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What Are You Drinking Now? Our Collective Drink Diary


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According to one coffee legend, ancestors of today's Oromo people in a region of Kaffa in Ethiopia were the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee plant. However, no direct evidence that has been found earlier than the 15th century indicating who among the African populations used it as a stimulant, or where coffee was first cultivated. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.

Another legend attributes the discovery of coffee to a Sheikh Omar. According to an old chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha in Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab (modern-day Wusab, about 90 kilometres (56 mi) east of Zabid). Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery but found them to be too bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint.

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Guest The Coffee Prince

I love coffee! Who could have figured out burning beans would produce such a drink?

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