People often say that coffee was discovered in the Ethiopian Highlands. The history and culture of this area are strongly connected to the finding of coffee. Here is a short history of how coffee was found in the Highlands of Ethiopia.
1. The Legend of Kaldi:
A famous Ethiopian story says that in the 9th century, a goat herder called Kaldi found coffee. Kaldi saw that when his goats ate the red berries from a certain tree, they got very active and lively. He tried the berries himself to see what would happen and felt more alert afterward. People say that Kaldi’s finding led to the first coffee beans being grown and used.
2. The first time people in the area used coffee:
They mixed crushed coffee cherries with animal fat to make a type of energy drink. Not until much later did people start to roast and brew the coffee beans, making the drink we know today.
3. Trade and Growing Coffee:
Coffee plants were grown all over the Ethiopian Highlands, but mostly in the Kaffa and Sidamo areas. As trade in coffee beans grew, traders began to move them across the region and even into nearby areas.
4. Religious Significance:
Coffee became an important part of Ethiopian society and was often used in religious events. Coffee was an important part of many practices in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, such as the long hymns that were said at night.
5. European Introduction:
Ethiopia wasn’t the only place where coffee was grown. Through trade lines in the 1400s, coffee made its way to the Arabian Peninsula. In the Middle East, coffeehouses became places where people met, talked about ideas and had fun. Coffee made its way to Europe and the rest of the world in the end.
6. UNESCO Recognition:
In 2010, UNESCO named traditional Ethiopian coffee gatherings an Intangible Cultural Heritage because of their cultural importance. The Ethiopian coffee ritual is a beautiful and important part of Ethiopian culture that shows how coffee is enjoyed with other people.
Today, Ethiopia is famous for its unique coffee types, such as Yirgacheffe and Sidamo, which are sought after by coffee lovers all over the world.
Coffee is still grown in large amounts in the Ethiopian Highlands, and it is an important part of Ethiopian culture and history. The story of how coffee was found in the Ethiopian Highlands shows how deeply and permanently linked coffee is to the history of the area.