The past few months have been interesting to say the least. Out of nowhere a global health crisis has forced many of us into some form of quarantine, and now the days when swinging by our favorite coffee shop as part of the morning routine seem so far away. In bad times and good, history can be a great reminder of just how far we’ve come, how much farther we have to go, and how much we can be grateful for.
It All Starts With Goats...
This brings us to the legend of Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder in roughly 850 AD. Coffee wasn’t yet a thing, much less latte art or the ability to choose between a light or dark roast. Global trade of commodities was still in its infancy and guaranteed two-day shipping from Amazon Prime was still a work in progress.
Sent out to watch for his family’s goats, Kaldi noticed something was off with the herd. The goats were screaming, frolicking, some even say dancing - while snacking on the mysterious fruits of a bush. Kaldi walks over to see what the craze is all about, and decides to join in. Just like that, a legend is born.
Curious about the cherry-like fruit that had his goats break out dancing, Kaldi shortly after feels the same effects. Elated and ready to share his discovery with anyone that will listen (sound familiar…?), Kaldi comes running into town. Thinking he had just discovered something holy (let’s be honest, we all come up with the best discoveries when caffeinated), Kaldi took the cherries to a local monastery to show the monks this “heaven sent” stuff.
Evil. Possessed. A mad man. This goat farmer was off his rocker.
The monks tossed the cherries onto an open fire pit, proclaiming them the work of the devil - until the smell of the roasted beans filled the monastery halls. Aroused by the rich aroma, one of the monks (and the world’s first barista) pulls the cooled beans, mixes them with hot water, and the rest is history.
...And Ends With a Little Bit of Gratitude
Over the next 1000 years, the mysterious beverage would embark on a slow ascendancy to becoming the most widely consumed beverage around the world. From the Arabian Peninsula to Constantinople, Venice to London, and across oceans spanning from Indonesia to Brazil, coffee, like humans, have weathered some of civilization’s most trying times, yet we fight on.
It can be humbling to step back for just a moment to think about how far coffee and humans have come. Global trade, technological advances in agriculture and communications, the list could go on for days when thinking about how much better off we are as a world than when Kaldi first chewed coffee cherries with his goats in a field in Ethiopia.
For many of us, our favorite drink used to be nothing more than monks mixing burnt beans in water before a prayer session. Now we can order at the click of a button bags of our favorite specialty coffee sourced from Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains. All that has happened in between is incredible in itself and what is to come is even more exciting.
Coffee and the human race share a similar story in a myriad of ways - resilient, ambitious, adventurous, and omnipresent. So, in these slightly tougher times, we just want you to remember: Be like a good cup of coffee - strong, steady, and the best part of someone's day.