The history of coffee is as rich as the beverage. Loaded with anecdotes and idioms that not only provide entertainment, but insight into its uses. Below are a few compiled stories that yours truly has found particularly interesting. Reworded and paraphrased to fit the current culture comfortably.
Our first story begins in the Ethiopian wilderness. A Yemenite Sufi mystic (apparently those exist) was wandering along generally observing the flora and fauna. This man, who has a name I can’t pronounce and you don’t care about, (if you do care it’s Gothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu Al-Hasan Al-shadhili) noticed some peculiarly volatile birds. They had, of course, recently consumed the fruit of a coffee tree and were convulsing from branch to branch; barley regaining their bearings before executing a perfect Arabian double salto forward tuck branch dismount. Or so I assume. As any village idiot, *ahem* sorry, mystic would do, Gothul decided to ingest some of these berries himself. Luckily he lived, and recounted how he felt energized and enlivened. Though his acrobatics were not nearly as spectacular, people bought the story! Thus goes one of the origins of coffee cherries.
A Sheik Abou’l Hasan Schadheli’s disciple, who went by Omar (praise God), was exiled to a desert cave near Ousab. Apparently he had been banished from his home town of Mocha because he could cure the sick through prayer? I’m honestly not entirely sure why he was banished, just that he was, and he could cure the sick through prayer. So here is our hero, trying to make ends meet in a desert cave. Naturally, he samples the local shrubbery, and is apparently offended by the bitterness of the berries offered from it. Since beggars can’t be choosers though, Omar decides to give it another whack and this time roasts and boils the berries before knocking the beverage back. I would think that this drink was still rather bitter (I’ve had coffee before) but it was good enough for Omar. It’s qualities were so amazing, in fact, it got him reinstated to the community! But wait there’s more! He was crowned a saint as well, and no one stopped to wonder how he shared the glories of this drink while in banishment. Since logical fallacies like that are easily dismissible in the land of legend and lore.
Finally, we have a goat herder who went by James. Why? Because I said so. James carried the same gene as the other two. That is, insatiable curiosity and a general lack of knowledge in potentially poisonous plant life. After observing his goats consume an unknown berry and proceed to cartwheel across the meadows (that or they wouldn’t sleep during the night—the translations about this are unclear), James decided to try the arousing snack for himself. Of course, he experienced the same side-effects, names the plant coffee, became knighted, and recently starred in the hit Netflix series “Euphoria”. Or so the legend goes.
Unfortunately, there is not a lick of truth to any of these tales and the actual origins of coffee follow a much more mundane, listless, path. I would love to delve deeper into the historical nuance and gradually growing importance of coffee throughout the world that caused it to become the global superpower which it is today, but I need to go check on my dog. She just ate something and I’m hoping if I eat it too I could market it to my local town and become endlessly rich and famous.
Or maybe just pay my way through college.