mainLEGENDSNGM ARTICLEMAP
ROASTSCOFFEE TALK


Did an Ethiopian
goatherd discover coffee?


AFRICAN ORIGINS
(Circa A.D. 800)

Goats will eat anything. Just ask Kaldi the legendary Ethiopian (map) goatherd. Kaldi, the story goes, noticed his herd dancing from one coffee shrub to another, grazing on the cherry-red berries containing the beans. He copped a few himself and was soon frolicking with his flock.

Witnessing Kaldi’s goatly gambol, a monk plucked berries for his brothers. That night they were uncannily alert to divine inspiration.

History tells us other Africans of the same era fueled up on protein-rich coffee-and-animal-fat balls—primitive PowerBars—and unwound with wine made from coffee-berry pulp. Coffee later crossed the Red Sea to Arabia, where things really got cooking...

[next]


© 1999 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.