Kaldi Coffee Discovery

The story of coffee has its beginnings in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant; coffee Arabica, which still grows wild in the forest of the highlands. While nobody is sure exactly how coffee was originally discovered as a beverage, it is believed that its cultivation and use began as early as the 9th century. The only thing that seems certain is that it originated in Ethiopia, from where it travelled to Yemen about 600 years ago, and from Arabia it began its journey around the world.

The Ethiopian legend surrounding the discovery of the coffee bean revolves around an inquisitive goat herdsman Kaldi. Kaldi's goats' behavior became suspiciously noisy, exaggerated, and enthusiastic one afternoon. He observed his goats eating a bright red cherry off nearby trees. In interest, Kaldi decided to try one of these obscure berries and was excited to discover the berries had the same energetic effect on him as it did his goats. Kaldi sped home to his wife with his pockets stuffed with these berries. She was as excited as he was and, convinced they were a gift from God, sent Kaldi to their local monastery. The monk was skeptical of this so-called miraculous discovery and declared the berries from the devil while throwing them into the fire. An enticing aroma began to saturate the room drawing other monks in curiosity. They knelt down and scooped up the now roasted berries to cover them with hot water for preservation. That night the monks sat up drinking the rich fragrant brew and discovered for themselves the novel sense of elation and energy. They committed to drinking the brew every night to help them stay awake during night prayers. From Ethiopia, the ingenious coffee beans made their way north to Yemen and eventually became a staple drink in Arabia. Over time the legend of and love for coffee spread throughout Europe and was eventually exported to various colonies around the world. An insignificant goat herdsman in the solitude of the Ethiopian hills made one of history's most significant beverage discoveries that has led to revolutions, epiphanies, innovations, and a socially based coffee-drinking culture. It was the Arabs who first roasted coffee, produced it, and marketed it as a drink in defiance of a ban issued by the religious authorities in Mecca.