There are many legends about the discovery of coffee. The best known is about a goatherd named Kaldi who was grazing his flock on the upland plains of Ethiopia, when he noticed that his goat would become more frisky after eating the leaves and berries of a particular plant. He decided to try some himself, and he discovered the dynamic effects of coffee. So he took the ''mysterious'' berries to a nearby monastery. The abbot, in the monastery believed that the berries were a work of the devil, so he threw them into the fire. Luckily the aroma of the coffee was too strong, so the berries were rescued from the flames and the monks learned how to make the hot black drink we know today. Monks started to believe that coffee was a gift from God as it helped them to stay awake during their prayers.

According to most resources, the name 'coffee' does not dirive from Kaffa (its place of origin) but from the Arab word 'gahwa' that means wine, coffee or any drink made from plants.

Indeed, when coffee came to Europe, at the beginning of the 17th centure, it was often called 'Arabian wine'. It is said that the first real quantity of coffee reached the Western world through the Turks, who left several sacks of coffee behind after their defeat at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
The Austrians quickly learned to roast it and make the aromatic beverage which they served with cakes 'called kipfel' shaped like crescent moons in celebration of the defeat of the Turks.
It is also said that the coffee was first imported into Europe by Venetian merchants from 1615 onwards.
In the end of 17th century the first coffee-houses started to serve the new beverage, which very fast became popular throughout Europe and United States.

Whilst the coffee plant is believed to have originated in the upland plains of Ethiopia, the beverage itself was first introduced and developed by the Arabs. Whereas the inhabitants of those areas where coffee plants grew wild would eat the green beans, possibly grinding them, it was the Arabs who began to turn the coffee into a beverage. Initially they procured the raw material from its land of origin, but by the 14th century they had started to cultivate plants, taken during their raids, in the area of Yemen.

Some believe that the plants may have reached Yemen in the 13th century, in the course of Abyssinian invasion of Arabia. But the Arabs were probably already familiar with coffee as a beverage by the end of 10th century, or maybe even earlier.

Initially the beverage was made by soaking the green beans for a long time in cold water; then came the use of boiling water but it was only at the 'end of the 14th century that the Arabs discovered the process of roasting.

They would then grind the roasted beans and boil the ground coffee in water; thus was invented the magnificent infusion which was to conquer the world in the course of the coming centuries. It was only after the discovery of roasting that coffee quickly became a popular beverage throughout the entire Islamic world and in areas under Arab control as a result of Arab invasion.

Its popularity was favoured by the fact that alcoholic drinks are forbidden by the Koran. So coffee would be drunk both at home and in the qahveh khaneh, the forerunners of today's coffee-bars, which rapidly increased in number with the growing popularity of coffee. Here, as well as drinking coffee, people could listen to music, play games of chance, and discuss many matters.
The use of coffee extended not only throughout the entire Arab territory but also to lands occupied during the Arab invasion such as the Balkans, Spain, India, North Africa and Turkey.

Coffee was known only by repute in European countries in the 16th century. Many travellers would talk of the exotric beverage on their return from the Orient. Historians generally agree on 1615 as the date of the first importation of coffee into Europe by the Venetians.

The green beans were loaded in the port of Mocha and, once unloaded in Venice, they would be distributed to the pharmacies and used for medicinal purposes: in fact coffee was initially known for its various therapeutic properties. But very soon, apparently as early as 1624, the Venetians learned to roast the beans and prepare the aromatic beverage. Vhilst the black beverage was be coming increasingly popular in Venice both in the coffee-shops and at home, there was also a growing demand for coffee in other European countries.

The Venetians are to be credited with having been the first to import coffee from Arabia and introduce it into Europe. For almost a century, up to the early 18th century, they tried to hold on to their monopoly of the coffee trade. The Dutch on the other hand are to be credited with having started coffee production outside the Arab countries, which until the 16 Th century had retained their monopoly, even roasting or boiling the beans before selling them to foreigners, to prevent them from sprouting in other lands.

Small coffee plants transferred and started to grow in Jamaica in 1730, in India and in Mexico in 1740, in Venezuela in 1784 and in Colombia at the end of the centure.

One thing is certain: in Brazil the plants found ideal soil and climate. The country was destined to become the world's leading coffee producer, and coffee would be it's chief source of wealth.
As the world's major coffee producer for more than a century, Brazil holds the record because one third of its landscape is suitable for coffee cultivation. The country produces excellent specialty coffees from the Bahia and Minas Gerais regions.

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