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Just like the elixir itself, coffee’s history is rich and strong — but it’s also filled with legend, intrigue, romance and controversy.

One of the most intriguing legends surrounding coffee is its very first aficionados — goats!

A popular, though undocumented story sets the discovery of coffee’s amazing properties in the rugged Ethiopian Highlands, sometimes called the Roof of Africa because of the region’s height and vast area. Coffee trees still grow there today, just as they did over a thousand years ago.

Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi noticed that his goats, after munching berries from a particular tree, became so lively they couldn’t sleep at night.

Kaldi reported this amazing discovery to the abbot of a local monastery who made a drink with the berries and found it kept him well awake for evening prayers.

Another version of the story says Kaldi munched on the berries himself. When he energetically reported the discovery at the monastery, the Abbott disapproved of the stimulant and threw the berries into the fire.

However, in perhaps the first instance of “wake up and smell the coffee,” the aroma from the beans enticed other monks to gather ‘round and investigate. Quickly, they raked the beans from the embers, ground them and brewed them in hot water to yield the world’s first cup of coffee.

Or so the legend goes.

What’s your personal discovery of coffee? Do you remember that first cup?