The true origin of coffee is unknown, but it is said that the first coffee beans were discovered in coffee trees in the Ethiopian highlands where the Kaldi story was born. This legend reveals that a Kaldi's goat was eating strange berries that made it exuberant and lively. The Kaldi then went to the monastery and he drank a mixture of these berries and discovered that he was able to stay up for long periods of time. Needless to say, it soon became one of the world's first energy drinks.
The Arabs played a crucial role in the brewing and dispersion of coffee. In the 1400s, coffee plants were apparent in the Yemeni district and only a century later, coffee was growing in Turkey, Egypt, Persia and Syria.
Coffee houses were very prominent in Arabic societies and these places were known as “Gahveh Khaneh”. Here people would be able to unite with friends over coffee, listen to music, play chess, listen to stories, watch performers and basically stay entertained.
By the 1600s, coffee was making its way to Europe and debuted in Venice in 1615. It was given the approval of Pope Clement VIII to avoid any controversy over this stimulating drink. Coffee houses soon began to appear in Italy, Austria, France, England, Germany and Holland.
London in particular took a strong liking to coffee and the culture that came with it, as there were over 300 coffee shops in London alone by the mid 1600s.
Also during this time, coffee was brought to modern day New York where it was well received because there were no taxes on the beverage, unlike tea. Cultivation became a problem, so many in Arab countries were looking for lands where coffee would easily be grown and maintained. One of the first places to cultivate coffee was on the Island of Java in Indonesia, where it thrived beautifully. Coffee was then harvested on the islands of Celebes and Sumatra.
In the new world, coffee was first introduced to Martinique where over 18 million coffee trees grew from one seedling brought over from Europe. Soon afterward, these plants were brought to other Caribbean islands and South and Central America.
No matter where you are in the world, you will always be able to find a common cultural link between all countries.
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