History of coffee

There are many tales about the discovery of coffee. The only thing we can be sure of is that the coffee bush originates from the mountainous south-western region of Ethiopia. From there it spread to the Arabian peninsula around 1,500 years ago.

Legend has it that coffee beans were discovered by Kaldi the goatherd from the interior of Abyssinia, now Ethiopia. He saw his goats eat red berries from a bush and noticed that the animals became unusually lively. He decided to try these berries for himself and felt highly exhilarated after eating a few of them.

Later, the monks in the area started boiling up the beans inside the berry and drinking the aromatic coffee drink in order to stay awake through the long hours of prayer. It was long used purely as a miracle drink by the monks and later also by doctors as a cure for certain illnesses.

Satan’s drink blessed

The Arabs realised what a valuable plant they had and prohibited the export of coffee seeds. However, it was only a matter of time before pilgrims smuggled out seeds from the coffee plant. And so coffee was spread throughout the world.

The coffee beans first started being roasted in the 13th century, with the 15th century seeing the appearance of the first coffee houses in Mecca.

Coffee received a cool reception when it made it to Europe in the 17th century. It was considered to be “Satan’s drink”, but after the Pope in Rome drank some coffee and exclaimed “This drink of Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the unbelievers. Let us confound Satan by blessing it,” Christians felt able to try this stimulating drink.