In honor of National Coffee Day, here is a brief history of the origin of coffee, as well as some fun facts to enhance your coffee knowledge.
Legend has it; coffee was discovered in the Ethiopian highlands by Kaldi the goat herder. It is said that he discovered coffee when he noticed that after eating berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they wouldn’t sleep at night.
Kaldi told the abbot of the local monastery what he was noticing, and the abbot then made a drink with the berries and realized it also kept him alert during his lengthy evening prayers. The abbot shared this news with the other monks at the monastery, and from there the word about the energizing effects of the berries began to spread.
As word spread east and reached the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabic people began to cultivate and trade coffee. They also began the tradition of public coffee consumption at “coffee houses” in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses boomed, and people began to frequent them for all kinds of social activities from engaging in conversations to listening to music, watching performances and keeping current on the day’s news. The coffee houses became such an important meeting place that they were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise.”
From there, coffee spread across Europe and then to the United States, becoming the wildly popular drink that it is today.
Marking the long and unique history of the drink is National Coffee Day on September 29. The day was first celebrated in Japan in 1983, and is now celebrated globally as a way to promote fair trade coffee and raise awareness for the plight of the coffee farmers.
In celebration of the day, here are some of our favorite fun facts about the most popular drink in the world:
- A French doctor in the 1600’s prescribed café au lait to his patients, inspiring people to add milk to coffee.
- New Yorkers drink approximately 7 times more coffee than any other city in the U.S.
- Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry, making them a fruit seed.
- The first webcam was introduced at the University of Cambridge to let students and staff know when the coffee pot was full.
- The coffee houses in England were referred to as “penny universities” because for the price of a penny someone could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in informative conversation.