Who is kaldi? – The origin of coffee

coffee belt arabica bean

Who is kaldi? It seems that that the young shepherd has sparkled a lot of curiosity in the last few weeks. So let me tell you a story:

“Once upon a time, a young man named Kaldi spent day after day looking after his goats on the ever so green fields of Ethiopia. Kaldi, was a master of his trade and as a good shepherd he knew every peculiarity of his herd. So it did not take him long to notice that on that sunny morning the goats were behaving abnormally. They were dancing and frolicking around in a fest of their own.

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time…

After a good chew of coffee!

After a good chew of coffee!

Inquisitive by nature, young kaldi went on a quest to discover the source of such change and he soon discovered that the goats had been eating some strange red berries. He collected a sample, ran to the monastery and excitedly told a monk about his discovery.

The monk then made a beverage out of the berries and was astounded when he found out that the new drink kept him alert, enabling him to continue his prayers throughout the night. Night prayers being a struggle among the monks, it should not surprise you to know, that the bitter beverage quickly became very popular with his peers.”

The legend says that the paragraphs above correspond to the truth about the origins of coffee, okay maybe not the beverage-making part, that happened way down the line. Anyway, a quick research will show that there are many others accounts, so solely for the sake of self-entertainment, let’s go with this one.

Now that you have met Kaldi, care to read along and learn a little bit more about the journey of the bean across the continents?

The origin of coffee

Coffee fell into the graces of everyone who came in contact with it and our beloved bean soon started its amazing journey across continents and oceans to conquer the world.

The first stop was in the Yemen, where coffee started to take the shape we know today. From the onset, coffee was never a solitary drink and the Sufi monks of the time were quite fond of the beverage using it in their gatherings as a mean of connection among each other as well as an aid to get them through long hours of prayer. Coffee was believed to also connect men to God.

Social media wasn't a big thing back then - Limited pictures

Social media wasn’t a big thing back then – limited pictures

Coffee was an excuse for people to come together and converse, so in 1511 the governors of Mecca realized the hidden yet revolutionary power that coffee had and all of a sudden it became unlawful worse even it was considered sinful.

As the cup of coffee sitting beside me attests, this little hiccup did not stop coffee on its mission and not so long later it arrived in Constantinople aka Istanbul. Over there the first coffeehouse was founded and through the quests of the Ottoman empire it spread further.

By the 16th century coffee reached Europe, starting to change people’s habits and soon becoming the morning beverage of preference across the continent. I guess, it made sense as people started to notice that the new beverage made them more productive to face their daily duties than its counterparts – beer and wine.

With the colonizers coffee arrived in the new world accomplishing its world quest and changing the lives and landscapes of the places it passed. Nowadays, the largest coffee producer – Brazil and other celebrated coffees are cultivated in Latin America, thousands of miles away from that field Kaldi laid eyes on the beans for the first time.

coffee sunset

Since then, coffee has gone beyond the beverage itself. It became the experience it creates, the feelings it translates. It is an aid to creativity, a bridge between old and new friends. Coffee is culture, economy, some studies even say that the coffee you order at your local cafe can tell a lot about your personality, so coffee is also psychology.

The more i dive into the world of the bean the more fascinated I become. Salute to Kaldi!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *