The history of coffee dates back to the 9th century in what is nowadays Ethiopia. Legend has it the local goat herds noticed that their flocks were acting strangely whenever they ate the fruit of a specific plant – the Coffea. After one of them tried the berries himself and felt unusually energized, he decided to bring them to a nearby monastery. When he presented them to the monk, he disapproved of their use and threw them in the fire. Soon the enticing aroma of roasted coffee spread, gathering the other remaining monks around the fire. The beans were scooped up, ground and mixed with hot water and so the first coffee was born.
As with many legends, this one is probably not true, but nevertheless it didn’t take long for the other Arabic tribes to pick up the drink. From Ethiopia it travelled to the Yemeni port of Mocca and then on to Mecca and Medina, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, and Constantinople. With the rapid expanse of the Ottoman Empire it was introduced to Europe, mostly through the Balkans and Italy. At first the Catholic Church was against it, seeing it as yet another influence from the Islamic word, so they labeled it a “satanic drink”. Some priests even petitioned the Pope to decree an official ban, but he refused to do so, until he tried the drink for himself. He immediately fell in love with coffee, stating that if this is the devils drink, then they should cheat the devil by baptizing it. And so, with the Pope’s blessing, it took over the world and remains as popular to this day.
The world’s most expensive cup of coffee is called kopi luwak and it comes from Indonesia. It is characterized by a smooth, not so acidic taste, but its most distinguishable feature is actually the way it is made. The beans are gathered from the feces of the Asian palm chivet – a small cat-like animal, native to Southeast Asia. It consumes the coffee berries, but is unable to digest the beans, which then can go for up to $600 a pound.
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