Coffee history

Origin of coffee

The original home of coffee has been identified as being in modern-day Ethiopia. It has been concluded on the basis of archaeological excavations that wild coffee has grown in these region for as long as there have been human inhabitants.

The legend of Kaldi

Coffee, like many of the good things in life, was discovered accidentally. There are many legends about how coffee was found. The best-known legend tells of a goatherd named Kaldi from the Caffa region of Ethiopia. One day he found that it was hard to get his goats to settle down for the night. The goats had been chewing on the glossy leaves of a coffee tree and the red cherries growing on its branches. He tried the cherries himself and very soon became as restless as his herd. Later he threw some cherries onto his campfire. A delicious aroma wafted up from the flames. Later on, someone got the idea of crushing the cherries and mixing them with hot water to tame their strong flavour. This is how coffee became a drink.

The journey to Europe

Rumours of this drink reached Europe in the 17th century. Venetian merchants were the first who started dealing in coffee when they began to ship green coffee from the port of Mocha. From Italy, coffee was exported to the rest of Europe: among the first cities to adopt it were Marseilles, Amsterdam and London.

During the Enlightenment of the 18th century, the new beverage supported the Age of Reason, clear thinking and intellectual discourse.