Would it surprise you to learn the first coffee bean was most likely enjoyed by a goat and not a human?
Coffee, it would seem, comes to us from Africa. Just as homo-sapiens emerged from the Great Rift Valley, the lowly coffee bean emerged from Ethiopia.
An Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi noticed some of his goats were more frisky than the other goats. This was especially true of his old billy goat.
After a particularly animated session of goat romping the goatherd noticed the old billy goat had been nibbling berries off a certain tree.
So the goatherd, being an adventurous lad tried the berries as well. Soon he was wildly romping alongside his goats.
Along came a holy man and wondered why this goatherd was acting so odd, as goat romping was a rare sight to behold. After receiving his explanation the holy man took some berries home and tried them as well. Not surprisingly, he could not sleep.
It just so happens this holy man was famous for his all night dissertations. He was quite dismayed at not being able to keep his disciples awake long enough for him to finish his nocturnal monologues. So necessity being the mother of invention, he ordered his disciples known as dervishes to chew on the berries during his sermons. It seemed to do the trick.
The holy man's fame spread as a great prophet whose all-night teachings could keep even the most sleepy disciple on the edge of his seat. Of course today we know it was the caffeine from the coffee beans, but in those days nobody made the connection. To this day the Sufi's begin their whirling dervish ceremonies by drinking a brew made from coffee beans.
However, the first cups of coffee were not made from roasted beans. Sometimes they were made from the leaves. At best it was a bitter and nasty tasting concoction and a far cry from today's roasted and mellowed brews.
So thanks to a fidgety goat and a holy man's need to jolt his audience into attention through the long hours of the night, coffee was born.