Legend has it the history of coffee began with a goat
As with many other stories, the history of coffee began a long time ago in the heart of Africa. A popular Ethiopian legend tells us of a remarkable discovery that would eventually change the world. Around the 9th century, a goat herder called Kaldi frantically searched the Ethiopian highlands for his beloved goats. He found them frolicking in the bushes, jumping wildly, and yelling. It did not take long for him to realize that the goats were eating small red berries. He took a handful of the berries and visited the nearby monastery to ask for advice. The monks, however, did not share Kaldi’s excitement. Instead, they proclaimed the red berries a devil’s creation and threw them into the fire. The story could have ended there, but as the seeds within roasted in the fire, the potent aroma caught the monks’ attention. They gathered the roasted beans from the ashes, ground them, and tossed them into hot water. They tried the brew, and the rest is history.
Or is it? The story of Kaldi, his frolicking goats, and the skeptical monks is a legend. Yet, we know that Ethiopia holds a special place in the history of human civilization. Ethiopia is home to the first evidence of humankind, one of several ancient African cultures, and one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. It is also probably one of the first places coffee was consumed — not as a brew but as food. Like Kaldi’s beloved goats, Ethiopians discovered coffee by chewing the berries. However, it did not take long for coffee to become a staple of Ethiopian culture and daily life, which remains today.