Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Birth of Coffee - The Story of Kaldi

As you may well know, Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Here is the story of how that was supposed to have happened.
Once upon a time in Ethiopia there was a goatherd named Kaldi. He began to notice that when his goats ate the little red berries from a certain bush they’d go all spastic and crazy. Like any person would have done, he tried them himself and he felt GREAT! He took some of the berries home to his wife who popped some in her mouth as well. She liked the affects so much that she made up her mind that the berries were a gift from god. She promptly took the heaven-sent goodies to the monks at the monastery.
A Caffeinated Kaldi dancing with his goats.

The monks were skeptical and decided the berries were actually a gift from the devil, duh! However, over time the monks were trying to figure out how to stay awake and alert for prayers through the night and they decided that maybe those berries really were a gift from god and they ate them. Sure enough, praying through the night was no longer a problem. The berries tasted like crap though, so the monks tried to figure out how to prepare them so they’d taste better. They tried roasting them and then eating them. They still tasted bad, but the aroma of the roasting was awesome, so they kept on with it. Then they tried roasting them and boiling them and BINGO! Coffee was born! When the Arabs came to visit the Ethiopians were like, “Dudes, you gotta try this delicious drink we have here.” The Arabs liked it too, so they took some coffee home with them and marketed it. Anyway, now the whole world has coffee thanks to Kaldi and his caffeinated goats.

In the very beginning, coffee was traditionally served with salt, and sometimes even butter. In some places in Ethiopia it is still prepared this way, but sugar is much more common these days.
Coffee bush berries growing on my compound
The coffee ceremony is a tradition that continues and has changed very little over years. You can always tell when someone is having a coffee ceremony because you can smell the roasting coffee as you pass by on the street.  One of my favorite things about walking in the evening is the smell of all of the neighbors roasting their beans mixed with the incense they burn throughout the ceremony. I was never a fan of coffee before I moved here, but there is nothing  more satisfying than sitting and chatting with friends in a room filled with the scent of incense and roasted coffee, sipping at a hot little cup of traitionally prepared coffee.

Next time on Birdy Birds Bloggy Blog: The ins and outs of a traditional coffee ceremony and how to make your own traditional Ethiopian coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Love that painting - coffee totally makes me feel this way! Sounds incredible, and can't wait to hear more xoxo