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Black Fact of the Week: The Coffee Plant Originated in Ethiopia

ethiopian people coffee

While the coffee business brews in the billions and millions of Americans continue to feed their addiction for hot (and cold) brew, bet you didn’t know that the stuff that keeps Dunkin’ Donuts runnin’ was named after Kaffa, Ethiopia, where coffee use originated and was first popularized.

According to Africa Resource:

Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, is the original home of the coffee (arabica) plant. Kaffa, the province in the south-western highlands where they first blossomed, gave its name to coffee. The formal cultivation and use of coffee as a beverage began early in the 9th century. Prior to that, coffee trees grew wild in the forests of Kaffa, and may in the region were familiar with the berries and the drink. According to Ethiopia’s ancient history, an Abyssinian goatherd, Kaldi, who lived around AD 850, discovered coffee. He observed his goats prancing excitedly and bleating loudly after chewing the bright red berries that grew on some green bushes nearby. Kaldi tried a few berries himself, and soon felt a sense of elation. He filled his pockets with the berries and ran home to announce his discovery. At his wife’s suggestion, he took the berries to the Monks in the monastery near Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River.

Kaldi presented the chief Monk with the berries and related his account of their miraculous effect. “Devil’s work!” exclaimed the monk, and hurled the berries in the fire. Within minutes the monastery filled with the aroma of roasting beans, and the other monks gathered to investigate. The beans were raked from the fire and crushed to extinguish the embers. The chief Monk ordered the grains to be placed in the ewer and covered with hot water to preserve their goodness. That night the monks sat up drinking the rich fragrant brew, and vowed that they would drink it daily to keep them awake during their long, nocturnal devotions.

ethiopian woman pouring coffee

While this popular account provides a religious approval for the drinking of roasted coffee berries, it is believed that Ethiopian monks were already chewing the berries as a stimulant for centuries before it was brewed. Ethiopian records establish that Ethiopian and Sudanese traders who traveled to Yemen over 600 years ago chewed the berries en route to their destination to survive the harsh difficult journey. Residents of Kaffa, as well as other ethnic groups such as the Oromo were also familiar with coffee. They mixed ground coffee with butter, and consumed them for sustenance.

Today Ethiopia is the 5th largest producer of coffee in the world, and the top coffee producer in Africa, reports Statista. Despite what countries may be in the top production spots when it comes to producing that good ol’ black, next time your mouth reaches your morning mug, don’t forget that it came from Blacks.

Sources:
Africa House
Statista
100 Amazing Facts About the Negro by J.A. Rogers

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About Cecily Michelle (533 Articles)
Follow Cecily Michelle on Instagram @_misscm

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