Coffee is a beloved beverage enjoyed by people all over the world, and its history can be traced back to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. According to legend, a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beans after noticing that his goats became energetic and restless after eating the berries from a certain tree. Kaldi shared his discovery with the local monastery, and the monks there made a drink with the berries that helped them stay alert during long hours of evening prayer.
The knowledge of these energizing berries soon spread to the Arabian peninsula, where coffee cultivation and trade began. By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in Yemen, and by the 16th century it had reached Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. In these countries, coffee was not only enjoyed in homes, but also in public coffee houses called qahveh khaneh, which were important centers for social activity and the exchange of information.
As coffee spread eastward, it eventually made its way to Europe, where it was met with some suspicion and fear. The local clergy in Venice condemned the beverage in 1615, but Pope Clement VIII decided to taste it for himself and found it so satisfying that he gave it papal approval. Despite initial controversy, coffee houses quickly became popular across Europe and were known as "Schools of the Wise" for their importance as centers of conversation and information.
In the mid-1600s, coffee was brought to the New World, where it initially struggled to compete with tea as the preferred beverage. However, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, in which colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George III, forever changed the American drinking preference to coffee.
Coffee plantations were soon established in various parts of the world, including Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. Today, coffee is grown in more than 50 countries and is the second most valuable commodity in the world, behind only oil. It continues to be enjoyed by millions of people every day, and its rich history and cultural significance make it a truly remarkable and enduring beverage.