The Fascinating History of Coffee: From Kaldi to Starbucks

Coffee has been beloved for centuries but how did it all start? Learn about its fascinating history from Ethiopian legend Kaldi to modern day Starbucks.

The Fascinating History of Coffee: From Kaldi to Starbucks

Coffee has been a beloved beverage for centuries, but how did it all start? According to an Ethiopian legend, it was a goat herder named Kaldi who first discovered the potential of these beans. The story goes that Kaldi noticed his goats becoming energetic after eating the berries of a certain tree, and he decided to try them himself. This discovery eventually led to the modern version of roasted coffee, which originated in Arabia during the 13th century. At this time, coffee was extremely popular with the Muslim community for its stimulating powers, which proved useful during long prayer sessions.

To corner the market for coffee crops, the Arabs dried and boiled the beans, making them infertile. It is said that not a single coffee plant existed outside Arabia or Africa until the 17th century, when an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan left Mecca with fertile grains attached to his abdomen. This gave rise to a new and competitive European coffee trade. The popularity of coffee in the Arab world led to the creation of coffee shops in Mecca and Constantinople in the 15th and 16th centuries respectively.

One of the many legends about the discovery of coffee is that of Kaldi, an Arab goatherd who was perplexed by the strange antics of his flock. Around 850 A. D., Kaldi supposedly tasted the berries of the evergreen shrub that goats fed on and, experiencing a sense of euphoria, proclaimed his discovery to the world. It is generally believed that coffee beans were originally exported from Ethiopia to Yemen.

Later, Yemeni merchants brought coffee plants to their homes and began growing them there. In their first year of operation, they bought a coffee roaster and sold their own coffee bean products. Many of these coffee shops even became businesses, such as Edward Lloyd's Coffee House, which became a large-scale insurance company.The United States has been the main importer of coffee since then (and continues to buy much more coffee than any other country). Wild coffee plants from Kefa (Kaffa), Ethiopia were brought to southern Arabia and cultivated in the 15th century.

In 1704 more seedlings were planted in Indonesia and coffee became a staple food.In 1985 Howard Schultz left Starbucks to create his own coffee company, Il Giornale, focusing on serving quality coffee beverages. With Peet's permission, they opened a coffee shop in Seattle using the coffee beans he roasted and imitating the design of his store. Due to the growing popularity of coffee and the shipping of coffee from the port city, Mocha became synonymous with coffee.In 1822, Brazil began producing coffee on a large scale and by 1852 it had become the largest producer in the world - a position it still holds today. Many companies now seek to improve the livelihoods of coffee growers in these countries as they are still very underdeveloped.Arbuckles became the world's largest coffee importer and even owned the largest number of merchant ships in the world, constantly shipping coffee from South America to the United States.

In this diverse coffee shop culture of the multicultural Habsburg Empire, different types of coffee preparation also developed.Evidence of knowledge of coffee and its consumption first appeared in the late 15th century; Sufi Imam Muhammad Ibn Said Al Dhabhani is known to have imported goods from Ethiopia to Yemen. Diarist Samuel Pepys often wrote about coffee shops in 17th century London, and even inspired a “women's petition” describing it as “bitter, stinky puddle water with nausea”.Today Craft Coffee Guru is a website where one can learn about 25 years of adventure traveling around the world and what was learned about coffee along the way.

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