Coffee History – The Origin

A land of firsts, Ethiopia has given the world its most important inhabitant and one of its most important beverages –Homo sapiens and coffee. The first man is believed to have originated in the eastern African land 400,000 years ago, while historians point to the same land as the place where coffee beans were first discovered.

Coffee plants were first found in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. The similarity of the region’s name where coffee trees were first discovered, Kaffa, and the English name of the drink, coffee, has led a good number of etymologists to conclude that the two are related etymologically. Not all word experts, however, agree. This is because the plant, including its fruit, is called bunn or bunna in the Kaffa area. “Kahve”, a Turkish word, is often presented as an alternative etymology of “coffee”. It is said to have passed to Italian as “caffe” and later to English as “coffee”. Kahve, in turn, ultimately comes from the Arabic qaha, which means “to have no appetite”, since coffee was thought to suppress appetite.

Legends abound about the origin of coffee. One claims that the Ethiopian goatherd Kaldi is the first to learn about coffee, while another mentions the Yemenite Sufi mystic named Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili. A third story comes from Yemen.

Kaldi’s story appeared in print in 1671 CE. It is said that he was a 9th Century goatherd belonging to the Oromo people who observed that his goats became hyperactive, dancing and frolicking, every time they ate the red berries of bunn plant. Curious, he tried the berries himself and found that he too became bouncy and spirited.

Kaldi was a religious man. Wanting to consult with the Muslim imams about his discovery, he gathered more berries and presented them to the holy men. The first imam he met, however, convinced that the berries were the devil’s trap, threw them into the fire, but soon noticed an appealing aroma filling the air. He, along with the other imams, put out the fire, gathered the roasted berries and ground them. Water was poured over the grounds, thus creating the world’s first cup of coffee.

A second legend proclaims a Yemeni Sufi mystic who was travelling in Ethiopia. Noticing birds that were very lively and vigorous, he followed them and discovered that they regularly ate of the bunn plant berries. Like Kaldi, he tried the mysterious berry and experienced the same vigor and vitality.

Another story, narrated in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript, puts coffee’s origin in Yemen with Omar given the privilege of its discovery. Omar was a follower of the Sheik Abou’l Hassan Schadheli from Mocha who was exiled to a cave in the Ousab desert. Searching for food, he found the red berries of the coffee plant but he soon discovered that they were too bitter. He roasted the berries but this only hardened them. To soften the seeds, he boiled them, 바다이야기게임 and because of the pleasant smell of the now brown water, he drank it and became the first man to taste coffee.

The legends are quite fascinating. Kaldi, Ghothul Akbar Noorudin al-Hassan al Shadhili, and Omar may or may not be real persons, but the stories reflect what is generally accepted by scholars and historians –that coffee came from Ethiopia and that the Sufi mystics of Yemen drank the beverage.

Scholars and historians agree that by the 13th century, coffee was in widespread use in Arabia. Some historians even believe this to have begun earlier in the 10th century. It has also been established that by the 15th century, the Yemenis were not only importing coffee berries and beans from Ethiopia but the plant as well.

As it kept them awake during their nighttime prayers, the Sufi mystics found coffee to be very useful. And so did the Whirling Dervishes. Coffee began to be thought of as a religious drink because of its link with the praying Sufi mystics and dancing Whirling Dervishes. Drinking coffee thus spread all over the Muslim world –from Yemen it spread to Mecca, Medina, Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus, and 바다이야기게임 Istanbul. Strategically located between Ethiopia and the major cities of the Middle East, Mocha emerged as a major trading center for coffee from the 15th to 17th centuries. It even gave its name to a now-popular coffee and chocolate drink.

Drinking coffee was not limited to the religious world. To help foster trade, the Yemenis encouraged the drinking of coffee. This resulted in the emergence of coffeehouses called kahve kanes in the whole Arab world. Drinking coffee, however, was not the only activity in the kahve kanes. They were also entertainment and socialization hubs where there were music, singing, and dancing, quite like today’s coffeehouses and 오션파라다이스 bars. Because people talked about anything in the coffeehouses, perhaps it was inevitable that their topics soon included politics. It was for this reason that the kahve kanes were eventually banned.

A number of orthodox Muslim Imams in Mecca also played a role in the repression of coffee-drinking. In 1151, they declared that the drink is the devil’s product. The Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I eventually ordered the Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-Imadi to issue a fatwa lifting the ban of the Imams in 1524. The flock of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church were also banned from drinking coffee, but this was revoked in the mid-1800s.

By the 17th century, merchants from Venice were trading with those from North Africa and the Middle East. It was through them that coffee was introduced, first to Italy, then Europe, and eventually, the world.



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