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The Legend of Kaldi


18 Jun 2008
The Legend of Coffee

 


Travel back to the ancient land of Abyssinia in 800 A.D. The people were farmers, herders and traders under the rule of the last of the Aksumite kings. All of southern Africa was united under his rule and the country flourished; the envy of its neighbor Egypt and its trade rival Persia.

 

The mountains of Kaffa sprang up between dense forest areas. A palate of cool green greeted the eye and the land was awash in contentment. Even the goats danced with abnormal exuberance. The goatherd Kaldi observed his joyous charges and smiles.

He thought to himself, Ack! It’s hot out here! What’s with the goats today? So he watched carefully as they ate the bright red cherries from a cluster of bushes. Kaldi knew that goats would eat almost anything as long as it was not poisonous so in curiosity he picked several of the pretty fruits and ate them himself. They had an interesting taste but were otherwise not very remarkable. So on they moved climbing higher and higher up the mountainside.

It was not long before Kaldi was dancing down the path alongside of his goats. They frolicked the afternoon away and spent the night under the stars high up on the mountain.

 

Morning found Kaldi stiff and a bit sore as they made their way down the mountainside toward their home. The goatherd did not fail to notice the goats again stopping by to eat from the ‘cherry’ bushes. Being hungry he helped himself to several handfuls as well. The bright energy and happy feelings returned to Kaldi confirming what he suspected the day before.

 

I am sure it would surprise no one to know that Kaldi returned to eat the cherries every morning there after!

Kaldi was a gracious man and shared the delights of the Kaffa bushes or so the legend goes. The story says that there was a monastery in the town near where Kaldi lived. Upon hearing that some of the monks had problems with staying up all night and praying he brought them a small basket of the coffee cherries. It was said that from that time forward the monks were “uncannily alert to divine inspiration.” These monks were eager to share their finding with others and it was through their travels that the grace of the kaffa plants spread the world over.