Whilst nobody can be quite sure when coffee was first discovered, many legends trace the history of coffee back to a humble goat herder named Kaldi, who noticed that his goats began to become less keen to settle down for a good snooze come night time.
Spotting them snaffling berries from a certain tree, he began to suspect that there was more to these little snacks that met the eye and nipped off to the local monastery to discuss the situation.
Throwing caution to the wind in favour of good night’s sleep for the feisty flock, the monks concocted a brew with the berries and they too noticed that it was rather handy when trying not to nod off during their studies.
Arabian nights fuelled by coffee in the 15th century?
It didn’t take long for coffee to catch on from Kaldi over in Ethiopia and across Africa and then over to the Arabian Peninsula.
By now it was all the rage, with coffee being actively grown and farmed in the Yemeni district.
16th century – coffee, fit for the Prince of Persia
Another century rocketed by, fuelled by caffeine and by now it was to be found being enjoyed in all the finest palaces and houses in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.
However, it was also starting to become more commonplace in the snazzy new public coffee houses that were springing up called qahveh khaneh.
History does not record whether they spelt customers’ names correctly.
However, it does tell us that this new ‘wine of Araby’ was the in thing for the many thousands making their religious pilgrimages to Mecca.
17th century – coffee goes on a European tour
Imagine the postcards…’tried a curious hot, black brew whilst playing chess here in Syria, will bring some back. Please send some sort of nifty holder thingy so I don’t spill it on my trousers on the way home to Europe.’
Yes, coffee was hitting the big time on the continent but it wasn’t all sunshine and kittens for our favourite pick me up. Condemned by the local clergy in Venice, even the Pope had to intervene which was quite understandable given the write ups….”bitter invention of Satan.” anyone?
The good news was he gave it his blessing after trying it for himself, Amen to that!
It wasn’t long before, shorn of its shackles, coffee became as commonplace as beer and wine and indeed it was soon spotted that one was a tad more productive first thing in the morning when one began with a jolt of java!
1773 and coffee is revolting in Boston
Coffee had been doing well over in the New World, having been brought over to a little known place called ‘New Amsterdam’ by the Brits.
5 points to anyone who can tell us what city that is now!
However, it still lagged behind tea until one of life’s great certainties intervened…tax.
When the colonists had frankly had quite enough of the high tax on tea (not to mention some rather more critical grievances), they hatched a plan that would change the world forever and actually waste rather a lot of tea.
Hoiking tonnes of the precious British favourite overboard in protest, they began the Boston Tea Party, fanning the flames of revolution and later sparking this rather catty comment from a certain Thomas Jefferson.
Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Oooooh! Get you Thomas!
It was official, coffee had hit the big time across the pond, the rest as they say, is history.