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A History of Coffee: Part 1 - The Blessed Bean

It seems there are no limits to the legend of how coffee was discovered. Depending on who you talk to, it might have been discovered by farmers in present day Saudi Arabia who noticed goats acting much more energetic after eating certain leaves. It might have been monks who referred to it as “the blessed bean”. You might have also heard an appropriated story of a monkey that only picks the best beans and the locals, for whatever reason, decided to use that bean after it had run its course.              
My personal favorite is that of Sheikh Omar who, being exiled near a cave in Yemen, decided to eat the berries nearby. Finding them bitter, he decided to roast them. This, as we know made them hard. Where someone else might have tried a different berry, Omar said “nah man, I’m way too invested in this” and tried to boil said roasted berries and resulted in a drink that revitalized his spirit. Upon bringing the berry back to the surrounding area, he was naturally hailed as a saint.              

The first written accounts of it are in 15th century Yemen where, while it was brought from Ethiopia, it was widely prepared and consumed. It was immediately used as fuel for the academic pursuits of Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, for the military brainstorming of Saladin and enlightenment by the Sufi mystics.              

In medieval Europe, the drink was resisted as a “Muslim drink” until Pope Clement VIII said, “Chill out folks, it’s cool” and declared it a “Christian drink” so people would stop freaking out. Once declared a “Christian drink”, (possibly the reason churches revolve around coffee) a coffee shop weas promptly opened in Rome. To be continued….

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