Kaldi and His Incredible Dancing Goats
Our last story begins further back around the 6th century in the North African country of Ethiopia, in the Kaffa region (another possible origin word for “coffee”). A young goat herder and poet by the name of Kaldi was tending after his flock when something unusual happened, his goats went missing! Kaldi, usually called his goats back by playing a tune on his pipe but after trying multiple times could not get them to return. Frustrated, he set out into forest to search. Kaldi, discovered his goats moving around in a blur and frantically eating berries and leaves from a group of plants. After inspection, Kaldi tried chewing the leaves. While unpleasant and bitter, the leaves did provide a unique tingling sensation throughout his body. Upon trying the berries (coffee cherries), Kaldi felt a surge of energy. Excited and caffeinated, Kaldi filled his pockets with coffee cherries and took them home to his wife who advised him to get them examined by local monks.
The monks were none too pleased however, calling the coffee cherries evil and condemning them as the Devil’s candy. Out of concern for Kaldi, the monks threw the cherries into the fire to destroy them, but instead of charring them, the seeds within the cherries began to pop and emit a tantalizing aroma. Apparently, even the most stoic monks are no match against the smell of fresh roasted coffee because the monks then removed the coffee beans from the fire and crushed them to extinguish the embers. They then mixed the ground coffee with animal fat to make them more palatable which I imagine turned them into a sort of crazy keto coffee flavored fat bomb, bulletproof coffee, or a similar version of butter tea . This concoction was noted to have similar effects as tea, allowing monks to stay focused for long periods of time during prayer and devotion. Coffee was hailed as a success and eventually it flourished throughout Ethiopia and the Middle East.
This is a fun story, however it is not likely as it claims that coffee was discovered in the 6th century, but written records of what we know as coffee today did not appear until the 15th century. Either way, coffee is still an important part of Ethiopian culture today as it is cleaned and roasted in a sort of social ceremony where it is mixed with cardamom and cinnamon and served to community members.
So there you have it. Three stories discussing the origins of coffee. All with their merits and all slightly aggrandized I am sure to create a more interesting tale. One thing is for sure however, by the end of the 15th century coffee had spread throughout Persia, Egypt, Turkey, and North Africa which set up the beginnings of international trade. What are your thoughts about the stories? Have you heard other version? Let us know by shooting us a message or comment below.