Coffee History 101
Coffee's exact origin is lost in the mists of legend. One story which has been connected with the discovery of coffee is of the goat herder Kaldi. In the sixth century, an Ethiopian goatherder named kaldi was leading his herd of tired, hungry goats is search of greener pastures. Weary of searching and eager to eat, Kaldi's herd began nibbling on sweet red berries off a strange bush. After having their fill, Kaldi's goats began acting very unusual. Old billy goats began to kick up their hoofs with an exuberance the prancing nannies found quite appealing. When Kaldi tried some of the strange berries, he was soon cavorting across the hillsides himself.
Kaldi confided his discovery of these miraculous berries to monks at a nearby monastery. Evening prayers for the monks soon became more pleasant, and world of these divine-sent berries spread. One version of this tale says that Muhammad appeared before the monk who was dozing off during prayers and instructed him to boil the red berries in water to create a drink to keep awake.
Until the tenth century, coffee was used as a food in Ethiopia. Rolled into balls with animal fat, coffee was often eaten on nomadic journeys. Later, the berries were crushed and a kind of wine was made with them.
By the thirteenth century, coffee's rejuvenating abilities was well known throughout the Islamic world. The drink became known as Qahwah which means "invigorating and stimulating". Since Qahwah is also the word for wine, which is prohibited by Muhammad, this magical coffee drink became known as Arab Wine. Often used as a medicine and a religious drink to keep the faithful awake during prayers. By the end of the fifteenth century, coffeehouses replace mosques as local meeting places.
Another legend tells of Omar, famous for healing others through prayer, he became exiled from the city of Mocha, on the Arabian peninsula. Living in a near by cave, he chewed berries from a bush to keep from starving. The berries were so bitter he tried roasting them to improve their flavor. When they became hard and brittle from roasting he tried boiling them to soften the berries. A fragrant brown liquid resulted from boiling, but Omar was so hungry he drank the liquid which immediately revitalized him. Word of Omar's healing brew reach Mocha and upon his return was made a saint.
Muslim expansion from the eleventh to sixteenth century spread coffees following throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Spain. Zealously guarded by Arabs to protect their valuable commodity, coffee eventually was spread to India by a religious pilgrim named Baba Budan. Form the seeds he smuggled to his home in India, coffee was spread worldwide.
Venetian traders first introduce coffee to Europe. Pope Clement VII, after one sip of coffee, decided this holy drink was worthy of baptism, and coffee became a social beverage of Europe's middle class.
The first coffeehouse opened in England in 1637. Coffeehouses quickly replace taverns as social, commercial and political gathering spots. Men with similar interest would gather at specific coffeehouses. Newspaper, banks and insurance companies were formed around the crowded wooden tables in these houses. Loyd's of London began as Edward Loyd's coffeehouse, a place where sea merchants and underwriters met to talk and do business.
This magical coffee drink became known as Arab Wine
Cafe Procope opened in Paris in 1689, and has been visited by Philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire. Even a young Frenchman named Napoleaon Bonaparte enjoyed a cup of coffee at it's tables.
Coffeehouses are where tipping started. Brass boxes conspicuously placed about establishments were posted with a sign saying "To Insure Promptness" to encourage customers to pay for efficient service.
Tea was the American drink until 1773 and the Boston Tea Party started the boycott of tea. Coffee was soon adopted as the American drink. An estimated forty-five million cups are brewed each day in the U.S