10 thousand years B.C. (Before Coffee) people enjoyed it just as much as we do
today. It wasn’t brewed though. After being mushed with animal fats (and other lovely cave person morsels) into a bar of cake it was chomped on goat hunting expeditions (humans hunted all sorts of animals during this period of evolution which this post will not detail but goats is used as it provides a nice segway in the next paragraph).
So cave humans ate bars of coffee and then chased and hunted goats with sticks, so it is a huge coincidence that goats should be associated with a more recent legend about the origins of the black stuff.
Our story takes us to the mountains of Ethiopia where a chap called Kaldi was
out with his herd of goats. As legend has it, he lost them in the hills and later found them somewhat animated and enjoying themselves around some small bushes that bore lots of ripe red cherries. In an attempt to explain the goats' unusual behaviour, he picked some of the berries and took them to a local monk.
The monk inspected the cherries and came to the conclusion that they were not to be consumed by people and threw them onto the fire. As the cherries slowly burned in the fire, they gave off an amazing aroma and Kaldi was like the Bisto kid as the exotic smells wafted around him. The monk was also fascinated by the aroma and set about experimenting on more of the beans. After many attempts he found that brewing them in water produced the best results.
Word spread and Ethiopians started to enjoy coffee, especially in the royal courts where it became highly fashionable and much coveted.
A Sultan's court in those days was full of all kinds of different peoples from all over the world but especially from Yemen and Turkey. A particular Sufi Sheik just could not get enough of it.
He took some back to Yemen where it became known as qahaw. It was enjoyed as a stimulant and consumed just ground up with water.
Yemen provided the perfect growing conditions for coffee. Plantations soon popped up all over the hills. The port of Mocha became the primary export area to the rest of the world, hence the use of the word 'mocha' in many coffee blends.