Not so long ago we explored the birth of coffee in Ethiopia as seen here: Legend of Coffee . We left off meeting a goat herder named Kaldi, his dancing goats and a trip to the local monastery. From that monastery in Ethiopia word traveled fast! Sweeping east and reaching the Arabian Peninsula coffee culture as we know it ignited.
It’s Not Actually Pink
The Arabian Peninsula was the perfect launch pad for the coffee rocket. Ethiopian beans are believed to have been transported to Yemen around the 15th century. The Arabs were the first to cultivate our favorite plant, and soon were trading it far and wide from the port of Mocha in Yemen. What began as a stimulant for devotions quickly spread from the monasteries and into the cities. Coffee culture was alive!
Coffee’s Global Strategy
The coffee house was the place to be. Here ideas bloomed, debates were had and culture…uh cultured. This was the internet of that day and age. Something new and exciting, where you could find endless information and entertainment. There was music, dancing and of course everyone’s favorite coffee fueled activity; talking. A plethora of information could be found, so much so that the coffee houses were quickly referred to as the ‘Schools of the Wise’.
Mecca, located on the Arabian Peninsula, attracts vast amounts of people from the world over. The buzz quickly spread from there. By the 16th Century everybody wanted a coffee house. However all the beans leaving Mocha were already roasted and thus sterile. This kept coffee buyers from planting the seed to grow their own. Soon that would change, thanks to an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan.
Like Johnny Appleseed with Less Fiber
Baba Budan is believed to have taken 7 coffee beans from Mocha while on Haj. He returned these plants to his home in India and coffee gained another foothold in its quest for world domination. He forever changed the course of coffee forever. The guy was so awesome they named a mountain after him.
From Baba’s 7 seeds a whole new world opened up for coffee trade. On our next adventure we’ll be exploring the birth of European coffee trade and culture. We’ll follow the trail of farms in Ceylon, Java and the Caribbean until we end up somewhere a bit closer to home…
Stay tuned, and stay awake. Til next time on….The. Legend. Of. Coffee.