Where was coffee discovered?
Most historians agree that human coffee consumption first took place in the mountainous areas of Ethiopia, then known as Abyssinia, likely among the region’s Oromo people.
However, there is no direct evidence of anyone growing or using coffee before the 1600s, so the earlier dates that follow are based upon indirect evidence.
How Was Coffee Discovered? Kaldi the Goat Herder
A story passed down through time, and which many believe to apocryphal since it did not appear in print until 1671, involves the goat herder named Kaldi who lived in the countryside of the Kaffa region of southwestern Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.
When Kaldi discovered his goats were suddenly energized after eating some red berries, he then tried the coffee berries himself and found them to have a very stimulating effect.
Soon some local monks were also trying the coffee berries and appreciated the ability to pray and meditate longer after consuming the berries. The use of the coffee berries soon spread among other monasteries and began its trek across the globe.
Significant amounts of coffee are grown in the region today, and many people consider the coffee plants of this area to be the only truly native (indigenous) coffee trees.
The Galla Tribe of Ethiopia
The coffee was considered a food and was consumed by these Ethiopian tribesmen who crushed up the complete ripe berry including the hulls and the coffee beans, and then mixed it with animal fat and shaped into round food balls that were carried on journeys for nutrition as well as stimulation.
The coffee berries were also placed in cold water and left to soak much like sun tea is made today.
Omar the Arabian Mystic
Yet another traditional legend describes a man named Omar who was an Arabian mystic whose enemies exiled him to the desert. There he would have died of starvation were it not for consuming broth made from coffee berries he found, thus saving his life. In the nearby town of Mocha they interpreted these events of Omar as a religious sign.
Next see Coffee History / Pre-1600s.