Äthiopische Kaffeegeschichte: Die Entdeckung des Kaffees in Äthiopien

Ethiopian Coffee History: The Discovery of Coffee in Ethiopia

Adiam Engeda

Coffee is an essential part of the Ethiopian economy and culture. The discovery of coffee in Ethiopia can be traced back to 850 AD . Although there are a number of legends about the discovery of coffee beans in the forests of southwest Ethiopia, the story of Kaldi and his dancing goats is the best known.

Kaldi and his dancing goats

Legend has it that Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd, discovered the energizing properties of coffee. Around 850 AD, Kaldi lived in the Kaffa region in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. One day he noticed that his goats were behaving strangely after eating the berries of a certain plant . As they jumped and ran, Kaldi wondered what had got them so excited. Curious, Kaldi tried the berries and felt a surge of energy and alertness .

Kaldi took the berries to a nearby monastery and explained their remarkable effects to the monks. However, a skeptical monk believed the berries' invigorating effects were the work of the devil and threw them into the fire.

However, the aroma of the beans burning in the fire was so tempting that the monks decided to remove them from the fire. To cool and preserve the beans, they infused them with water and later drank the mixture . The drink kept them awake during nighttime prayers, and they have since used it to stay awake during long hours of prayer and meditation. The plant's energizing effects quickly spread throughout Ethiopia. Legend has it that this is how coffee was discovered!

Although this story is widespread, it is more likely that the Oromo people were the first to discover the coffee plant and its invigorating properties - although not as a drink. It is believed that they collected the coffee beans, ground them and processed them with animal fat or butter into small balls that they carried with them as food on long journeys.

In parts of Ethiopia, especially the Kaffa and Sidamo regions, it is traditional to consume ground coffee with ghee, a clarified butter . In Kaffa, locals often refine their brewed coffee with a small amount of melted ghee. This addition is believed by locals to improve both the taste and nutritional content of the drink .

The native coffee trees were grown in a region called " Kaffa " in southwest Ethiopia. The coffee trees were known by the name Kaffa, which is believed to be the original word for "coffee" . According to UNESCO, there are around 5,000 varieties of wild Arabica coffee in Kaffa today , and the cultivation of wild coffee beans is still common in Kaffa.

The spread of coffee from Ethiopia to the rest of the world

Coffee quickly became popular in Ethiopia and, after its discovery, spread to other parts of the world. Sufi mystics who traveled to Ethiopia in the 15th century brought coffee to Yemen, where it was grown on a large scale.

By the 16th century, the energizing properties of coffee were well known in the Middle East and Persia. Coffee was viewed as both medicine and a religious elixir. Coffee was spread throughout the Middle East by Muslim pilgrims and finally arrived in the 16th century . Baba Budan, an Indian Sufi saint, is said to have brought the coffee plant to India by collecting green coffee beans from the Middle East on his way back from a pilgrimage in 1670 AD Yemeni port of Mocha smuggled . To prevent the spread of the coffee plant, Yemeni authorities at the time only exported roasted coffee .

Although coffee is now grown in many countries, the green coffee from Ethiopia is still one of the most popular and preferred by coffee lovers and roasters.

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