11 June, 2010
Coffee without a doubt formed an essential part of our daily lives. For most adults our whole day revolves around coffee, whether you prefer it plain dark with no sugar, or a steamy Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream, and a drizzle of chocolate on top, the fact is that, coffee has grow to be a necessity inorder to get us through the day. Having realized that we have became a society addicted to caffeine, many questions have arisen concerning the effects that it can have on the body. Being a habitual coffee consumer has beneficial health effects on our minds and bodies. Coffee can also cause adverse medical conditions if consumption is excessive. In order to understand how and why coffee suddenly becamesuch a significant part of every single society on earth, we must dive into its history. Go beyond what popular culture tells us, and really dig further into the past of coffee. At the same time I believe that by understanding the history behind the world’s favorite drink, we can learn a great deal of our selves by looking at what we a species like regardless of culture, skin color, language andbeliefs. As it turns out, this coffee journey begun many centuries ago in a remote area in the continent of Africa, called Ethiopia.
In the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, originated, coffee trees grow today as they have for centuries. Though we probably will never know with confidence, there probably is some truth to the Kaldi tale. Allegedly he discovered coffeeafter noticing that his goats, after eating berries from a specific tree, became so energetic that they did not want to rest at night. Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the head of the local monastery, which made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer. Pretty Soon after that the chief had shared his finding with the other monks atthe monastery, and from there slowly the effects of the berries began to broaden. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, it began a journey which would spread its reputation across the planet ("Bean There").
Nowadays coffee is cultivated in many countries of the world. Whether it is Asia or Africa, Central or South America, all can trace their heritage to the trees in theearly coffee forests on the Ethiopian highland. The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade. By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in many community coffee houses, which began to appear incities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people visited them for all kinds of social gatherings. Not only did they drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they also listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept current on the news of the day. In fact, they quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that thecoffee houses were often referred to as Schools of the Wise. With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the world, word of the wine of Arabia, as the drink was often called, was beginning to spread far beyond Arabia. In an effort to maintain its complete control in the early coffee trade, the Arabians continued to closely watch their coffee fabrication.European travelers to the Near East brought back stories of the unusual dark black beverage. By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. Opponents were overly careful, calling the drink the bitter invention of Satan. With the coming of coffee to Venice in 1615, the local clergy damned it. The controversy was so great that Pope Clement VIII was...