Coffee’s history is as widely debated as which is the best flavour. Arabica, Robusta, country of origin, roasting... there’s so much to consider. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s talk about the myths and legends surrounding this peculiar brew.
The only thing that we know for sure about coffee is that the plant, Coffea, originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. Coincidence? We don’t know! The story goes that a man was wandering around the plateaus of Kaffa, staving, desperate, and came upon a beautiful bush full of red fruits and white flowers. He took one of these little red fruits and ate it, discovering that inside were two big beans. Not only did he feel full afterwards, but he felt so awake and energized that he rushed back to share the plant with his tribe.
The Kaffa story is a great one, but it’s not the only tale. Some fairy tales say that Gabriel, the angel, gave some hot, black liquid to Mahomet who promptly slayed 40 knights on horseback and then went on to service the likes of 40 virgins – all in a day’s work. Well, we are not so sure that’s enough to prove coffee’s origins.
Coffee first appeared in literature around 900 AD. It was written about as a medicine by physician and philosopher Razi, from Persia. He referred to it as “bunchum”. It was also written about in Yemen where Sufi monks used it to keep themselves awake so they could pray all through the night.
We may never know coffee’s birth story. What we do know, is that without the Turks and the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, coffee never would have been a household staple in all of our morning routines. For that, we’re eternally thankful!