Whether you have it black with one sugar, a double shot espresso, a flat white or decaf, coffee is enjoyed at breakfast, between friends catching up or on the go. Discovered in the Ethiopion highlands coffee has taken its place in history as the beverage of choice
A friend of mine used to say "A cup of tea solves everything," but if you are one to favor coffee over tea, the saying rather holds true for a cup of coffee. So much so that there has got to be a substantial amount of coffee behind every successful person.
The word "coffee" has roots in several languages. In Yemen it earned the name "qahwah," which was originally a romantic term for wine. It later became "kahve" in Turkey and "koffie" in the Netherlands, and then finally evolved into "coffee" in the English language.
How exactly did it become the most popular beverage in the world?
In the 10th century, Kaldi, an Ethiopian man who was a goat shepherd, noticed his goats behave strangely after eating the fruit (berries) and leaves of a certain tree. The goats would prance around and dance, bursting with energy. It also affected their sleep patterns as they would not sleep at night. Out of curiosity, Kaldi tried the fruit for himself and felt a rush of energy. The following day he informed the local monastery and the abbot made a snack out of the berries. Soon after coffee became an energizing snack for the people of Ethiopia. Nobody knows whether "The Dancing Goat Legend" is true, but today we at least know that coffee originated in Ethiopia. It is believed that coffee was first discovered in the region known as "Kaffa." However it is not clear whether coffee took its name from the region or whether the region was named after coffee. A while later coffee was introduced to the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabs were the first to make a beverage of coffee. They first roasted the coffee beans over a fire, grounded them and then boiled it in water. In addition to being the first to cultivate coffee, the Arabs were also the first to pioneer its trade. By the 15th century, coffee was grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia which is blessed with the perfect climate for coffee cultivation. It wasn't before the 16th century that coffee became common in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee made its first appearance in Istanbul in the 16th century during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Yemen who had grown to love the caffeinated beverage while stationed in the country was the first one to introduce it to Turkey.
Coffee soon became a vital part of palace cuisine and was very popular in court. It wasn't long before the title "Kahvecibaşı" (chief coffee brewer) was added to the roster of court functionaries. The kahvecibaşı was selected meticulously based on loyalty and secrecy as his duty was to brew coffee for the Sultan and his patrons. Hence, there have been a number of kahvecibaşıs - also recorded in the annals of Ottoman history - who bypassed ranks and became grand viziers to the sultan. The dark beverage made its way into Europe in the 17th century via European travelers to the Middle East, becoming popular across the continent. Its introduction to Venice in 1600 led to great controversy in the country. Opponents were referring to coffee as "the devil's beverage." Hence, Pope Clement VIII had no choice but to settle the issue. When he tried the drink before ruling against it he was so satisfied that he gave it the papal approval. Soon after, coffee was widely accepted throughout the continent. At the end of the Second Siege of Vienna in 1683, the Turks left behind their extra supplies while retraining. There were about 500 sacks of coffee among these supplies. The Viennese were clueless about coffee, so they thought the coffee beans were camel-feed and decided to dump the sacks into the Danube. A gentleman named Kolschitzky, who had lived among the Turks for many years and served as a spy for the Austrians during the siege, heard about the sacks. Since he was very familiar with coffee, he requested the coffee bean filled sacks as payment for his successful espionage services during the siege. Kolschitzky brewed some coffee and served them to the Viennese in small cups. When at first sip they found it to be strong and bitter, Kolschitzky added some milk and sugar to the mixture. This time the Viennese enjoyed it so much that coffeehouses were opened during this period, setting an example for other countries to do the same. Many coffeehouses in Vienna have a picture of Kolschitzky hanging in their windows as an acknowledgement of his achievement. Eventually, coffee plants reached the New World in the early 18th century, gaining popularity with the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when the switch from tea to coffee became a patriotic duty. With the demand for specialty coffee soaring in the 1960s, three partners who were students at the time, seized the opportunity and opened the first Starbucks in 1971 - now the largest coffeehouse company in the world. In a nutshell, with its roots in Ethiopia, this is how the invigorating beverage made its way into our mugs. So it is possible to say that coffeeholics today owe much to Kaldi and his dancing goats.