Ever wonder how the wonderful concoction that we know today as coffee become known as java? Well, my friends, it’s a long story. In other words, it’s time to wake up, smell the coffee, take a sip, sit back and learn!
The origins of coffee are shrouded in uncertainty, although it is more than likely to have been African, particularly Ethiopian, in origin. One legend tells of a goat-herder named Kaldi, who one day found his goats to be a happy lot as they frolicked around a cluster of dark-leafed shrubs bearing red berries. Since this was before the age when one wore berries on hats, shoes and other accessories and he wanted to be happy too, Kaldi decided to test the berries by eating them. Soon he found himself as one among his flock, more carefree than he had ever been before. He shared his discovery with the nearby monastery, and the monks soon used the wondrous beverage to keep them awake during their evening prayer sessions. (They deserved to be happy too!)
After some thousand years, traders brought coffee across the Red Sea and into Arabia (Yemen), where Muslim monks began cultivating the shrubs in their own private gardens. At first, they made a type of tea-like beverage from the pulp of the fermented berries and this concoction was known as “”Qahwah””. This is the Arabic word for wine and the source of the modern word for coffee. Because it was forbidden for Muslims to drink wine, this new drink was used during religious ceremonies. Initially, it was prepared from green, un-roasted beans boiled in water. By the late 13th century, Arabians began roasting and grinding the coffee beans before adding them to boiling water, improving the flavor. At that time, coffee was also a kind of revered elixir, and physicians prescribed it regularly for longevity, increased stamina and a host of other things.