Coffee 101: The Most Beloved Drink of All Time

Documented history of the widespread use of coffee dates back to the 15th century, but there are also legendary stories dating back to as early as the 9th century in Ethiopia, where it originated. 

As the story goes, a local goat herder found his goats to be more playful and energized when eating the fruits from the native “coffee” plants. For those familiar with raising goats, they can be quite mischievous on a normal day. As a goat owner myself, I cannot imagine them having increased energy!  

Needless to say, the energized goats did not go unnoticed. The animated animals caught the attention of a local monk who gathered the fruits the goats were nibbling on. He then roasted and brewed the fruits and after a few sips he noticed an energy enhancement within himself, and thus, coffee was born.

Coffee has become one of the most beloved drinks of all time. In fact, coffee is the second-largest import in the world, second only to oil. Over 150 million Americans consume coffee daily. The average American spends $1,092 a year on coffee —  that’s around $20 a week. But coffee as we know it has had quite a long journey to get where it is today. 

The history of coffee begins with the appreciation for the fruit seed's almost instantaneous energy and cognitive boosts. However, the stimulating effects have not always been appreciated.  Coffee was banned for encouraging radical thinking in Mecca and Cairo. In Italy, coffee had been banned for being 'satanic' by Italian clergymen. However, with the help of the Catholic Church, Pope Clement VII lifted the ban and had coffee baptized in 1600. Even in England, where coffee was a beverage for 'enlightenment', Charles II tried to condemn the famous coffee houses where intensive religious and political discussions ensued. Even as recently as the 18th-century, the Swedish government made coffee and its paraphernalia like coffee cups illegal for its supposed ties to rebellious sentiment.  

Today, we have thousands of scientific studies showing the health benefits of coffee, which often confirm what was touted back in the 15th century. Historical findings note that a brew of the coffee bean, mashed berries, healthy fats, and hot water, was often used for medicinal purposes. While in today's world, coffee is mainly roasted and brewed as a warm jump-start to the day, or even an iced beverage to cool down, there are far more benefits to drinking a cup-of-joe than just its energy-boosting properties.