Alex Belloli

From Crop to Cup: Coffee’s Humble Brew-ginning

Alex Belloli

I am only a morning person by one means: coffee. Until I take my first sips, I’m basically a corpse. Growing up, I always heard adults rave about coffee, but it was a phenomenon I never understood until I experienced it. Most people know why coffee boosts our energy, but not how it came to be one of humanity’s favorite drinks.

There are many legends about the first discovery of coffee, but one in particular has become the most popular. Long ago in Egypt, a goatherd called Kaldi noticed his goats became very energetic after eating certain berries. Curious, Kaldi ate some himself and experienced a similar boost in energy. He went to a nearby monastery and told the abbot of the phenomenon, who then turned the berries into a drink. He found it allowed the monks to stay awake during nightly religious services, and thereafter, this proto-coffee was quickly adopted by many monasteries and became an important part of prayer sessions.

What began as a crude concoction is now one of the most popular crafted beverages on Earth—in 1999 it was reported that 2.25 billion cups were consumed in the world every day. I have proudly contributed to today’s daily statistics and, so long as I need to wake, will continue to consume cup after cup.

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