My journal of foood musings and eating memoirs
The story of coffee
Once upon a time as early as the ninth century, there was a discovery, coffee. According to legend it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. Ethiopian shepherds witnessed the magic of caffeine found in coffee beans. As their goats grazed on wild coffee berries they appeared to have increased levels of energy. The shepherd, the “main man” who discovered this magical component was “Kaldi”.Kaldi’s attention was captured by this mysterious finding and he shared it with the priest of the local monastery. The curious priest wanted to experiment and see for himself if this was true. Hence, he made a drink with the berries. After he drank it he discovered that it had a similar effect on him and it kept him alert and aided him during his long hours of evening prayer. The priest shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery and slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread. It started at Ethiopia and spread to the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and Yemen and the world over. Arabia is said to be the first to have roasted and brewed the coffee beans, similar to the method used to make coffee today.
That was a view from a wider perspective. Now the story moves closer to home. The story is of Baba Budan, he lived in the 17th century in what is now known as Chikmagalur, in the state of Karnataka. He travelled to Arabia to perform the ‘Hajj’, a pilgrimage to Mecca.On his journey back to India he came via Yemen. It was there that he got a taste of this drink that the Arabs made and one will definitely understand that he wanted to bring this back with him to India. Trade in coffee was highly controlled by the Arabs and they wouldn’t allow anyone to carry coffee seeds out of their country; they could only take the roasted beans. However, Baba Budan managed to steal away seven beans, which he hid among long robes that he wore. He was known to be a very good man because of which he was not suspected of this act. He left Yemen through the port of Mocha, (Mocha is where that name comes from) and came back to Chikmagalur. He planted those seeds and there began the growth of coffee shrubs in India and we all drank coffee happily ever after!