The Initial Discovery


Coffee plants are originally from Ethiopia although it was always thought they originated from the Republic of Yemen. It is easy to get confused about the origin since many of the old legends that talk about the farming of coffee plants and drinking of coffee take place in the Arab countries.

Among some of the oldest written records that make reference to coffee is one called "The Success of Coffee", written by a wise man from Mecca named Abu-Bek in the beginnings of the XV century and translated to French in 1699 by Antoine de Gailland, the same translator of "A Thousand and One Arabian Nights".

The strongest and most accepted legend about the discovery and drinking of coffee is the one making reference to the goat shepard named Kaldi. Legend says that Kaldi noticed the strange behaviour of his goats after they had eaten the fruit and leafs of a certain bush. The goats were jumping around and running full of excitement and energy. The bush that Kaldi thought his goats had eaten from had cherry-like fruits. Kaldi decided to try out the leaves of the bush and later on he too felt full of energy.

Kaldi then took some of the bush's fruit and branches to a monastery close to his pasture grounds. He told the Abbot the story of his goats and of how he too had felt after eating the leaves. The Abbot decided to cook the branches and cherries but the result was such a bitter drink that he threw the entire pot and its concoction into the fire. When the cherries started to burn, the beans inside them produced such a pleasant aroma that it gave the abbot the idea of making a drink based on the roasted beans, and this is how coffee as a drink came to be.

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