Coffee origin: A little history
Despite what it might seem, compared to other drinks or infusions, such as tea, coffee was not known until a few centuries ago. Its origin seems more or less clear, in the former Abyssinia, historical name of a territory that coincides in part with the current Ethiopia, and probably in the Kaffa region, which could be the origin of the current denomination of this concoction.
Abyssinia and Ethiopia, at the birth of the Nile and partly Yemen, are the places that are delegated the origin of coffee. Crowd of legends dating back to the ninth century, but there is no written record before the thirteenth century. Coffee was not taken as we know it, but the pulp or the beans themselves were chewed. Sometimes the pulp fermented and gave rise to a slightly alcoholic beverage, which caused its consumption to be banned at various times.
Although it is very widespread, the legend that tells that a pastor discovered coffee by seeing that his goats were more active than normal, is not very credible. Since the goats eat the pulp and the grain leaves intact in their feces, and it is in the grain where the caffeine resides.
Chewing the green beans is a custom that lasted until recently in several African countries and is said to produce a pleasant feeling of well-being.
We assume that it was a pleasant surprise that the first one who had roasted coffee had to take, noticing the aromas, since from there the consumption of coffee as an infusion became widespread.
In the mid-fifteenth century a priest discovered the stimulating effects of coffee and recommended them to stay during his nightly prayers. In Abyssinia, in the fifteenth century, coffee took over from a traditional infusion and its consumption became popular in Mecca, Syria, Cairo and the entire Near East.
Camel caravans secured coffee supplies from Yemen and Ethiopia (the only producing countries until the 18th century) to Mecca, Egypt, Turkey and from there to Europe. The coffee seeds, before leaving Yemen, were boiled or subjected to the direct action of the fire to sterilize them and thus prevent them from germinating at the destination, in order to preserve the monopoly. It was also forbidden for foreigners to visit the plantations or take plants or sprouted grains under severe penalties. Even so, a Muslim pilgrim, Baba Budan, secretly removed from the country in the seventeenth century, some coffee seeds that germinated in India
Later the sailboats replaced the caravans in the transport of coffee to Europe and the cultivation extended to the tropical strip of the Asian continent. The East India Company was founded in London in 1600 and in 1609 the Dutch East India Company was founded to secure trade with the Indies.
A legend symbolically narrates the discovery of the elaboration of this infusion. As in so many other mythical stories, a pastor was implicated in it, whose name has even passed later: Kaldi.
Apparently, according to Wubalen Tadesse, of the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research, this man observed the extraordinary effect that the consumption of the red fruits of a bush had on his goats: the cattle spent the night hitting boats, just like it happened to the pastor himself when he decided to eat the seeds. Kaldi brought the fruits to wiser men (the monks or the imam, according to the religion of the one who tells the story), and they began to experiment with the fruits.
One of the multiple versions indicates that the monks prepared an infusion with the raw seeds and that the result was so unpleasant that they threw the fire into the fire: the consequences were spectacular; the fruits were roasted and expanded their characteristic smell throughout the monastery.
The monks, or the imam, proceeded to prepare an infusion with those fragrant remains and soon discovered that the drink allowed them to spend the night awake and dedicated to prayer.