In the world of coffee, myths swirl like steam from a fresh brew. There are many stories and tales about coffee that have grown up over the years. Let’s look at some coffee myths and tell the difference between fact and fiction:
The Origin of Coffee:
Myth: A common story says that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi found coffee. The story goes that Kaldi noticed that his goats got more energy after eating nuts from a certain plant. He was interested, so he tried the nuts and felt the same energy boost.
Fact: The exact place where coffee came from is unknown, but it is thought to have been found in Ethiopia. The story of Kaldi is probably just a myth, but it’s possible that early African cultures that ate the berries or leaves of the coffee plant found out that it could give them energy.
The Dancing Goats:
Myth: In a different version of the Kaldi story, Kaldi’s goats started dancing after eating the coffee leaves. There is a story that says Kaldi told the monks about his finding, and the monks used the berries to make a drink that helped them stay awake during long prayers.
Fact: The part about the goats dancing is probably just for fun, but the part about monks using coffee as a stimulant in temples is based on real events. It was known that monks in Yemen grew and made coffee to keep them awake during long prayer sessions.
How coffee got to Europe:
Myth: A common story says that a traveller named Baba Budan brought the first coffee beans to Europe by sneaking them out of the Middle East. The story goes that he hid seven coffee beans in his beard and brought them to India, where they were planted and coffee was grown there.
Fact: Baba Budan did help bring coffee to India, but the story that he hid beans in his beard is probably more myth than truth. It is true that coffee did come to Europe through trade with the Middle East and later through European colonization.
The Coffee House Culture:
Myth: According to some stories, coffeehouses, especially in the Arab world, were places where people talked about ideas and politics, which is where the term “penny universities” came from. People say that you could have interesting talks for the price of a coffee.
Fact: Coffeehouses were places where smart people got together to talk, but the idea of “penny universities” is more of a romanticized thought. People did talk about their thoughts in coffee shops, but they weren’t official places to learn.
Coffee and Creativity:
Myth: People often think that coffee makes them more creative and smart. There is no evidence to support this. A lot of great artists and writers are said to have said that coffee made them more creative.
Fact: Caffeine in coffee can briefly make you more awake and focused, but it’s up to each person to decide if it directly makes you more creative. There are different ways that different people react to coffee and too much of it can make it hard to focus and sleep.
To tell the difference between fact and fiction, it’s important to understand the culture and historical importance of coffee and to be aware that some stories may have been sped up or made more romanticized over time. The real story of coffee is an interesting one that involves many countries and a drink that is now famous all over the world.