History of Coffee
The history and development of the beverage that we know as
coffee is varied and interesting, involving chance occurrences,
political intrigue, and the pursuit of wealth and
According to one story the effect of coffee beans on
behaviour was noticed by a sheep herder named Kaldi as he
tended his sheep. He noticed that the sheep became hyper-active
after eating the red "cherries" from a certain plant when they
changed pastures. He tried a few himself, and was soon as
overactive as his herd. The story relates that a monk happened
by and scolded him for "partaking of the devil's fruit."
However the monks soon discovered that this fruit from the
shiny green plant could help them stay awake for their
Another legend gives us the name for coffee or "mocha". An
Arabian was banished to the desert with his followers to die of
starvation. In desperation, Omar had his friends boil and eat
the fruit from an unknown plant. Not only did the broth save
the exiles, but their survival was taken as a religious sign by
the residents of the nearest town, Mocha. The plant and its
beverage were named Mocha to honour this event.
One early use for coffee would have little appeal today. The
Galla tribe from Ethiopia used coffee, but not as a drink. They
would wrap the beans in animal fat as their only source of
nutrition while on raiding parties. The Turks were the first
country to adopt it as a drink, often adding spices such as
clove, cinnamon, cardamom and anise to the brew.
Coffee was introduced much later to countries beyond Arabia
whose inhabitants believed it to be a delicacy and guarded its
secret as if they were top secret military plans.
Transportation of the plant out of the Moslem nations was
forbidden by the government. The actual spread of coffee was
started illegally. One Arab named Baba Budan smuggled beans to
some mountains near Mysore, India and started a farm there.
Early in this century the descendants of those original plan
were found still growing fruitfully in the region.
Coffee was believed by some Christians to be the devil's
drink. Pope Vincent III heard this and decided to taste it
before he banished it. He enjoyed it so much he baptised it,
saying "coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the
infidels have exclusive use of it."
Coffee today is grown and enjoyed worldwide, and is one of
the few crops that small farmers in third-world countries can
The quality of the coffee depends on how
the plant is being grown and the type of coffee beans
being used and roasted. Therefore, to make a fragrant coffee ,
these two factors are extremely important.