The Joy of Coffee

Some mornings, the only thing that gets me out of the bed is the aroma of brewing coffee floating through the house.One of the best inventions ever? Coffeemakers with timers.

Quick History

The National Coffee Association has a great article on the history of coffee which dates back to the 13th century. Another good article can be found at Wikipedia. Kaldi, a 9th-century Ethiopian goat herder, is credited with the discovery. His story appeared in writing in 1671.

From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen, but the earliest stories of brewing the berries as a drink seems to have occurred in the mid-1400's in Yemen, in Sufi monasteries. A 150 years later, coffee had spread to the rest of the Middle Eastern area and into northern Africa. From there, it was a hop, skip, and a jump to Italy and to the rest of Europe then to Indonesia and finally to the Americas.

Word Derivation

The brewing of coffee has a murkier history with attribution to various sheiks and various tales of how someone came to boil the berries then drink the resulting liquid. The word coffee has a clearer origin. It entered the English language around 1598 from the Dutch word koffie which came from the Turkish word kahve that originated in the Arabic word qahwa, a shortening of the phrase qahhwat al-bun meaning wine of the bean. According to the Wiki on the history of coffee, a "possible origin of the name is the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originated; its name there is bunn or bunna"

Coffee had declined in beverage popularity beginning with the Flower Power era. Then in 1971, the first Starbucks opened in Seattle, and the world of coffee changed.

From Then To Now

In 1891, in "Over the Teacups," Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote: "The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce."

I like what Dave Barry had to say about the necessity for the morning cup of joe: "It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles."

As for that abomination called decaf, I agree with A. C. Van Cherub, although who that oft-quoted person is remains a mystery. He/she said: "I don't understand decaf, it's like sex without the sex." Too true.

Takeaway Truth

"Coffee, the finest organic suspension ever devised." ~ Star Trek: Voyager

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