Although there aren’t any written accounts or proof showing the consumption of coffee until around the year 1000 AD, there is an Ethiopian tale that dates back to 700 AD in which a goat farmer named Kaldi finds his goats full of energy after eating red berries. He tried the cherry-like fruit for himself, found himself alert and vitalized, and brought the berries back to his village. From then, the berries were used by Ethiopian monks to stay awake during long prayer sessions. They attempted to cook the berries in the fire, but that didn’t improve their taste. So they boiled the berries in water, and coffee was born.
The “magical” energizing drink spread North through Africa and across the Red Sea to the Middle East by the 1300’s. In the 1500’s in Istanbul, cooks in the Ottoman palace revolutionized the way coffee was made by roasting and grinding the berries before pouring water over them. This method became very popular, and the first coffeehouse opened in Constantinople in 1555. From there, merchants brought coffee to Italy, France, and all throughout Europe. Coffeehouse culture was popularized by poets, academics, politicians and philosophers that would come to have a cup of coffee and intellectual conversation.
Today, coffee is grown throughout the world in warmer climates, and coffee from different regions has distinct aromas and flavors. Ethiopia is still remains a major producer of coffee and has become a major part of the movement towards sustainable and fair-trade coffee growing.
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