Coffee is far from just being a standard part of almost everyone’s morning routine, and has some serious history behind it. Although, like many things with more than a thousand years of history before them, it’s kind of difficult to pinpoint some of the exact details. The origin of coffee and its history is very interesting and is worth the read. So, let’s get into the fun facts!
Origin Tales & History Facts
Odds are that, if you’ve ever done some casual research into the matter, you’ve heard the tale of Kaldi. Kaldi was an Ethiopian goatherd who, while guiding his goats through a highland, noticed some of them dancing about excitedly on their hind legs. This effect which seemed to be brought on by the strange red berries they had eaten from a nearby shrub. Trying the berries for himself, and feeling similarly exhilarated, Kaldi brought the beans to a nearby monastery, where the monks derived a means of roasting them, grinding them, and dissolving them in hot water. Thus, modern coffee drink was first born.
Of course, given the rather specific details of this tale, it’s likely that it – and the many others like it – are mostly fictitious. Indeed, we can’t even be sure precisely where coffee was first discovered. The earliest reliable records of it come from 15th century Yemen; but given where it’s known to grow, it’s possible that it was first imported there from Ethiopia.
Coffee in the Middle East & Europe
Either way, from that point, we can trace the history of coffee pretty quickly from this point onwards. As mentioned, evidence indicates that it was a phenomenon in the region of Yemen from at least the 15th century – and from there, it quickly spread to much of the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
In many ways, coffee – or, as it would have been known in the region, qahwa or kahve – established a place in Middle Eastern society very similar to its role today. Besides being enjoyed in homes, coffee was also served in coffee houses and establishments – which, given the popularity of the drink, quickly became social hubs.
And naturally, given the existing trade routes between them, it was not long before coffee reached Europe. First arriving in Venice, the newfangled drink was met with some hostility at first, with some Catholics branding the drink “the bitter invention of Satan” thanks to its intoxicating effects, as well as its origins in the Islamic world. Gradually, the controversy cleared up, mainly coming to an end after Pope Clement VIII publically sampled the drink; but even before that, coffee houses quickly became as much of a widespread phenomenon in Europe as they were in the Middle East.
Coffee in America
The Americas were still mainly under colonial control when coffee first reached Europe; and as a result, it was, naturally, not long after that the drink first reached American shores. British ships first brought the drink to New York (or New Amsterdam, as it was then known) in the mid-17th century. Shortly after its initial arrival in Britain and about a century later (around the time of the Boston Tea Party), the widespread boycotting of tea in the USA would elevate coffee to America’s very favorite hot drink.
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