For many people, the perfect start to the day is enjoying a coffee speciality prepared with their K-fee capsule machine. However, who discovered coffee originally, and how? That's not an easy question to answer, as the discovery of the coffee plant is shrouded in numerous myths and legends. We would like to share the three most fascinating with you.
What do you think, which of these legends is the most likely to have a grain of truth in it?
THE GOATHERD KALDI
The loveliest story is probably the one about a goatherd named Kaldi, who lived in the mountain forests of Abyssinia, today's Ethiopia. One day, the goatherd couldn't believe his eyes: his goats were jumping around like mad and running all over the place. They had eaten the green leaves and cherry-like fruit of some bushes that grew wild in the area. The goatherd became curious – so curious, in fact, that he also tasted some of the unfamiliar red cherries. The effect of the caffeine was amazing, almost magical: he did not sleep at all the following night, and was not tired.
The next day, Kaldi told the monks in the nearby monastery of his mysterious discovery. They were impressed and brewed the cherries in water to make a tasty drink. Ever afterwards, the magic potion with its high caffeine content helped them to stay wide awake as they performed their nightly prayers and services.
A different legend with a religious background comes from the Arabian region. As the great Prophet Mohammed lay ill and weak on his deathbed, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him. In his hands, he held a bowl full of steaming black liquid which he called "quawa". The Prophet Mohammed drank the steaming liquid with enjoyment, and soon afterwards was well again. According to legend, in that same night, he went on to unseat 40 men and made love to 40 women. Thanks to this heavenly tonic, the Prophet was able to go on to unite a huge Islamic kingdom such as the world had never seen before.
A YOUNG DERVISH
Another myth centres on the young dervish Omar, who had been wrongfully convicted of a crime and banned from the town of his birth, Mocha in Yemen, to a remote stony desert. Without any food or water, he was soon weak and helpless. Starving, he ate some cherries growing on a bush he was unfamiliar with, but they tasted too bitter and were too hard to chew, which is why he decided to roast the pits over a fire and to then boil them in water. The aromatic drink had an extremely revitalising effect. He therefore decided to ask an old, weak pilgrim to taste it who was then able to continue his journey home, his strength restored. When the people of Mocha heard of this miraculous recovery, Omar was allowed to return to his hometown, where he was welcomed with great honours. The caliph even presented him with a palace.
We will probably never know whether one of these legends is actually true. However, maybe there is a grain of truth in all of them. They certainly show that the revitalising effect of the coffee plant was already discovered a long time ago. The foundations for the beginnings of our coffee culture today were therefore laid quite early on. So it may well be that we can thank one of these legends for the freshly ground coffee in our K-fee capsules. A fascinating thought!