Monday, November 10, 2014

History of Coffee ~ Part 1

Ever wonder where the delicious brew you drink each morning comes from? Well, embark with us on a journey from seed to cup as we unpack the history of how coffee came to be.

So begins the story.....

Legend has it that Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder went to call his goats in for the night and they wouldn't come. Once he found them he noticed they were dancing around erratically. He saw they had been chewing on a plant unfamiliar to him. Upon chewing some of the plant's leaves himself, Kaldi realized the plant gave him energy. He brought berries from the plant to an Islamic monk who disapproved of the plant's exhilarating effects. He threw the berries into the fire and an enticing aroma filled the place. The seeds were retrieved from the fire, ground up, and steeped in hot water. Thus the first cup of coffee was enjoyed. Ethiopians are very proud of their coffee heritage and still serve a traditional three cup spread to all honored guests.

Once the Turkish people heard about this delicious brew they bought coffee beans and plants from the Ethiopian people. They decided, however, that such a precious commodity should be protected and kept secret. So, while they brewed coffee for natives and tourists alike, any beans that were sold were parboiled to prevent the cultivation of coffee plants elsewhere in the world.

Like all good things, coffee couldn't be kept from the world. At the end of the European Wars the Turkish armies fled and left behind their coffee beans. Because the Europeans had no idea what coffee beans were, they began to burn the sacs that held them. When a European officer smelled the beans burning he stopped them at once and took all the coffee back with him to Europe.

The Venetians were the first to develop a method for roasting and serving this new delicious drink. The Blue Bottle was the first coffee shop and the model for those that would come after it. A place where men could come and talk about politics and societal issues, the Blue Bottle gave both a sophisticated drink and atmosphere. Coffee houses became a vital part of life for Europeans and are known for housing the conversations of revolutions.

With a desire to take coffee with him to the Americas, a young French man brought a small coffee plant on his journey to the new land. Through pirate attacks, violent storms, water shortages, and starvation, Gabriel-Mathieu Clieu protected his precious plant and is credited with introducing coffee to South America.

......Check back next week for Part 2!