Coffee: An Ethiopian Legend

The story goes that that Kaldi discovered coffee. He noticed his goats became energetic after eating the berries from a certain tree.

Kaldi shared his findings with the abbot of a monastery, who found a drink from the berries kept him alert. The abbot, in turn, shared his findings with other monks. Word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula.

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Coffee cultivation and trade began on the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia. By the 16th century, it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.

Coffee was enjoyed in homes and also in the many public coffee houses. Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise.”

By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. Despite the controversy, coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland.

Coffee began to replace the common breakfast drink beverages of the time — beer and wine.

In the mid-1600s, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, later called New York by the British.

When the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George III, known as the Boston Tea Party, it changed the American drinking preference to coffee.

There was fierce competition to cultivate coffee outside of Arabia.

The Dutch finally got seedlings in the latter half of the 17th century. The plants thrived on the Island of Java, what is now Indonesia.

The Dutch had a productive and growing trade in coffee and expanded the cultivation to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.

In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France.

A young naval officer, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from the King's plant and transported it safely to Martinique.

This seedling was the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America. After crude oil, coffee became the most sought commodity in the world.

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