Goats on top of a tree

Would you like to know where coffee comes from and how it became such an important beverage all over the world? Read on Coffee Enthusiast!

There is a well-known legend in the coffee world about its origins that involves dancing goats and angry monks, interesting huh? so bear with us in this coffee history lesson and enjoy a cup of your favorite brew while reading it.


Legend has it that Kaldi, a goat-herder from Ethiopia in the 9th century went out to search for some of his missing goats, only to find them energetically dancing and eating the berries of a small tree which he had never seen before. Wondering what could be the cause of these effects on the goats he decided to try the berries himself, feeling a rush of vitality come to him a little while after eating the berries. After this beautiful experience, he became determined to show this new great discovery to the world.

And so, Kaldi brought the berries to a nearby monastery, but the monks disapproved of this rare fruit fearing that its effects could be related to demons or evil spirits. The monks then proceeded to throw the berries into the fire, from which an exquisite smell poured out that caused nearby people to come and see what was that fragrance.

Thinking that such a great aroma couldn’t be related to any evil entity, the roasted beans were removed from the fire by the monks then ground and put into water, making it the first cup of coffee in the history of the world.

This legend may sound like a fairy tale and possibly not the real deal, but it surely is an interesting approach to this beverage’s origins and there should be some truth behind it, such as the discovery of the energizing effect of coffee by someone mistakenly eating those berries.

Coffee as a beverage

The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking dates back to the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries in Yemen.

Coffee berries were first brought to Yemen from Ethiopia by Yemeni traders who then started cultivating the plant. In fact, the Sufis used this beverage made from coffee beans to aid them to concentrate while doing their prayers. They also used it to keep them awake during their nightly rituals. 

A manuscript made by Al-Jaziri traces the proliferation of coffee from Yemen to Mecca and Medina, and later to Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Constantinople which were the most important trading cities of the Middle East at the time.

By the 1500s many coffee houses started opening in Egypt, Syria, and Istanbul, thus spreading more and more the beverage and the culture behind it.

After these spread of the coffee houses in Africa and the Middle East, the coffee spread all the way to Europe, thus changing the whole world a cup at a time. 

What do think about the origins of coffee? And what were you drinking while reading it?

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  • A fun legendary story on the origin of coffee drinking, one that I’ve read about several times. And coincidentally, while I read your story, I was drinking a cappuccino made from a classic espresso blend roast from a favorite roaster of mine. Good to see you folks are back active again. I’ve not heard anything from you in quite some time, back when you were going to test your pods with a hot and cold brewer. Welcome back!

    • Hi Jeff!

      We would love to try that cappuccino! Thanks for your comments! we are back and strong!
      Fueled by coffee obviously 😀

  • A fun & easy-read approach to the legend of kaldi, well complemented with some less mithological follow up. I was drinking a chemex, black honey (Huehuetenango, Pue, Mex).

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