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Coffee - Even Monks Drank the Stuff

September 05, 2016 Kelly Duffner

            Coffee, with the exception of water, is constantly tying with tea as the world’s most consumed beverage, being enjoyed in homes and cafes across the globe.

            But coffee wasn’t always the massive export it is today, and started with a very humble background. In around 850 A.D, a goat herder known as Kaldi noticed his goats were full of energy, running around and restless, after eating berries from a certain shrub. Kaldi decided to try the berries for himself, and found that they made him rather energetic as well.

            Not long after, a monk soon stumbled across Kaldi, and decided to try these berries for himself. This monk picked some berries, let them dry, and then crushed them into a powder using a mortar and pestle. After that, he added some boiling water, let it cool, and then drank it. This is what many call the first cup of coffee.

            The monk then noticed that the liquid he was drinking was having the same energy inducing effects it had on Kaldi and his goats. The monk, with a new found pep in his step, rushed back to his monastery to tell his fellow monks. The monastery was full of excitement at this new beverage, as it would allow them to stay awake during long periods of prayer, and touted it as a gift from the Lord.

            At around 1000 A.D, Arabian traders brought coffee from Ethiopia back to their homeland, Yemen. This is where the first coffee plants were cultivated and farmed, and eventually roasted.

            Coffee then soon spread with the spread of Islam, as Muslims believed this mythical brew could prevent evil from coming to them. Though, before exporting coffee, the Arabs would boil the beans to prevent them from being able to sprout anywhere else, to maximize profits. Eventually, an Indian pilgrim smuggled some of the unboiled coffee beaks out of Mecca, which lead to another large influx in coffee production.

            In 1650 or so, a merchant found out how amazing coffee was, so he decided to take it back with him to Italy. Coffee soon entered Italy through the Port of Venice thanks to this merchant, and lead to the growth of coffee all across Europe.

            Not long after the expansion of coffee throughout Europe, Brazil decided to break up the coffee monopoly that the French and Dutch had. A man named Francisco de Melo Palheta soon arrived in France, and tried to find a way to get some coffee for himself. He ended up meeting a woman who gave him a bouquet, which had fertile coffee seeds hidden inside of it. Because of this, Brazil has become the world’s largest coffee producing region in the world.

            Nowadays, coffee is enjoyed all across the world through a plethora of different brewing methods. Coffee chains have popped up in different cities, making coffee more accessible to those who don’t want to brew at home, and home brewing is as easy as it ever has been since coffee was first discovered.



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