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Around the World: Myths and Legends of Coffee

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Holding a cup of Java like it’s your ticket into Heaven, you rarely wonder where the brew originated. Unlike wine, which has been around since the dawn of time, coffee has a kind of shady past. No one knows where the first coffee beans grew, but there are several stories and myths about the brew that are fascinating in themselves. Several historical figures around the world drank the stuff, giving validity to the myths and stories. So sip away, while we tell you all about the first coffee bean and the historical figures who loved it.

Myth: Goats First Discovered Coffee Beans

An exact date isn’t known for the first discovery of the coffee bean. An exact location, though, is thought to be in Ethiopia. It is believed that a shepherd named Kaldi noticed his goats chewing on a berry. The goats danced about and became quite energetic following their meal. The shepherd took his discovery to a nearby monastery, where the abbot made a drink out of the berries. The other monks smelled the aroma, asked for some, and then they all were able to remain alert during late night worship. Word of the berry and its properties slowly spread into Arabia and then into the remainder of the world.

Historical Figure: Beethoven made his own coffee. He only used 60 coffee beans and that was all.

Myth: Angels Dispense Coffee

It can’t be verified, of course, but it is said that the prophet Mohammed was given a cup of brewed coffee by the Angel Gabriel before an important battle. It is said that the brew gave the prophet the energy to slay 40 horsemen and then take on 40 women. Apparently, this didn’t happen (with the exception of the 40 horsemen) but the energy was there. This is said to have happened a century before Kaldi discovered the reason for his goats’ energy.

Historical Figure: Pope Clement VIII legitimized the “Devil’s brew” by reportedly saying “this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a shame to let the Infidels keep it to themselves. We’ll trick Satan by baptizing it and making it a truly Christian drink”.

Legends: The Best Timeline We Have

Gleaned from myths, legends and stories is the best timeline for the discovery and use of coffee available to us:

  • As far back as 8,000 BCE fossils including coffee berries are dated
  • Around 1,000 BCE slave traders from Ethiopia brought into Arabia the coffee bean
  • About 900 CE word of coffee’s properties and medicinal properties is written
  • Around 1400 CE coffee is being roasted and traded or sold all over the Arabian Peninsula
  • 1500 CE on up coffee spreads into Europe, which means it finds its way to the New World when Europeans locate it

Historical FigureCoffee grounds were found in Napoleon’s stomach during his autopsy, because he asked for a spoonful of coffee before he died. He is believed to have said “I’d rather suffer with coffee than be senseless”.

Green Dragon Roasters is located in its own historic area where the Boston Tea Party made coffee a viable alternative. We use only the freshest beans, roasted to perfection. We get our coffee beans from the fertile grounds of Hawaii, Columbia, the Far East and Mexico. If your favorite brew is espresso, look us up. If you can’t live without Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee, contact us and we’ll hook you up.

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