Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world, petroleum being this most treaded. It is believed to have originated in Ethiopia and was used in the Middle East in the sixteenth century to boost concentration. But how was it first discovered?
The story goes that a goat herder noticed his goats becoming excited after consuming berries off a tree. He shared the news with his neighbours who then suggested drying and boiling them to make a drink. When the berries were heated, the unmistakable aroma of espresso drifted in the night air. The now roasted beans had been raked from the embers, ground up and dissolved in hot water, making the first cup of coffee.
It was soon discovered that the beverage kept them conscious for hours at a time – a helpful tool for men devoted to long hours of prayer. Word spread, and so did the warm drink.
A Yemenite Sufi mystic named Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili also has a claim to the discovery of coffee: he is stated to have spotted berry-eating, energetic birds flying over his village. He tried the berries and found himself unusually alert.
Undefined Arguable Origins
Another man claims to have discovered the bean first. While in exile from Mocha (Arabia Felix in present-day Yemen), Omar lived in a barren cave near Ousab. Somewhat hungry, Omar one day chewed some berries to find them bitter. He roasted them but this made them hard; finally, he tried boiling them, resulting in an aromatic brown liquid which, in an instant, gave him unnatural and first-rate energy and allowed him to remain wakeful for days on end.
By the 16th century, long before the online betting NZ enjoys today, coffee used to be the beverage of desire in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Its reputation as the ‘wine of Araby’ helped thousands of pilgrims travelling the holy town of Mecca every 12 months from all over the Muslim world. Yemeni retailers took espresso home from Ethiopia and grow it for themselves. It was prized using Sufis in Yemen who used the drink to resource concentration and as a non-secular intoxicant.
Coffee Wasn’t An Accepted Drink
Coffee, like alcohol, has a lengthy history of prohibition, attracting concern and suspicion and religious disquiet and hypocrisy. If religious leaders had their way there would have been fewer coffee houses open today.
Coffee drinking used to be banned in Mecca in 1511. The opposition was led through the Meccan governor Khair Beg, who was once afraid that coffee would foster opposition to his rule by bringing men collectively and allowing them to discuss his failings.
Thus, was born coffee’s affiliation with sedition and revolution. It was seen as sinful and the debate over whether it was intoxicating or not raged on over the next decade till the ban was once eventually rescinded in 1524 by means of an order of the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I, with Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-İmadi issuing a fatwa allowing the espresso to be drunk again. All’s well that ends well.