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The Undisputed History of Coffee

You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” is a popular quote that seems fittingly relevant when looking back on the history of coffee. As the world’s undisputed favorite drink (ahem) there’s a lot to be said about how a bush of bright red berries ended up influencing global trade to become the social and economic icon that it is today.

It All Started with a Herd of Dancing Goats

Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder by the name of Kaldi stumbled upon the stimulating berries when he observed his flock of goats chewing on them, causing them to bounce (or dance) around. After trying the berries himself, Kaldi excitedly brought them to a local holy man who – according to legend – disapproved and tossed them in the fire, releasing the intoxicating aroma we’ve grown to love.

Despite being rejected at first, the berries were shared with a monastery, where a drink was concocted, and the local monks began using it to get through their lengthy evening prayer sessions. Word began to spread like a meme on Twitter and coffee eventually made its way to the Arabian Peninsula – which is where the journey officially began.

From Arabia to Europe to the New World

The Arabians jumped on these magical berries and by the 1400’s were growing, cultivating and trading coffee from Mocha, the port city in Yemen. By the 16th century, neighboring regions such as Egypt and North Africa helped spread this dark, sexy beverage throughout the Middle East.

Naturally, the social activity of coffee drinking touched down in Venice, Italy via trading with the Muslims, where its energetic warmth infected the cobblestone streets and wealthy patrons alike. Pope Clement VIII enthusiastically gave his vote, despite there being controversy over whether or not drinking coffee was okay in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

After circulating throughout England, France, the Netherlands, and India – and spawning some of the first coffee shops in existence – coffee seedlings landed in the Americas via Gabriel de Clieu in Martinique. From the Caribbean, coffee eventually traveled up the coast to North America and the rest, as they say, is history.

Thank the Heavens for Goats

Believe it or not, goats are one of the oldest domesticated species on the planet. So before you go home and give Killer a treat for being such a good boy, stop and think about what your dog has really done for you lately. And should you encounter a goat next summer at your local petting zoo, refer to this blog post and give them a big coffee-loving hug!

It’s the least you can do

UPDATE: Check out our whiteboard animation video that tells the story of Kaldi and his goats! Click here.

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