There are many myths regarding the origin of coffee. The popular one being that of Khalid the goat herd. The story goes like this: Khalid an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) goatherd on a hot sleepy afternoon found his goats to be excited and frolicsome. On closer examination he noticed that they were eating some red berries from an unknown tree. Kaldi tasted those berries and found them to be stimulating. He took the berries to his wife, who too agreed to the energizing effect of the berries. On her advice he took the berries to the village priest. Believing it to be of evil force, the priest threw them to the nearby fire. A few minutes later the priest and Khalid noticed a delightful aroma coming from the fire and found the roasted berries tasty. Thus the story of roasted coffee began. There are many versions and interpretations to this story, including those from Yemen.
Besides Khalid’s story there are some references in the bible, but the actual evidence recording coffee’s first use as a beverage is not available. Although there are strong links between Islam and Arabica coffee, but there are no direct references in the Koran to coffee either.
Coffee is such an intrinsic part of Ethiopian way of life that it certainly points to an ancient usage. Evidence points roasting of coffee beans to somewhere between 13 and 16th century and with a strong connection to the Islamic culture.
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