Every year, on October 1, people all across the world celebrate International Coffee Day. In a magnificent example of transformation, coffee beans have been transported from tropical Africa to the morning cups of homes throughout the world for more than 600 years, and the process by which they are prepared for consumption is itself a fascinating story. A wide variety of coffee preparations exist thanks to human ingenuity: beverages, sweets, medicines, and even money in certain ancient societies. Coffee, in whatever form, is a wonderful way to get going, stay warm, feel revitalised, stay alert, and reconnect with friends and family.
What is the background of International Coffee Day?
Records indicate that Ethiopia is where coffee first appeared, making the tale of how it was brought to Africa all the more fascinating. A herd of goats began performing abnormally, almost like they were dancing, about the year 700 AD. Owner Kaldi suspected that a new type of red bean they had been given was to blame for their odd conduct. One legend has it that Kaldi gave his discovery to a monk who asked for it so that he might pray without falling asleep, while another says that the monk refused and instead tossed the beans into the fire, where they gave out a lovely perfume.
In the 15th century, coffee beans bearing the name “Mocha” suddenly made their way from the north into Yemen. Soon after, coffeehouses dubbed “Schools of the Wise” sprung up in Egypt, Persia, and Turkey, and their wares were known as the “wine of Araby.”
Then, Arabia took over as coffee’s gatekeeper, and with these beans, Southern India launched commercial coffee production. Coffee first arrived in Europe around 1560, where it swiftly gained popularity until Pope Clement VIII declared it to be of demonic origin. After giving in to the beverage’s charms, he baptised it and declared it a Christian beverage. By the mid-1600s, coffee shops had cropped up all throughout Europe, and the beans had followed the colonial wave to the New World.
After much deliberation and debate, the “International Coffee Organization” (ICO) officially designated October 1 as “International Coffee Day” in 2014. This day is now celebrated all over the world as an opportunity to honour the beverage of coffee and bring attention to the plight of coffee farmers.