According to legend, coffee was discovered in the 9th century when an Ethiopian goat herder named Khaldi noticed that his normally lethargic goats were more excitable after they had nibbled the red berries from an evergreen tree. Khaldi took the berries to a Muslim holy man, who turned the raw fruit of the coffee tree into the delicious beverage.
Though coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around A.D. 850, it wasn’t until it spread to Mocha, Yemen, in around 1100 that it became firmly established as a popular drink. From Mocha (from which Mocha coffee derives its name), beans were shipped to India, Java, and eventually Europe in 1515. By 1675, England had more than 3,000 coffee houses.
Coffee was originally regarded as a wonder drug in Yemen and Arabia and was taken only at the advice of a doctor. Many saw coffee as a brain tonic or as a way to stimulate religious visions.
Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee trees on the Arabian Peninsula. Arabs typically roasted and boiled coffee, or qahwa, which is Arabic for “the wine of Islam.”
A 2011 study showed that women who drink two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15% less likely to develop depression over a 10-year period than those who drank one cup of coffee or less per week.
When the first coffeehouse opened in England in 1652, women were prohibited from entering, other than to serve men.
The Turks call their coffee houses “schools for the wise.”