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18/06/2012

The history of coffee

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The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the thirteenth century. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goat herder who discovered coffee, did not appear in writing until 1671 AD and is probably apocryphal. From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and northern Africa. Coffee then spread to Italy, and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.

First uses

There are several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink itself. One account involves the Yemenite Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili. When traveling in Ethiopia, the legend goes, he observed birds of unusual vitality, and, upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality.

Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheik Abou’l Hasan Schadheli’s disciple, Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the beans to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the bean, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this “miracle drug” reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint.

Another story involves a goat-herd, Kaldi, who, noticing the energizing effects when his flock nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush, chewed on the fruit himself. His exhilaration prompted him to bring the berries to a Muslim holy man in a nearby monastery. But the holy man disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire, from which an enticing aroma billowed and the holy men came. The roasted beans were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water, yielding the world’s first cup of coffee. The Ethiopian ancestors of today’s Oromo ethnic group, were the first to have recognized the energizing effect of the native coffee plant. Studies of genetic diversity have been performed on Coffea arabica varieties, found to be of low diversity but which retained some residual heterozygosity from ancestral materials, and closely related diploid species Coffea canephora and C. liberica; however, no direct evidence has ever been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant, or known about it there earlier than the seventeenth century.

From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

MUNDO DO CAFÉ

A origem do Café

A história do café começou no século IX. O café é originário das terras altas da Etiópia (possivelmente com culturas no Sudão e Quênia) e difundiu-se para o mundo através do Egito e da Europa. Mas, ao contrário do que se acredita, a palavra “café” não é originária de Kaffa — local de origem da planta —, e sim da palavra árabe qahwa, que significa “vinho”(قهوة), devido à importância que a planta passou a ter para o mundo árabe. Leia mais »