Hot and steamy or cold and frothy, it is noticed that different people like their coffee served in various ways. This led me to think and ponder whether anyone has really wondered what went behind this alluring beverage whilst they sipped the enticing brew?
The appeal of coffee has spanned over various continents but when, I really discovered its origins, I realized that its history is as rich as the brew itself. It really propelled me to share some of these fascinating stories with you.
There are a lot of myths and legends when it comes to the history of this drink. One of the most popular legends is associated with a goatherd named Kaldi. One day, when Kaldi was with his herd of goats he noticed a sudden change in their behavior. The goats turned spirited and that made him hunt for the probable reasons. That was the first time he saw a wild coffee shrub and it dawned on him that his goats had probably eaten some cherries off it. Curious, it led him to have a taste of the wild cherries himself. Upon feeling energized, he spread the story in his village. From the local monastery, the tale spread among the monks and even the locals.
The monks found it very useful as it helped them to stay awake for their ceremonies that went on throughout the night. The Arabs were considered to be the first to cultivate it. They even began the trade. The first plant is said to have come from the shores of the Red Sea. Coffee beans were actually considered to be a food in the olden days. The cherries were minced together and then mixed with the rest of the food. It was only in the 11th century that these beans were developed into a hot drink.
The Venetian merchants imported it to Europe and by the 17th century, it had made its way not only to Europe, but was gaining popularity across the continent. Initially condemned due to religious reasons, one saw major controversies erupt around this dark beverage. Despite the facts that surrounded it, the mid 17th century saw a number of coffee houses cropping up all over the town. A lot of people gathered here to discuss business and to gossip in general.
The Arabs were very possessive about the growing popularity of this beverage and its spread around the world. The beans were dispatched from Yemen and were kept as a highly guarded secret. It was later thought, that it was either the Dutch or a group of Pilgrims who finally tried to smuggle the plants to India. After a few attempts, it finally grew it's roots in this country. The cultivation then expanded to the islands of Java and Sumatra.
The Dutch brought it to France in 1715. Louis XIV of France was presented with a plant and it was then planted in the Royal Botanical Garden. Also known as the Noble Tree, it had the French really hooked on to this beverage and the crops really flourished with the plantation of the Noble Tree.
This tree saw itself have roots in various other parts of the world. Francisco de Mello Palheta is known to have brought it into Brazil. He was sent to obtain the beans from the French Guinea. The French were known to guard this fiercely and Francisco de Mello Palheta would have been unsuccessful, if he did not have a very appealing personality. This resulted in the Governor's wife presenting him with a huge bouquet of flowers. Later he discovered the seeds buried deep inside it.
The history of this beverage has seen so many travelers, pilgrims, and traders go on long voyages carrying these precious seeds all over the world. New plantations meant more business and slowly its export turned into a very profitable industry.
Many innovations that went into the making of this beverage, have seen it grow over time. So the next time you sip your perfectly blended cup of this brew, I hope this captivating past would linger on in your minds.