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The Beginning of Coffee

According to legend -and this is the most commonly cited story of coffee’s origin- the energizing effects of the coffee bean were first noticed by a goat herder called Kaldi, who lived on the Ethiopian plateau way back during the 9th century.

One day Kaldi noticed that after some of his heard had grazed on the bright red cherry of the coffee plant they seemed to possess boundless energy, certainly more than the rest of his animals. As the story goes, this left them too energized to fall asleep at night, as their bundles of energy had them bounding all over the place.

From here, Kaldi tried the beans himself and found that they really were very invigorating. He chose to share his new discovery with the local monastery, who disregarded his anecdotes and threw the beans in the fire. A delectable aroma quickly began rising from the fire, and the beans were scrapped out for further investigation.

The monks then chose to crush the beans and add them to water. To their surprise, and joy, they found that the beverage gave them the same energy and vigor that it gave Kaldi and his goats, allowing them to stay awake and alert for evening mass. These monks passed their findings on to other monks and monasteries and so began the journey of coffee!

The earliest copy we have of any text containing this story comes from 1671 -seven hundred years after the fact- and that’s why it’s often cited as legend or myth. But it’s a beginning all the same!

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