Coffee is considered an essential part of the morning routine for many cultures. Whether you prefer to indulge in specialty coffee or take your cup of joe black, every iteration has the same source—the bean. If you’re an avid drinker, you may be wondering who was the first to brew these bitter beans and how the resulting drink became so popular. The following guide takes a brief look into the long history of coffee.
The Possible Origins of Coffee
The exact origin of coffee is unknown and frequently contested. A popular theory comes from Ethiopian legend in a plateaued region known as Kaffa, where the goat herder Kaldi noticed his herd was uncharacteristically energetic and excited. He discovered that his goats were dining on small shrubs growing bright red berries. After trying the berries himself, he felt the same burst of energy and brought them to a local monastery. One monk dismissed the beans as evil and tossed them into a fire, but the pleasant aroma sparked their interests. The monks removed the beans, tamped out the remaining embers, and poured hot water over them to preserve them. Curious monks tasted the mixture and found that it kept them awake during long evening prayers.
Another legend places the invention of coffee in Yemen. A doctor-priest by the name of Sheikh Omar was exiled by the king to a desert cave. Hungry and desperate, he came across some mysterious red berries and sampled them. Finding them bitter, he tossed them into the fire to remove the harsh flavor. He then boiled them to soften the hardened product. The incredible aroma convinced him to drink the liquid rather than eat the beans. This early coffee concoction renewed his energy, and he shared his discovery with others. Soon, word of the invention reached his hometown of Mocha. Provided that he bring the berries back with him, the ban was lifted, and he was able to introduce the beverage to the town.
Coffee in Modern Times
Wherever coffee originated, the discovery eventually spread east to the Arabian peninsula, where it became a substitute for religiously prohibited alcohol. What you might call a cafe today first opened in the Ottoman Empire. European travelers eventually brought the beverage back to their homelands, where it was first condemned for its bitterness. Still, coffee houses swiftly became popular social hubs throughout Europe.
Coffee’s tendency to keep people awake helped proliferate its designation as a breakfast beverage. With high demand and increasingly efficient cultivation methods, coffee soon became one of the most profitable crops in the world. Today, the wide availability of specialty coffee allows anyone to savor the beverage, both for the boost of energy it provides and its delicious taste.
Now that you know the history of coffee, enjoy a fresh cup from Mainstreet Coffee & Wine Bar in Lakeville, MN. While famous for their specialty coffee, they also serve fresh-baked goods, delicious sandwiches, and a generous selection of wine and beer to the Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, and Prior Lake areas. If you need delicious box lunches and hot coffee to energize your employees, they also offer affordable catering services. Browse their fresh brews and specialty coffee options online. To discuss their menu or place a catering order, call (952) 985-7650.