“O Coffee! Thou dost dispel all care, thou are the object of desire to the scholar. This is the beverage of the friends of God.”
-“In Praise of Coffee,” Arabic poem (1511)
Popular legend holds that the young Ethopian herder, Kaldi, serendipitously discovered coffee after noticing the energizing effect the wild berries had on his goats. However, as early as 575AD the nomadic Galla tribe of north Africa was known to have crushed the raw, protein rich berries into animal fat for long sustaining energy during times travel and war.
During the 6th century Ethiopia invaded neighboring Yemen and established coffee plantations during their 50 year rein. The Arab nation developed a taste for the black brew and by the 16th century had cornered the domestic coffee market. Yemeni coffee producers protected their caffeine monopoly by boiling or roasting beans ready for export to ensure their infertility.
In the early 1600s live coffee beans were finally smuggled from Yemen into both Europe and India. Coffee began its centuries long creep around the world. Today coffee is grown in almost eighty countries and is second only to petroleum in international trade value.