Celebrating National Coffee Day: A History of the Bean

Hands holding coffee beans.

With National Coffee Day coming up, we want to celebrate the history of the bean. What has grown into a $100 billion industry had humble beginnings on the plains of Ethiopia; it's a story involving goats, monks, and (like any good story) magical beans.


Imagine being a humble goat herder named Kaldi (no, not Khalid the rapper, although legend doesn't say Kaldi wasn't not a rapper) in 850 AD. One day you're hanging out on the plains of Ethiopia with your goats when all of a sudden, the goats start "dancing." Legend says that Kaldi soon realized the goats were being affected by the small red cherries they were eating and rushed to share the mysterious cherries with his local monk.


When Kaldi shared his discovery with the monk at the nearby monastery, the disapproving monk threw them in the fire, only to find the tantalizing aroma too much and raked them from the coals – producing the first roast coffee. The monk then boiled the beans to make the worlds' very first cup of coffee. Soon discovering the beans' power to help him stay awake during evening prayers, the monk shared with others, and the knowledge of the magical beans spread.


Proper coffee cultivation began as knowledge of the bean spread east to the Arabian Peninsula, and the first coffee houses began to appear, becoming cultural centers for the eastern world. As pilgrims to Mecca discovered the "Wine of Araby," they took it back to their homelands with them, carrying the bean to further corners of the world. 


When it reached Europe in the 17th century, the bean was the cause of great controversy, with many local clergies condemning it as the "bitter invention of Satan." But when Pope Clement VIII tasted the beverage for himself, he found it so delicious he gave it papal approval, and coffee houses continued to spread throughout Europe and the west. 


Along its journey throughout the world, coffee would meet controversy in every continent, but the magical bean was too good to be stopped. When it reached America, coffee was popularized by the Boston Tea Party, after which tea came to be considered unpatriotic, and coffee became the drink of choice. Today, America is still the number one importer of coffee, and coffee is the second-largest commodity traded on a global scale (second only to crude oil).


The mighty little bean has had a profound impact on the world; here at Torke Coffee Roasters, we are passionate about carrying on the rich tradition of great coffee and being a part of your coffee journey. Do you need the energy of a goat on cherries or want to experience something incredible enough to receive papal approval? Shop Torke Coffee and get your own magical beans today!

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