It is a well known fact that coffee is one of the most traded commodities of the modern world. What is not as well known is that hidden in coffee’s historic past are many conflicts, struggles and persecutions over the control and use of coffee.
Vast empires have been formed and wars fought over this most intriguing plant. Historical accounts of the coffee bean show that the rulers of old went to enormous lengths to protect their most prized crop, and more than one banned the drinking of coffee.
The history of coffee reads like a modern day suspense novel, with almost unbelievable twists and turns. So go grab a nice hot cup of Java and prepare to learn some of the most interesting tidbits of the history of coffee!
Although no one knows the exact origin of coffee or who really discovered it, there are many stories across several cultures, but the most commonly told one is about a goat herder named Kaldi. The story goes that Kaldi would take his herd of goats into the mountains to graze by day. This gave him all day to relax and play the pipe. At the end of the day he would blow a special note on his pipe and his goats would run back from their grazing, ready for the walk home.
One day as he repeatedly blew on his pipe, the goats did not come back. A bit confused, he climbed higher and eventually heard the sound of his goats off in the distance. He finally caught up with his goats, which were running around, dancing on their hind legs, butting each other and acting very strange, but appeared to be having lots of fun! As he watched the goats he thought that they must have had a spell put on them, what else could it be but magic?
Eventually the goats followed him home, and since they did not die of the magic, he took them back up the mountain to graze the next day. The goats immediately ran back to the same spot as yesterday. Kaldi watched as they began to eat the leaves and red cherries of a strange tree. He figured it must have been the trees that made his goats go crazy. As the goats seemed perfectly fine otherwise, Kaldi decided to chew on the leaves and cherries himself and eventually he ate the seeds inside the cherries as well.
The story goes that soon he was singing, reciting poetry and playing along with his goats. He was wide awake and felt like he’d never be tired again. He told his father about the magical trees and the rest, as they say, is history.