The Enduring Appeal of Coffee

The story of coffee is as rich and aromatic as the beverage itself, spanning centuries and continents. It's a tale that intertwines legend, commerce, culture, and innovation, starting from ancient forests and spreading across the globe.

The coffee saga begins with an oft-repeated legend from Ethiopia, where it's said that coffee was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi in the 9th century. According to the lore, Kaldi noticed his goats frolicking and full of energy after eating the red berries from a certain bush. Curious, Kaldi tried the berries himself and experienced a similar vitality. A monk observed this and decided to make a drink from the berries, finding that it kept him awake during prayers.

From Ethiopia, the knowledge of this energizing berry spread to Yemen, where it took root and flourished. The port city of Mocha in Yemen became synonymous with coffee, and the drink was cultivated by Sufi monks who used it to sustain their concentration during long hours of prayer. It was in Yemen that coffee was first turned into a hot drink.

By the 15th century, coffee had made its way to the rest of the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, where coffee houses became popular centers for socializing. These establishments, known as qahveh khaneh, were places for intellectual exchange and for enjoying music, watching performers, and even playing chess, making coffee culture an integral part of public life.

In the 16th century, coffee spread to Europe through the bustling trade between Venice and the Muslim world. Despite initial resistance (some even called it the "bitter invention of Satan"), the beverage became popular across the continent. Coffee houses quickly sprang up, becoming centers of intellectual exchange and contributing to the Age of Enlightenment.

The Dutch played a significant role in the proliferation of coffee when they managed to cultivate it in Java, Indonesia, in the 17th century. The French, Portuguese, and Spanish also established coffee plantations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the colonies. These developments made coffee a global commodity, deeply entwined with colonialism and the slave trade.

The 19th and 20th centuries saw significant advancements in coffee cultivation and consumption. The invention of espresso in Italy, instant coffee by the Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato, and the proliferation of coffee chains and specialty coffee shops in the 20th century transformed coffee into a global phenomenon, enjoyed in countless ways around the world.

Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages on the planet, cherished for its flavor, aroma, and the boost it provides. Its journey from ancient Ethiopian forests to cups all around the world is a testament to coffee's enduring appeal and its ability to bring people together across different cultures and eras.


The unique history of Roastmasterz remains our driving force, creating a line of artisan roasted coffees while maintaining our family’s history & values. Now part of Java Original® Coffee, RoastMasterz is available around the globe, offering artisan roasted specialty coffee to retailers and individuals alike.

Photo courtesy: @rw.studios on Unsplash. Used with permission.