Entradas populares

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Photo from:
 Ara G
café, L. Coffea arabica, Ar. boun, Fr. caféier, Eng. Arabian coffee. First, it must be noted that coffee does not come from beans. Coffee is contained in the pits of the fruit of the coffee tree or bush that look like beans.

Who has seen a “goaty” goat? According to legend, during the 7th C, an Ethiopian goat herder in the highlands near the Red Sea noticed that when grazing, his goats were eating fruit from a tree, which made them “goaty” and they stayed that wake all night. The herder tried some himself, they were bland, somewhat sweet but within minutes he too became “goaty,” staying awake all night. 

Coptic Priest
Photo from:
 Dwight Grimm
The goat herder took the fruit to the local abbot who tried them. Then he gave some to his monks. A strange thing happened, the monks prayed all night without dozing off. The abbot called this fruit a ‘gift from God.’

With time the fruit was taken to Yemen where it was cultivated and combined with leaves and berries. There the “sun tea” incident occurred. The fruit fermented, becoming the forerunner of “Irish coffee.”

The Arabs called it gahwah, meaning “to put one off” sleep. For its energizing effect, gahwah was considered to be medicine not an alcoholic beverage. Around 620 A.D., Muhammad visited Medina. Finding all drunk, he prohibited alcoholic consumption but this did not include gahwah, then called qishr.

Photo from:
 Ben McLeod
In the 10th C, brewing came about with the invention of metal pots and Rhazes of Bagdad(see Razes)indicated the prophylactic virtues from coffee infusions. By the early 1400s, the seeds with leaves and berries, after being sun dried, were roasted or boiled just before consumption. Roasting turns the pale skin colored beans brown. Of course, the Arabs brought coffee to their Spanish cousins in Al-Andalus during their domination. Some claim that thanks to them, Spain had everything before the rest of Europe. Others maintain that it was not until the end of the 15th C. when Muslim pilgrims, returning from Arabia brought coffee to other Middle Eastern countries and the Maghreb. Still others swear that coffee was not defused in the west until 1555 when the ibrik (today known as the Turkish coffee pot) became known in Istanbul. 

Rom, Santa Maria Maggiore,...
Photo from:
Sometime between 1592-1605, Pope Clement VIII came to love the smell of coffee. After he tried it, he decided that the beverage could not be left to the devil and baptized it. Others, nevertheless, contend that it was not until the Ottoman defeat in 1683 that the Viennese discovered coffee amongst the booty. Some Englishmen, on the other hand, believe their version is more accurate:

First, it was coffee not apples that was forbidden in the Garden of Eden. As a result of events there, a race called “Homo coffea” sprang up in the Kenyan Rife Valley. In the village of Harrar, over a thousand years ago, inhabitants discovered coffee fruit, which they consumed in their cave-dwellings during many years. As Harrar was a trade center, eventually it was decided to export some of their fruit but no one knew where. Northern Europe was in no state to receive it as the average person was consuming three liters of beer daily, including women and children. One third of England’s inhabitants were too busy growing barley for this purpose, while one in every seven buildings was a tavern. Even so, if not high on beer, they were hallucinating from the effects of LSD contained in ergot, contracted from contaminated barley bread, which they ate.

Coffee beans

Photo from: aczid

Finally, it was agreed to send the fruit to Al Makalla, a port in Yemen, along with ostrich feathers, slaves, rhino horns and tortoise shells. This was done because “Homo coffeas” had decided that the Arabs would conserve coffee as they did with the works of Aristotle and algebra and because they were the only ones sober enough to carry out such missions.

Not only did the Arabs conserve the fruit but also they kept it as a well-guarded secret from Europeans until the 16th C. when Europeans began to import coffee as “an Arabian luxury.” Coffee shops began appearing in the Middle East in the 17th C and the first European one was opened in Venice in 1645. Coffee makers did not appear until the 19th C. See cardamomo. [ES: “Great.” Oct 18, 02; Simonetti. 1991:43; and Usher. 1974:165]

No comments:

Post a Comment