For many, coffee is part of the design of our day. While some of us would love to have an intravenous drip of it all day, the intoxicating aroma and taste of coffee has some fascinating roots.
No one knows for sure how coffee was discovered but the legend of the goat herder is a beloved favorite tale. The story goes that the shepherd’s flock was much more energetic when they ate the berries from a particular tree. He shared it with a local monk who used the berries to brew a drink and confirmed what the goats already knew, coffee was a stimulant! Word traveled fast and soon coffee reached the Arabian peninsula where the trading of the beans began.
By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. By the 17th century, it had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. Coffee houses or “penny universities” popped up and people could buy a cup for one penny and enjoy fascinating conversation. It eventually crossed over into the United States where it competed with tea for awhile, but by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops.
FUN FACT: After crude oil, coffee, which is grown in over 50 countries, is the most sought after commodity in the world.
And why does it taste so different? The coffee you get at Starbuck’s tastes wildly different than that of Dunkin’ Donuts or Caribou or Tim Horton’s. The flavor depends on how the beans are processed and roasted and where they are grown. Beans from Brazil may have a heavy body and a hint of chocolate and spices whereas coffee from Kenya may be sweet and a bit acidic. It all depends on climate, location, temperature, soil and how it’s processed.
And can we just take a moment to talk about the design of the vessels we chose to drink our coffee in? I mean ceramic, plastic, paper, Styrofoam and all things in between. The unique flavors are just as a diverse at the mugs we choose to drink from.
So whether it’s a tall mocha latte, Frappuccino, espresso or just plain old black, coffee is definitely a universal beverage that the majority of the planet loves to consume in massive quantities, especially in the wee hours of the morning.