The story tells that a young Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi, who lived around the year AD850 noticed to his amazement, that after chewing the bright red berries from a certain tree, his goats pranced around in an unusually exuberant manner. Out of curiosity, he tried a handful of the berries that were growing on the bushes nearby. Feeling a novel sense of elation, Kaldi realized that there was something exceptional about this fruit and, filling his pockets, rushed back to his wife to share his discovery. ‘They are heaven sent!’ she declared, ‘you must take them to the monastery.’ Kaldi presented the cherries to the chief monk, telling the miraculous effect they had on him, and his goats. On hearing the story and the cherries’ extraordinary properties, the monk threw them onto the fire denouncing them to be the work of the devil. Within minutes, the monastery began to fill up with the heavenly smell of roasting beans and the other monks gathered to investigate. Raking the spitting and popping beans from the ashes, they were placed in a pot and covered with hot water to preserve their freshness.
That night, the monks sat up drinking the rich and fragrant brew and vowed that they should drink it daily to help with their nightly prayers. Words of the magical properties of coffee cherries spread far and wide. The habit of drinking coffee spread all over Arabia, the Mediterranean, and gradually Europe and the rest of the world.
Although the legend of Kaldi, his goats and the monks says that coffee was discovered as a stimulant and as a beverage on the same day, it is far more likely that coffee beans were chewed as a stimulant for centuries before they were made into a beverage. The Oromos in Ethiopia were consuming coffee centuries before the Kaldi legend, and have their own legend of its discovery. Once upon a time, Waqa, the supreme sky God, punished one of his loyal men with death. The next morning, Waqa visited the burial place, and tears dropped of his eyes. A plant emerged from the soil watered by Waqa’s tears, and that was coffee. It is believed that all other plants are watered by rain, but coffee is with tears of God. Coffee is always green. In Oromo tradition green symbolizes fertility through which a supreme God, Waqa manifests himself to the people. Hence, coffee has special value in Oromo culture 

Stampa | Mappa del sito
© Caricom Ethiopia