History of coffee


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Jul 12, 2009
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It is supposed that the Ethiopians, the ancestors of today's Galla tribe, were the first to have recognized the energizing effect of the coffee plant.[2] However, no direct evidence has ever been found revealing exactly where in Africa coffee grew or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it there earlier than the seventeenth century.


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Jun 29, 2008
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It's a fantastic story that your customers will enjoy. It romanticizes coffee. Is it true? Seriously doubt it. The stories of the origins of tea are even more outlandish.
Uncommon grounds is still one of my favorite coffee books. Hopefully Mark will do a followup on thios book, which has such a detailed coverage of the history of coffee in Europe and the Americas.

Regarding the dancing goat story, I think there is plenty of genetic proof that coffee did originate in this part of Africa. Infact apparently a good poportion of coffee being traded out of Yemen in the 1500's was most likely Ethipopian, rather than Yemenese. I agree the dancing goat story is pretty unlikely to be true, but I think there is a chance that herders might have stumbled accross the cherries and then perhaps concocted qhawa from the leaves of the coffee tree- finding it a refreshing and stimulating drink. The leap to roasting the seeds inside the cherry most likely came a lot later...bringing us coffee as we now it today.


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Feb 28, 2008
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Thanks for the tip, Alun!

I just watched the first disk of the three-part series of "Black Coffee" NetFlix has all three disks.
The first disk is a very interesting account of the history of coffee. Mark Pendergrast, author of "Uncommon Grounds" appeared several times and added his commentary. I enjoyed reading his book, and it was great to see that he was a part of this production.

Thanks again,



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I've read a bit of "Coffee: A Dark History" by Antony Wild, who suggests that coffee was "discovered" before Kaldi. Wild suggests (long-windedly) that a Yemeni Sufi name Gemaleddin went on a journey, after learning about Chinese tea cultivation, in search of a local substitute. The book, "Coffee Talk" offers us Khaldi, but doesn't give the teenage goat herder the credit. Rather, an assistant to an Islamic cleric was disposing of the useless coffee cherries by burning them, sending wonderful aromas into the air.