The Discovery of Coffee
Have you ever wondered how Coffee was discovered?
I’ve always wondered just how this amazing beauty-of-a-thing was discovered centuries ago.
I was having breakfast at a local roaster cafe by the name of Masukaru Coffee when I came across this book by chance. The title is エチオピアコーヒー伝説 or The Legends/Tales of Ethiopian Coffee when translated. With my eyes wide open, I opened the first page, and then the next, and the next…. and pretty much finished the book. It was more of a children’s book than a novel with mostly pictures and minimal text.
But wow….. it provided me with an interesting insight to the discovery of coffee.
I’d like to share what I read with you all albeit the brevity.
Kaldi, the Goatherd
Once upon a time, there lived a goatherd by the name of Kaldi.
Kaldi is actually a very famous retail store here in Japan ( I think the proper name is Kaldi Coffee Farm ) specialising in overseas food/beverage products including coffee. So I always think about that store when I see the name Kaldi.
Alrighty, back to the story.
Kaldi was a hard-working fellow who would fulfil his job day in and day out, never letting the goats escape or get lost.
But one day he couldn’t find one of his goats in the herd. And so he went looking for it in the thick forest (this is most probably the mother forest of coffee situated in Ethiopia ).
He eventually found his goat and was greatly relieved. But something was wrong with his goat.
Actually, there was nothing wrong with his goat. But his goat seemed so much more energetic and was running around(some say the goats were dancing) on tip-toes ( I can’t imagine how that must have been ). He noticed that the goat had eaten some red cherries hanging off of a branch nearby. The rest of the herd joined in and started feeding on the red cherries. And what do you know, the rest of the herd started running around on tip-toes, beaming with energy.
Curiosity having overtaken fear, Kaldi picked some cherries off a branch and ate them. He suddenly felt a surge of energy and a feeling of immense delightfulness. He started dancing and jumping up and down; he thought that these cherries had magical powers and were gifts from god.
He collected a bunch of cherries and headed to the local monastery, eager to share his discovery and the cherries. The monks at the monastery heard Kaldi’s story and were persuaded to try the cherries. They too felt the surging energy and the surprising pleasantness after eating the cherries.
The monks usually took lectures in the evenings and would fall asleep with sleepy eyes. But on this night they were wide awake and listened to the priest’s words fully focused.
The priest, having noticed the wide-awake and fully-focused monks listening to his lecture, tried to make sense of what was happening. One of the monks spoke about the cherries which Kaldi brought.
The priest was incensed ( having thought that the cherries were brought by the devil ) and threw the remaining cherries into the fireplace.
Roast, Grind, Brew … and the Rest is History
After several minutes, thick black smoke emanated from the fireplace and, with it, a delightful fragrance. The priest and the monks were surprised and picked up whatever remained of the cherries. They ground it, and then steeped it in hot water before finally taking a sip of the liquid. They all danced in delight and word spread.
And….. the rest is pretty much history.