffee houses became a popular place for social activity and communication in major countries and cities across the continent such as England, France, Austria, Holland, and Germany. By the mid-17th century, London had more than 300 coffee houses, which helped bring together many like-minded people.
Before coffee, beer and wine were still popular beverages for breakfast. Coffee replaced alcohol and allowed people to start their days energized and alert. It is said that many successful businesses grew out of these early European coffee houses.
Coffee’s presence in the Americas started in South America, and started with a seedling from a coffee plant that belonged to King Louis XIV. French naval officer Gabriel de Clieu planted the seed on the island of Martinique after a long, arduous journey and over the next 50 years that seedling became the parent of all the coffee plants in the Caribbean, South America, and Central America.
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