You have no idea how many legends exist about the discovery of coffee and how it became what we know today.
For how much technical information and studies have been done on this matter … when it comes to its origin we still have no certainty.
In this article we are going to list the most famous legends about the discovery of coffee!
Kaldi, the Ethiopian Shepherd
This is one of the best known legends of all.
It tells of this Ethiopian shepherd, named Kaldi, who one day in the pasture noticed that his flock, after having digested strange red berries, was very active.
Intrigued, he decided to taste them himself, discovering their energetic effect.
Very happy and proud of his discovery, he brought the berries as a gift to a monastery.
The friars began to study them, first eating them, then making a decoction of the whole cherry. Only at a later stage did they begin to separate the pulp from the seed and thus toast the beans in a pan over the fire.
Even today, in the Ethiopian tradition, every family buys raw beans to be able to prepare and roast them at home with the traditional method.
Do you want to taste our Ethiopian coffee?
Baba Budan, Indian monk
As we have just read, coffee was born in Ethiopia for then slowly spread to the rest of the world.
However, as soon as the Arabs understood the economic potential of this small grain, they forbade the export of raw beans outside their countries, to avoid planting and therefore hinder a potential future competitor.
Hence the origin of coffee cultivation in India is once again between reality and legend.
It is said that it was an Indian religious named Baba Budan, on a pilgrimage to Mecca, who became passionate about coffee. However, given all the export restrictions, he stole some raw grains and ingested 7 to keep them safe throughout the transport.
Once back in India, he recovered the seeds (use your own imagination to understand how) and planted them in what we know today as the Baba Budan Hills, that is the hills of Baba Budan, a beautiful lush territory, with soft and sinuous hills, dominated by a bright green.
We will never know if this fantastic story corresponds to reality, but it is certain that India today is one of the largest coffee producers in the world and thanks to this legend Baba Budan was proclaimed a saint for his contribution to the commercial life of the country.
Do you know what?
Our Indian “Kalledevarapura” comes from this region, namely the Bababudangiri region!
The sacredness and beneficial effects of coffee
Another legend tells the importance that coffee has always held for its beneficial and energizing properties.
The first real cup of coffee is said to have been prepared in 1200 AD by an Islamic hermit named al-Shadhili in al-Makkha, later translated into Mocha, which is the largest and most important port for the marketing of coffee from the 12th to the 15th century.
There are many legends about how al-Shadhili himself discovered coffee, the most famous one tells that he was unjustly accused of courting the king’s daughter, who exiled him in the desert for 20 years. One evening, hungry, he discovered a bush from which he took the berries. Thus he understood the powers of the plant for the first time.
Some even say that he lived in the desert for 20 years, feeding only on coffee berries. Others say it was the Archangel Gabriel who revealed to him that a coffee-based diet led to holiness.
Other historical accounts still report that he, visiting Ethiopia, saw people drinking coffee and brought back the use to his homeland.
Later tales speak of a group of seasick Portuguese sailors who landed in Mocha: sick and malnourished, they would have died if the good al-Shadhili had not suggested they drink the magic potion he had been drinking for years. The sailors tried it and, within a few days, were strong enough to resume navigation. As they left, it is reported that al-Shadhili shouted at them: “Remember the drink of al-Makkha!”
And so it was the drink that changed human history was introduced to the West and the fame of the city of Mocha was guaranteed forever.
As you may have understood, the thread that separates reality from fantasy is very thin.
That is what we know for sure is that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia in the 6th century AD in the Coffea region, from which it takes its name.
However, the first to understand its potential were the Arabs: this is where the name “Quality Arabica” comes from.
Coffee then arrived in Europe only around the seventeenth century AD and then spread throughout the world through the colonizers.
Initially used to stay awake in long ecclesiastical prayers, then used in place of alcohol in the periods of prohibition and later allied with the military in battle to never lose strength. It became a pure playful activity in Europe, to the point of becoming an integral part of every culture in the world.