It may seem strange but coffee has not been around forever.In fact it was not discovered until around 600AD in the Middle East and only came into Europe in the 16th Century.Throughout the years it has spread around the world and become an international trade. How was the magic of this obscure plant discovered? How did this plant from Ethiopia become one of the largest commodity industries in the world?
There are a number of different stories about the origin of coffee and how it was discovered. One story is that of an exiled Arab Sheik who saved himself from starvation by making a soup from the berries of the coffee shrub. However,the most common story is that of Kaldi,the shepherd,who was tending to his animals on the mountainside one night in Eastern Africa(Ethopia today)in around 600-800 AD, when he noticed that they were acting strangely. After investigating this,he realised that they had been eating the cherry-red berries of a nearby shrub.
As a result of this,they remained awake jumping and leaping around the whole night,even the older goats. He picked some and tasted them himself. He found that they invigorated him and made him more wide awake(telusplanet.net).
It was about this time that a monk called Chadely from a nearby monastery was passing.Kaldi told him about the goats and the monk demanded to see this plant.He showed the monk a pretty little shrub with a greyish bark and brilliant foliage, the slender branches of which, at the base of their leaves, had bunches of small white flowers mingles with clusters of small berries, some green, riper ones a clear yellow colour and yet others, which had reached complete maturity, of the size, shape and colour of a cherry(coffeeresearch.org). It was the coffee shrub.